About seven years ago, a small group of amazingly dedicated teachers at Northeast Middle School (a Bethlehem area public school) started an effort to support their students with an anti-bullying assembly. They created an after school club where students could explore topics, and develop original work to showcase in an all school assembly. Students explored multiple forms of artistic expression: spoken word, song, rap, poems, visual art, video, and others.
The in school assembly is the capstone of a week long effort to promote a positive school climate. Following the MLK holiday, the entire school gets into the spirit of peace:
Tuesday was “Mismatch Day” – because no one is perfect and everyone has their differences.
Today was ‘Pajama Day” – to warm up to a new friends. Students were encourages to get to know someone different.
Thursday will be the day each homeroom celebrates their team building.
Friday is a school pride day. School colors and support for all the students involved in the Rally 4 Peace will end the week on a high note.
This year, the school is taking the Rally 4 Peace on the ROAD! In addition to performing for their school this Friday, they will present their talent at Lehigh University on Tuesday, January 27th at 7:00 in the Fowler Black Box in the Zoellner Arts Center.
To get an idea of the kind of work these kids are capable of producing, check out this 4 minute video at the link here.
One final thought.
If adults are having a hard time untangling all the issues of race and injustice, imagine how challenging it would be to sort through all of this with the complications of pre-teen social adjustments. While it’s great that these students are finding their voice and the courage to share their views, it’s up to us to be present to hear them.
The event is sponsored by the Lehigh University Office of Admissions and the Council on Equity and Community, with generous technical support from the Zoellner Arts Center. We earnestly hope that a significant representation of Lehigh is present for this event.
See this video produced by Stephanie Veto on the 2015 event: