Evie’s class celebrated Black History Month throughout February, and even though we are well into April the lessons keep coming. She worked on a big project about Rosa Parks for weeks, and the other day she presented it to her class. She was so PROUD to tell me that it went great! I’m glad her school emphasizes African American history because, after all, it is everyone’s history.
When I saw that the Chicago Children’s Theatre was debuting a production of “Jabari Dreams of Freedom” I knew it would be a special way to tie Evie’s school work into our community. The show follows a young Chicago boy who explores the Civil Rights era through his art and dreams. The play is a history lesson that emphasizes the importance of culture and community – something you just can’t get in a classroom.
At just under an hour, the show kept the attention of everyone in the audience. Music and special effects accompany the simple set, and the changing scenes always gave us something new to see. But, the coolest part was that Evie and I both learned new things (i.e. Rosa Parks wasn’t the first person arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person – that unsung hero was Claudette Colvin). Evie still has the program from the show because it was full of interesting facts that tied directly back to her school work.
We live in a diverse community, and my kids go to a fairly diverse school. Evie has a naturally open and curious mind, and when she sees an injustice – whether it be someone swiping a cookie from her brother or a poor person begging on the street – she instinctually wants to correct it. I want Evie to hang on to this goodness because as a member of an emerging and energetic generation, SHE has the potential to activate change and promote equality for all.
Just like Jabari.
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