Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021
Instead of taking the day off, for the sixth consecutive year, we took on the essential themes of Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021, coming together as a school community and with the broader Pittsburgh community to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King.
CDS educators and student leaders created a transformational day of teaching, reflection, and action framed by our Jewish values of tzedakah (righteousness), gemilut chasidim (acts of loving kindness), and tikkun olam (repairing the world), reimagined for these COVID times. Indeed, the events in our nation and worldwide call out for social justice work and awareness perhaps more starkly than ever before.
Students focused on issues of race, equity, and social justice, and what they can do to create a better United States and a better world. In teaching how these issues impact our daily lives, we invited students to write a new story with us in which―like Dr. King―we dream of overcoming beliefs and patterns of behavior that divide us and we dream of writing the blueprint for a new future.
Highlights of the day:
- A special morning tefillah (prayer service) and a community sing-a-long for the entire school
- Repair the World Pittsburgh coordinated a “Read for Peace” project with Lower School students, where volunteer mentors read books about racial justice topics and led service projects to help create equity and justice in our communities.
- Students participated in lessons about racial justice using poetry and artwork as a lens, guided by our partners at Carnegie Mellon University's Arts Greenhouse, BOOM Concepts, and Repair the World Pittsburgh.
- CDS alum Naomi Kitchen (Class of 2017) and her mother, Rona Kaufman, an associate professor at Duquesne University School of Law, facilitated a virtual conversation for Grades 4-8 based on Naomi’s recently published op-ed about her identity and experience as a Jew of color in the Pittsburgh Jewish community.
- The student-led No Place For Hate committee at CDS organized a rock painting project, prompting students in all grades to paint an action to address racial justice and inclusivity in our community on rocks that will be displayed together to symbolize the magnitude of change possible when we put our small actions together.
- A Virtual March provided time for reflection, prayer, and joining together as a community to explore ways we can carry forward the lessons of MLK Day on the other 364 days of the year.