Grade 12 students engaged in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to talk about systematic racism with members of the King family. ISA had the pleasure to host Dr. Babs Onabanjo, President of the A. D. King Foundation, Alveda King, daughter of Mrs. Naomi King and Eddie Beal, grandson of Mrs. Naomi King.
The A.D. King Foundation is “a non-violent conflict resolution entity formed to revolutionize the mindset, attitude and behavior that promote violence and war with non-violent principles, methods and direct actions. The mission is to promote youth empowerment development and non-violent social change strategies as a way of life throughout the world. The goal is to build a beloved community with ‘Social Justice and Entrepreneurship’ as the center core.”
In a casual setting, the visitors had an open conversation with students about their reality in an international school community and shared their experiences and perspectives about historical reparation, systematic racism and conflict resolution.
Alveda King shared: “I look around this room and I see quite a lot of different people here, as this is an international school. Science says we’re all the same, even if we look in so many different ways. Race is a social construct. There’s only one race, the human race.”
When asked about the history of racism and how he interprets the progress that has been made, Eddie Beal said: “An apology is just the start, but there are still problems that need to be addressed. The social justice movement has pioneered those changes in America, but all countries have problems with dominance in post-colonisation times. We laid the system in place for powerful change, now it is about empowering.”
Finally, Dr. Babs Onabanjo explained a bit about the non-violence principles. “The mindset has to be reassessed. It all begins with self-reflection and coming to awareness. Darkness cannot take away darkness, only brightness can. It takes courage to examine yourself and what you want to accomplish.”
Students asked questions about the recent Black Lives Matter movement and how they can create impact locally and globally. They reflected together on how there is racism present in their settings but that they are agents of international understanding and unity in diversity.
We appreciate our visitors and their unique contribution to this invaluable discussion with students!