NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- New Canaan Country School welcomed guest speaker Dr. Omékongo Dibinga on Friday, Jan. 15, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Dibinga is a professor at American University, author and youth motivational speaker, among other roles. He joined the school for its second annual MLK Day breakfast, then spoke with Middle and Upper School students at an assembly.
Dibinga said the work of those such as King is still needed today. “It seems as though every time we turn on the television, there is another story on some hot button issue," he said. "It is very easy to feel overwhelmed by the challenges we face today."
He advised, "educate yourself on the issue, survey your community to find out how everyone is feeling. Just because no one is speaking up doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem, and finally, actively reach out to the affected. Your entire community needs to see that you are making efforts to be an inclusive community.”
A sixth-grader asked how one person could change an entire community, and Dibinga replied that a community could be as small as a circle of five friends. “Start where you can."
Also, don't ignore bullying. “Be an upstander, not a bystander. Stand up against injustice, don’t just stand by.
"As Dr. Martin Luther King said, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,'" he said. "Look around you, be mindful of what you see. Get to know people. Ask questions.”
The Lower School celebrated with an assembly, including a group recitation of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech and other student presentations.
“A commitment to inclusion is absolutely essential in all great schools and communities," said Director of Community Development Lynn Sullivan. "I hope that all of us will take the time over the weekend to think about how we can strive together to strengthen our wonderful Country School community.”
New Canaan Country School is a co-ed, independent day school for students pre-K through ninth grade. Its 75-acre campus serves students from Fairfield and Westchester counties. For more information, click here.
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