Sixth graders took to the streets in a Call to Action demonstration, marching with homemade signs from Calhoun to Riverside Park, where members of each of Anthony Gaskins’ social studies classes gave speeches on such issues as racism, women’s rights, immigration and climate change.
The sixth grade Call to Action project was launched when Anthony began a conversation about how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used his voice to raise awareness about civil rights through nonviolence. The students were then challenged to come up with issues that are meaningful to each of them and to research their subjects. They studied several “call to action” speeches—by King as well as by activists such as President Obama and Malala Yousafzai—and then wrote and practiced their speech for parents and fellow students.
The students were joined at their rally by guest speakers Joyce McMillan of the Child Welfare Organizing Project, Rashida Latef from the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, and Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets.
“The kids have superseded all expectations that I had,” marvels Anthony. “And they’ve now transformed this into an actual social movement.”