We all know what’s happening. Families being ripped apart. Children in cages. Parents taken away in shackles. But, what are these headlines doing to our children?
Now—when some would "take America back" to an unacceptable time—RAISED BY DR. KING revives the lessons and legacies of the Civil Rights Movement to help families of every hue and communities of conscience nurture today's children through these troubling times.
Dr. Janus Adams knows, firsthand, the damage being done by today’s horrific headlines. She lived it. Today’s killings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown were, for her, the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till; the church bombing deaths of four young girls.
She knows this, too. Asked why she would risk her life, refusing to give up her bus seat to racism, said Rosa Parks: “I thought of Emmett Till.”
A northern school desegregation pioneer, Adams and her cousin, Dr. Ted Landsmark, were two of the four "test children" selected to break New York's de facto segregated school policy. At 10, they were introduced to Dr. King at New York’s Riverside Church.
“And, what are you doing for our people?” he asked, shaking my hand, smiling. I told him I was helping to desegregate the schools.
Raising my awestruck chin with his finger to address me eye-to-eye, he said, ‘what you are doing is important.’ He asked if I could make a promise to him: to keep up my courage and do well in school. I promised him that I would.
"Because of you,” he said, “other children will never again suffer what you have." That was his promise to me.
With that brief act of kindness, my mood and sense of purpose were forever changed. You could say I was RAISED BY DR. KING.
Decades later, how painful it is to witness the resurgence of racism in America. For children today, who will lift their chins and tell them what they need to know? Who is telling them how important they are—not just for themselves and to their families, but to the future of us all? Who will lift their sights and armor their spirits for these difficult times. Because their parents came-of-age in a more hopeful time when America seemed on the upswing, many do not had to hone the skills necessary to overcome the downturn and guide their children past the societal setbacks. Who is helping their parents?
Working together, this is the thing we all can—and must—do.
With this campaign, Janus Adams is passing on the spirit of Dr. King’s promise. RAISED BY DR. KING is a campaign to INFORM, INSPIRE, ENGAGE AND EMPOWER CHILDREN and their support systems of family and community. To rescue a nation from its history and put us on the path to healing.
The time is now.
2019: the 400th anniversary of the American slave trade.
2020: Year 401. Where do we go from here?
We return to our source—our core strengths and strategies. Still we rise.