~ Submitted by Bopha Malone
Many thanks to Bedford Embraces Diversity, Parents Diversity Council and Bedford Rotary Club for organizing such a powerful and inspirational virtual program to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. My husband Tom and I were able to learn more about the Bedford METCO program, and this event gave our children, Taevy (11) and Caelan (9) a chance to learn about a world beyond Bedford.
We heard beautiful opening remarks from Regie Gibson, a poet, songwriter, author, and educator. Caelan shared that he loved Mr. Gibson’s words. “I learned that if I hear or see things that are wrong, I shouldn’t ignore them. I should not be afraid to say or do the right things. I also learned that I can use nice words to help others.”
We then heard from a panel of parents involved in the Bedford METCO program. It was powerful and eye-opening to hear about these families’ devotion to their children’s education and both positive and negative experiences they’ve had through the program.
When asked what she learned, my daughter Taevy said, “I thought that the MLK event was a great and educational event that made me realize the challenges METCO students go through to be able to access the same education as we have in Bedford. Different people’s stories and experiences helped me better understand the struggles that some of my classmates have to go through like getting up hours earlier and having such long bus rides in traffic just to come to school, while I can get up 15 minutes before the bus comes.”
The program reminded us that although we’ve come a long way, there’s still much work to be done to advance racial equity. It encouraged our children to become more aware, to be guiding lights to others, and to help advance Dr. King’s dream for a more inclusive, equitable, and accessible community for all.