I grew up out in the country and our high school was small; 250 students, 9th through 12 grade. We had one black family who were very involved in the community, but that was my only exposure to anyone of color. At my oldest daughter's high school, there are 69 languages spoken and 70% of the students are of color.
Just about 12 miles from my daughter's high school is her "home" high school in the same school district, which is similar to what I grew up in; predominately white with a few people of color mixed in. But because my children attend the district's technology academies, they have this unique experience of being in a school surrounded by all these different cultures.
The multi-cultural night at the high school was an amazing night celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while also celebrating the diversity of this unique high school. In the cafeteria there were tables decorated by a variety of student culture groups, with food from their country, their country's flag and colors of their culture. The students were dressed in their native garb and many of them were rehearsing a native dance.
An hour later, in the auditorium, the show celebrating Dr. King and the diversity of the students began. It started with a video created by the student leadership group. It had many of us in tears with the thoughtfulness of the message. Then the dancing started. There were eight different dances from different cultures from Native American to Latina to Vietnam to Bollywood. The students in the audience screamed their enthusiastic praise and encouragement to the students performing.
At the end I was bursting with pride at the show and for the school. I caught the principal and his wife afterward to express my awe and pride at this school. I thanked him for giving my children the opportunity to attend such a great and diverse school.
So I'd like to thank Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for giving my children the opportunity to share in this generation's tolerance of diversity; this is a gift he has created in our children today.