Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service – January 16, 2023
On this day of service, the nation will honor the memory and tireless work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On this day, and after it passes, all educators, from all backgrounds, will be well served by continuing to critically examine his philosophy regarding the purpose of education in our society, particularly for children of color. Dr. King’s dream for education was “far grander than integration alone”.
He envisioned education to be quantitatively and qualitatively equitable. “It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient and to achieve, with increasing facility, the legitimate goals of his life.”
This philosophy and ideology align with the basis of the Montessori movement founder Maria Montessori’s belief that, “This is education, understood as a help to life; an education from birth, which feeds a peaceful revolution and unites all in a common aim, attracting them as to a single center.”
Historically, some marginalized communities within the United States, including African American communities, identify with Dr. Montessori’s message of inclusion and hope. We are on the cusp of Black History Month. It is the perfect time to explore the question posed by the great African American poet, Langston Hughes, in his historical poem, “What Happens to a Dream Deferred?” and to address if the current Montessori movement has succumbed to gradualism or is intentionally moving toward systematic equity… that complex combination of interrelated elements consciously designed to create, support, and sustain social justice. Are Montessorians using personal and collective power and privilege, to, as past Montessori parent, advocate and philanthropist Kyle Galbraith expresses, “put our focus on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion as a logical outgrowth of our spiritual understanding of the Oneness of all life?” Have Montessorians realized that “all lives are intrinsically interconnected, we cannot create a world that works for ourselves and our loved ones unless it also works for everyone else?” This is service to humanity.
In honor of Dr. King and educational philosophy and work to bring equity into all schools, please join a diverse panel of Montessorians as they discuss how power and privilege in the Montessori community can be used to realize the dream of right of entry and justice in all Montessori spaces.
Sheri Bishop, AMI/USA Human Rights and Social Justice Advisor, Moderator
Maia Blankenship, Co-CEO, Black Wildflower Funds
Jimmy and Kyle Galbraith, Past Montessori Parents, Montessori Advocates, and Philanthropists
Fatima Green, Assistant and Montessori Primary Level Trainee, Lee Montessori Public Charter School
Sinuda Kapalczynski, Head of School/Guide, Fulton Montessori School
BethAnn Slater, Head of School, Middleburg Montessori School and AMI/USA Primary Trainer
Alex Brown, Advisory Board member, Black Montessori Education Fund
Link to Registration: https://amiusa.org/2023-jedi-series-registration/