Beloved Community Project



With MLK Day celebrations approaching I wanted to help the students in my division have a different experience than they had on previous MLK Days. Often times MLK Day is focused on service, or on sharing the famous speeches that Dr. King made in his prolific career. These are both great uses of that day and great celebrations of Dr. King's life, but I wanted to rethink it.

Dr. King stood for more than service and was far more than a man who just gave speeches. Dr. King's ideal, his dream and his goal was to create a 'Beloved Community'. Where all races, creeds and walks of life would celebrate commonalities, and discuss differences in with open hearts and open minds. 

To this end, I created a division wide project, in which students split into groups and were charged with designing a panel that would represent one of the tenants of MLK's "Beloved Community". Those tenant are broken down into the following:

SIX PRINCIPLES of Nonviolence

  1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courages people
  2. Nonviolence seeks to win freindships and understanding
  3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people
  4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can edcuate and transform
  5. Nonvilence chooses love not hate
  6. Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice

SIX STEPS to Social and Personal Change

  1. Inofrmation Gathering
  2. Education
  3. Personla Commitment
  4. Discussion/Negotiation
  5. Direct Action
  6. Reconciliation

Each one of these principles and steps were discussed as a division first, and then each break out group discussed their assigned principle or step even further. The action step called for the group to construct their own understanidng of the tenant they were assigned and then create a visual representation of that imagine out of felt. 

At the conclusion of the event, the groups returned to our community meeting space and we put all of the felt panels together with the representation of the "Beloved Community" in the middle. 

What we ended up with was a visual representation of what the Beloved Community means at our school. It currently hangs in a prominent spot in our hallway, condtantly reminding us to strive to be a better community.