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Dos and Don’ts for Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Young Children
January 9, 2023
But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, 1929-1968

As Martin Luther King Jr Day approaches, Ijumaa Jordan shares several helpful ‘do’s and don’ts’ for honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr with young children. Here are a few highlights from Jordan’s post, which is rich with examples, details, and further tips:

  • Do anti-bias education even when it seems intimidating or daunting. This list will help.
  • Don’t say/imply that racism, prejudice and resistance only happened in the past.
  • Don’t sugarcoat discussions about unfairness.
  • Do offer accurate information and experiences for children to explore the 4 goals of Anti-bias education: identity, diversity, justice and activism.
  • Do highlight other people who worked and still do work for social justice, especially Black women.
  • Don’t promote Dr. Martin Luther King as an individual leader working single-handedly towards racial equity.
  • Do learn and grow each year in your own understanding of bias, the history of race and civil rights in the United States.

Jordan provides additional dos and don’ts under the headings of Preparation and Implementation, including this overriding message:

  • Don’t just discuss, read books, do activities about Dr. Martin Luther King only in January.


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Comments (3)

Displaying All 3 Comments
Crystal Sanford-Brown · January 17, 2023
Emerging Young Leadership, Inc.
Bloomfield Township, MI, United States

I hope to never forget the rainy spring day, Ijumma Jordan reached out to me regarding comments that I had shared, during one of her virtual presentations about racism. While our melanin looks similar, our ideology and experiences addressing “The voices of Black women in leadership roles,” was vastly different. On that day, Ijumma bravely raised a series of open ended questions that reached my inner soul. I had not considered that some of the requests I had received to serve on a few boards, was solely for increasing their membership or visibility! By incorporating recognizable names in the leadership roles, as a Black woman, I had unknowingly allowed myself and name to be used! These organizations or institutions, without openly stating an underlying prohibition, my voice had zero credibility and I was to be seen and not heard.

After that eye-opening conversation with the dynamic Ijumma, I now only allow myself to sit at leadership tables with the assurance that my ideas and thoughts are welcomed and will be included within the strategic planning, setting goals, and all other tasks at hand.

I’m forever grateful for that Sister-to-Sister conversation with Ijumma, on a day where the water falling from the sky, washed away misconceptions.

Thank you Exchange Press for sharing Ijumma’s strong voice.

Kirsten Haugen · January 10, 2023
Eugene, OR, United States

Becky, thanks for the feedback. I'm so excited for our upcoming new book Stories of Resistance, with chapters by twelve amazing Black women leaders in early childhood. See https://www.exchangepress.com/stories (Ijumaa Jordan could have easily written a chapter, too!)

Becky Candra · January 09, 2023
United States

Thank you for sharing these important reminders. More and more I am being reminded of Women Activists and our impact on others.

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