Teacher Mary Otieku explained that the idea for the march came from 8-year-old Emme Gerhard, stemming from classroom work on peace, related to the school district’s and city’s annual celebration of the 64-day Season for Non-Violence.
“We were reflecting on the principles of non-violence protest,” Otieku explained. “And Emmie asked, ‘can kids protest?’ and I said, ‘of course!’ Then another girl said, ‘We should have a march!’ and when I asked, ‘what will you protest?’ the class said, ‘We want to protest hate and march for peace.’”
Several Lum students read essays and poems about inclusion, peace, life skills, and how at Lum Elementary School “Everyone Belongs Here.”
“It’s only my first year here and I already feel like I belong at Lum,” one girl said. “When I see all the Everyone Belongs Here posters in my school, I am filled with joy. Lum is so understanding and accepting. I look around and everyone looks different on the outside but they’re all still friends.”
After the readings, Mayor Spencer led the children in the classic protest songs “This Land is Your Land” and “If I Had a Hammer.”