(Contributed by Jarah Botello)
This piece was a culmination of several weeks of research, discussion and rehearsing in which students chose a human rights activist from history with whom they connected. The students were challenged to find quotes and historical facts about the activist and to really dig into why they felt particularly drawn to that person.
Malachi Black, 16, chose to research Julian Bond, co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and former president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “I chose him because he fought for human equality, and I will too. We both believe that everybody is equal, black or white – gay or straight – Muslim or Christian,” Black said.
As the students learned more about each person they studied, they began to see how similar they were to those in history that had made such courageous and positive changes across the world.
The students performance of the spoken word piece was powerful and received a standing ovation – not because every word was articulated and recited perfectly, but because the performers truly respect the legacies of the activists they learned about and believe that they too can stand up against injustice to represent something new in the world.
Like Julian Bond, Nelson Mandela, Malala Yusafzai, and John Lewis, these students are catalysts. Equalizers. Change makers. Freedom Fighters. They are Something New.