Whitewater Middle and High School Students to Hear Presentation and Hold Discussions about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Principles of Nonviolence

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 15, 2018, students in the Whitewater High School and Whitewater Middle School will hear a presentation by Marc Perry, Director of Community Programs at Community Action, Inc. to inspire and challenge them about the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After the presentation, the students will go back to their homerooms at their respective schools, and they will be divided into smaller groups to discuss Dr. King’s six principles of nonviolence, while addressing various scenarios. Whitewater Unified School District (WUSD) staff and volunteers from the community will help facilitate the groups.

Each January, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday in the United States honoring King’s achievements. Marc Perry, of Community Action, Inc., will open the morning with a presentation about Dr. King and how his principles can and should be utilized to make a difference. More about Community Action, Inc. CLICK HERE

Marc Perry

Mark Elworthy, District Administrator of WUSD, said, “We are very excited to be working on a project with our community so that students can get a more in-depth view of the work of Dr. King and talk first-hand about his principles. We are thankful to all of the volunteers who are making this possible.”

PRINCIPLE ONE: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is being emotionally mature and secure in one’s personhood to see another way.
PRINCIPLE TWO: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of a diverse and strong community.
PRINCIPLE THREE: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people. The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil, not people.
PRINCIPLE FOUR: Nonviolence holds that struggle can educate and transform. Nonviolence accepts struggle without physical retaliation.
PRINCIPLE FIVE: Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate. Nonviolence resists emotional violence as well as physical.
PRINCIPLE SIX: Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice. The nonviolent resister holds an overall belief that justice will eventually win because good is stronger than hatred.

Nearly 50 parents, university staff and students will be working with the WUSD staff to lead small group discussions around a variety of scenarios. Dr. Ozalle Toms and Dr. Lauren Smith, both from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, are helping to train the volunteers who will be leading the small groups.

Dr. Toms said, “As both a parent of a student in the district and an educator at the university, I am so pleased to help plan and facilitate this program. Not only will the students benefit, but all of the community members will have an opportunity to work with these terrific students.”

Dr. Smith concurs, “This community partnership with the school district is a meaningful way to celebrate the life of Dr. King. I am so thankful to the leadership at our school district for making this possible, and to all of the school staff who are helping to facilitate this program.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These words exemplify the life and work of Dr. King, the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement to end racial segregation.

Mike Lovenberg, Principal at Whitewater High School, said, “The objectives for students are to learn and implement the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and why they are necessary for creating peace, and to listen and problem-solve as a group by objectively exploring scenarios that address injustice.”

Tanya Wojciechowicz, Principal at Whitewater Middle School, said, “We hope that our students share this event and continue the dialogue at home with their families, as well as apply these principles within their daily lives – at school, home, and in the community.”

As Dr. King said, “The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage they did not know they had.”

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