Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) participated in the Martin Luther King Jr. Marade on January 17, 2010. There were 22 Participants, made up of 6 ELK Staff and 16 ELK students ages 5-18. ELK stood at City Park, in Denver, CO and watched and listened as local residents read Dr. King’s speech and sang the Black Anthem.
This was a great opportunity for some of our younger students who were participating in this event with ELK. One of our youngest students, age 7, asked as we were marching “What are we doing this for?” This gave us the opportunity to share information about Dr. King’s life, journey, and fight in order to allow desegregation. It was also a learning moment for staff and older students of ELK. Some younger generations are not aware of the powerful impact that Dr. King had on the life of many, and they may not even know the story. This is why we should not celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day once a year, but everyday. We need to give the history, the stories, and the celebrations to our younger generations all year long, so that the legacy of such an important man, can survive for years and years to come.
Another opportunity that our ELK staff and youth were able to be apart of is the diversity and inclusiveness of the march. On television and in literature you see that Dr. King wanted equal opportunities for Blacks, as the Whites had. But on this day there were thousands of people of all colors. One group that we marched along side that day was a group of people from Tunisia. When one of our student’s asked, “what’s Tunisia?” we took that opportunity to turn it into an educational piece. Instead of just telling him, we sent him to go ask himself. He was so enlightened and shared what he had learned with the rest of ELK. They told him that they enjoyed this march and were participating in it, because in their country, they want to be free too. They want the rights that people here in America have.
ELK finished the march at Civic Center Park downtown, 2.6 miles later. This day we learned not only about Dr. King’s fight for our freedom, but about another country’s fight for their freedom. This day was inspirational and educational and we have helped enlighten the lives of the younger generations, who may not have had the knowledge of this amazing man before, as well as his impact on other countries and nations.