This January, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois and its Racial Justice Committee shares a message of remembrance as it honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and recognizes the many individuals who have sacrificed to create a path forward so that Dr. King’s dream can be realized. To celebrate MLK Day and begin the celebrations for Black History Month, the Racial Justice Committee offered events and service projects for our children and families to learn from, take part in, and enjoy.
Virtual Tour of the National Civil Rights Museum
On January 14, the children in our care had an incredible experience of touring (virtually) the National Civil Rights Museum located in Memphis Tennessee. Our children were thrilled to be able to tour this amazing museum that otherwise might not be possible if not for the virtual exhibit. The experience resonated with our families and provided an understanding of what human rights are, how they are threatened, and how we can take action today.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the SOS Illinois Day of Service
The SOS Racial Justice Committee shared, “We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.” Dr. King later went on to say, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” These words were spoken in response by his activism during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama. As the committee and organization calls upon each of us to reflect on these words and the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it is with the realization that we do so as individuals in our own particular situations, as well as in our collective understanding of who we are as a society. To be committed to the presence of justice that Dr. King put forth for us is both a goal and a daily challenge for each of us to create peace by ensuring equity, fairness, and justice for all people.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is a defining moment each year when Americans across the country step up to make our communities more equitable and take action to build the Beloved Community of Dr. King’s dream. While Dr. King believed the Beloved Community was possible, he acknowledged and fought for systemic change. With his leadership, many before us have taken on the challenge and worked towards making this dream a reality.
This year, SOS Illinois’ families had the opportunity to prepare Forget-Me-Not Planter Kits to be delivered to the Senior residents in our communities. While the Forget-Me-Not plants symbolize true love and respect, flowers themselves represent an important part of people’s lives for hundreds of years. Many stories and myths have been built around them.
In memory of MLK’s work, the Forget-Me-Not Planter Kits are a small gesture to allow us in a greater capacity to recognize and appreciate our elders and the sacrifices they made in paving the road for us to continue on their path. We won’t take this for granted and we won’t forget this culture and history. We will work to continue the progress they began. The dream that Dr. King spoke about 58 years ago is a vision of what we want our society to be, what it can be. It is a timeless truth that each of us must embrace. It is a call to action.
Black History Month
This upcoming month of February we will be celebrating Black History Month. At SOS Illinois, we aim to empower children by prioritizing values such as diversity, education, health, and well-being. We will share more resources about building a community of hope and a cycle of opportunity.
Each week on Tuesday at 4:30PM, SOS Illinois will livestream an episode of the Netflix Documentary series “Black & White” about Colin Kaepernick’s formative years, exploring issues of race. Beginning on January 18th and running weekly through the end of February for Black History Month, the Racial Justice Committee will be streaming 1 episode per week of this 6 episode series. Keep and eye out for additional events and activities throughout Black History Month.
Racial Justice Committee at SOS Illinois
The SOS Children’s Villages Illinois’ Racial Justice Committee has been working behind the scenes to determine the best approach SOS Illinois can take to address the issues we face today, in particular working to reunite families. The Racial Justice Committee recognizes the systems of inequity that disproportionately impact people of color; socioeconomic deprivation, poor education, and lack of access to resources. SOS Illinois recognizes the role this disparity plays in the dissolution of the family unit. We are therefore committed to mitigating these challenges in order to reunite families or ensure a permanent outcome for children where they can continue to grow and thrive. The SOS Illinois commitment is to support a process that ensures children find their “forever home.” SOS Illinois does so by building bridges between our biological parents and our Foster Parents throughout the communities we serve.