First Annual MLK Day of Play
Monday, January 21, 2019
5520 Ravenna Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105
By Katharine Strange
What can we do as parents and educators to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the brave men and women who fought for civil rights and equality for all Americans?
There are many ways to honor Dr. King’s legacy: we can read books (here’s a great list for kids), we can take part in a protest or a day of community service. But we at Kids and Race have a new vision for how we can continue the work of finding our shared humanity with people who are different from us: play.
As our director, Jasen Frelot, often reminds the K&R team, play is important. Arguably, it’s the most important work of childhood. Kids learn about their world through play. But all too often, our kids play in a segregated world.
Racially segregated play was not dreamed up by children, but by the age of 5 or 6 children often learn who are the playmates that are “acceptable” to the adults around them. By the time children reach middle school, they generally have few friends who are of different races. This pattern sadly will not be disrupted in high school or college. Those segregated children will grow up to be adults who feel discomfort around people of different racial, religious, or ethnic backgrounds. In turn, they will subtly discourage their children from playing who are different from them. And so the cycle continues.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can encourage our children to make friends across racial lines. Even better, we can model this behavior by becoming friends with people of different races.
Striking up a conversation with a stranger is a tall order for most Seattlites, but we at Kids and Race want to facilitate a day of relaxed, integrated play. We invite you to join us for the first annual MLK Day of Play, Monday, January 21st, 1:00pm at Ravenna Park.
We will honor the story of The Birmingham Children’s Crusade with our own mini-march around the park (make a sign if you’re inclined), followed by play time for children and socializing for adults.
To cap off your day, you are also invited to a s’more roast (for kids) and happy hour (for adults) at Ravenna Brewing Company, where $1 from every beer purchased will be donated to Kids and Race. These donations will also be matched by Fuller Living Construction!
Hope to see you there!
- The Kids and Race Team