On June 23, 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Detroit and led “The Freedom Walk” up Woodward Avenue. After the 90-minute walk he delivered an early version of his historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
We know what’s happened in the 50 years since “The Freedom Walk” downtown. Tensions in our city reached an all-time high and culminated with rebellions or riots depending upon your perspective. Desegregation orders forced students onto the same busses and into the same classrooms regardless of their opinions. Slowly, people left, and today people generally don’t feel safe in the City of Detroit. At the very least they put their guard up.
Our city presents challenges present in sections or sectors of most urban areas, but in Detroit those challenges are present throughout the entire city and prevent us from moving forward.
So I want to take a minute to say thank you to the new corps members coming to Detroit this year to go into it’s classrooms and neighborhoods because they want to make a difference in the lives of Detroit’s children. It will not be easy, but if you are committed to what’s best for your students, their families, and their neighborhoods, then you can help them navigate the turbulent education system and help them put themselves on a pathway to success.
We need you for as long as you’re willing to put forth your best work, so thank you for rolling up your sleeves in Detroit.