Dreaming On: MLK through eyes of children

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday is Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday dedicated to the memory of the man who, more than any 20th century figure, stood for the communal realization of justice and equality in our society and for pursuing non-violent means of changing laws as well as hearts and minds.

We form our views when we are young, and while opinions or attitudes can change over time, it is heartening to see eight-year-olds who understand that they have a place as an individual and a broader role as a part of society.

On page A1 of this edition we profile the words and ideas of third-graders in our community about MLK. The aim of their studies in the past week, like those of many schools, was to get the kids thinking about how King’s work and life might be reflected in their own.

“We wanted to find out why it is we have this holiday, that it’s more than just a day off from school. and we talked about the character of Dr. King,” said teacher Sandi Abramson.

This is what students in Abramson’s class had to say about Dr. King, his work, and his dream and their own:

Meisha Stevens said, “Martin Luther King Jr. helped us stop black and white only rules and he led a march and he started in Alabama and he got in prison. When they were marching they were marching to the bridge and the police beat them up and stuff.”

Isabella Maciel said, “Dr. King tried to change the laws that white and black couldn’t be together, because it’s good that we are not in separate schools. Her dream is “Giving food to the poor people because if they didn’t have food they would die.”

Abramson noted that, “We have been talking about Dr. King’s dream, and dreams that would be bigger than themselves, to be looking beyond ourselves.”

Listen to Brandon Moses’s dream: “It’s to be a person who has this flying video game place and it’s not only for me but at certain days I push a button and it turns into a restaurant and I let homeless people eat for free, and I push it again and it turns into an animal shelter.”

Colby Hughes said, “I would just like to prevent bad diseases such as asthma and cancer and everything.”

Hailey Magana: “To help stop bullying.”

Alex Chairez: “The people who picked up garbage, the black people got a little bit of money and the white people got more money so the black people said we’re not picking up garbage if we don’t get the same amount as white people.”

Yaritza Angel: “Because when he heard Rosa Parks was arrested because she didn’t want to give up her spot she got arrested and I think that made Dr. King kind of mad and he wanted to change the rules. He got a lot of votes for changing the rules, blacks and whites they wanted the rules to change.”

Grace Willis: “My dream is to make wigs for people who have cancer, so people if they have cancer and they can feel normal ... it will help them feel happy.”

Zachary Perryman: “I want to help the animal shelter and find all the dogs.”

Maria Casteneda: “I heard he was only 39 years old when he died. If it wasn’t for him we would all be separate, I wouldn’t be able to meet my friends and we wouldn’t be with our great teacher.”

Meisha Stevens: “My dream is to help homeless people, to give them a nice blanket or something.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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