Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2020 at CDS
For the fifth consecutive year, instead of taking the day off, CDS students and faculty took on the essential themes of Martin Luther King Jr. Day together with the broader Pittsburgh community in a day of learning, service, and reflection. In a time when the Pittsburgh Jewish community and CDS have received an outpouring of love, kindness, and inclusion from across the world, we felt it was urgent to rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of social justice for all marginalized communities guided by our Jewish values.
The day began with a special tefillah (prayer) service and songs evoking the dreams of Dr. King. We were honored with an inspirational message from Emmy Award-winning film director, photographer, and composer Emmai Alaquiva, who challenged us to think about the meaning of social justice and building bridges across African-American and Jewish communities.
With the help of Repair the World Pittsburgh and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Volunteer Center, CDS students, faculty, parents, board members, and alumni then spent the morning of MLK Day 2020 engaged in service learning projects. In the afternoon, our 6th graders continued to give back with additional service projects at Casa San Jose in Beechview, the Latino Community Center in Downtown, and Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh. We are very grateful to Giant Eagle and an anonymous alumni CDS grandparent for generously helping to underwrite the costs of these projects.
Throughout the day, our teachers in Early Childhood through Grade 8 continued to create meaningful learning experiences centered around the theme of "Nation." Students explored issues of race, equity, social justice, immigration, and the history of our own country, as well as what they can do to create a better United States and a better world.
Our students asked questions that challenge all of us to question our actions and to ask ourselves if we can look back from this MLK Day to the next and say that we took action to right a wrong or to correct an injustice. If the answer is “yes,” we proceed to do more. And if the answer is “no,” we commit to making sure the answer is “yes” next year. That is what we mean when we say, “His dream is my dream.”