Signing pledge to discourage prejudice

In recognition of Black History Month, students from the Multicultural Group at Coon Rapids Middle School (CRMS) gave classmates and staff members the opportunity to sign the “Birmingham Pledge,” promising to respect others and discourage prejudice.

Coon Rapids Middle School students and staff sign the “Birmingham Pledge” to discourage prejudice.

Coon Rapids Middle School students and staff sign the “Birmingham Pledge” to discourage prejudice.

Over 550 staff and student signatures were collected from the school.

They will be sent to the Birmingham Pledge Foundation, a non-­profit dedicated to recognizing individual worth in Birmingham, Ala., and added to more than 100,000 signatures from across the world.

Before students had the opportunity to sign the pledge, they watched a film called “The Children’s March,” which shared the adversity young African-­Americans faced during the Civil Rights era and their non-­violent ways for protesting change.

Teachers led CRMS students through  a series of discussion questions after the film.

Organizer Lisa Reyes Tauer, student learning advocate, said both activities were a great learning experience.

“Our students were able to watch African-­American history as a part of our American history, more importantly, that coming together (peacefully fighting segregation as a group) had an empowering effect on the children of Birmingham.

“The Multicultural Group of CRMS thought that all of us signing the Birmingham Pledge could have the same effect on us that we can come together and make a difference in our school.”

After the pledge booth had been opened for a few minutes, Tony Marquardt, a student that helped organize the event said, “I think this is for a great cause.”

The Birmingham Pledge Foundation was formed in 1997.

Its pledge says, “I believe that every person has worth as an individual. I believe that every person is entitled to dignity and respect, regardless of race or color. I believe that every thought and every act of racial prejudice is harmful; if it is my thought or act, then it is harmful to me as well as to others.

“Therefore, from this day forward I will strive daily to eliminate racial prejudice from my thoughts and actions. I will discourage racial prejudice by others at every opportunity. I will treat all people with dignity and respect; and I will strive daily to honor this pledge, knowing that the world will be a better place because of my effort.”

More information is at http://www.birminghampledge.org.

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