Friday, January 14, 2011
Today we observed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day at the Carruth Administration Center with a stirring tribute by young writers and artists from the Austin School District.
As I told our students and staff, our theme for this observance was the very question that Dr. King asked in a speech in Atlanta in the last year of his life: "Where do we go from here?"
America was at a crossroads in 1967. This country had made some progress in civil rights, but it still had a long way to go. In AISD, we have made progress, but we still have a great deal of work to do before every child is well prepared for college, career and a successful adult life. We are facing additional challenges brought on by a significant decrease in our revenue that is driving significant changes in how our district will look in the future.
So our answer to the question, "Where do we go from here?" must be the same as Dr. King's answer was in 1967. He said the key to that answer was for people to "stand up...and develop an unassailable and majestic sense of values." Those values will drive us to do the right thing. We must continue to move forward. There is no turning back.
I was so amazed and moved by the student performances that were the highlight of this observation. Students from the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders performed interpretive dance, sang and gave a dramatic reading of Langston Hughes's poem, "Let America Be America Again." These students--Lillian Pellette, Jendayi Bonds, Angelique Price, Taylor Harris, Arianna Lopez, and Laura Herrera--did us proud.
We were also treated to an awesome performance by the Pecan Springs Elementary School Choir. Pecan Springs Sixth Grade student Lamar Watson left everyone spellbound by his recitation of his poem, "Need to Lead," written for this occasion. Lamar has given me permission to share this incredible poem with you (see below).
Dr. King, it is my dream to lead others in finding wrongs and finding answers.