TODAY I RISE

My dear students, we are at the end of our journey together. If we read the news, the world still seems to be full of hatred, violence, revenge, injustice and madness. I want instead to end the school year with something contemporary to convey a positive message .

I’ve therefore decided to show you this short movie (click link) Today, I Rise’ by Alexandra Feldner, that will only take you a few minutes to watch, but hope will inspire you forever.

  1. We’re going to WATCH the FILM WITHOUT SOUND. What do you think the film is about?  How does the film make you feel?
  2. Now we’re WATCHING IT WITH SOUND ON. In your group decide what the message of the film is. Write it down and be ready to report to the rest of the class.

Here’s the PDF of the paper with the text I’ve given you in class.

The short film and poem seem to be inspired by the poem Still I Rise by Maya Angelou -(April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014 was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist) which is about the centuries of mistreatment and oppression of black people, and about the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.

  • Can you find any similarities between the two poems?

I have finally chosen Michelle Obama’s last official speech addressing to young people like you.

INDIVIDUAL TASK: Make a personal comment connecting “Today I rise” to your daily life. Anything you cannot accept the way it is and can change? Anything you’d like to improve or do differently? Anything you’d like to commit to? LEAVE IT AS A COMMENT BELOW.

May the future bring you love and peace or al least bring you the wisdom to accept its imperfections.


I Have a DREAM

I want to end this school year with a topic that I have had close to my heart sine the beginning of my career: CIVIC ENGAGEMENT. Things do not happen without a reason and I strongly believe in the power of “coincidences”. I’m referring to the recent movie by Spike Lee BlacKkKlansman I watched two days ago.

I’m referring to the new protests by young people led by Greta Thunberg against the Climate Crisis.

I’m referring to the suspension of a high school teacher Rosa Maria Dell’Aria accused of failing to oversee the activity of a group of students who, in a video, compared the government’s migrant and security decree to the Fascist racial laws. You can watch the video and judge by yourselves.

All these apparently unlinked events have made me realise once more how important the role of EDUCATION is, in order to develop CRITICAL THINKING in the new generations. Being able to oppose any form of propaganda, violence and abuse of power, is only possible if you can identify them, if you can tell and distinguish truth from lies, if you know history and literature. Orwell warned us against the dangers of totalitarianism. Therefore today we’re ending our English course with Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have a Dream” which he delivered on the steps of Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on 28th August 1963. You have the text in your textbook.

Some photos I took in Atlanta (Georgia) at the M.L. King Historical Park

In class we’ve also dealt with the Civil Rights Movement in the Usa. I want to add something to the great figures that have been mentioned and have made the history of democracy and equality.

Rosa Parker who on the 1st December, refused to give up her seat at the front of the coloured section of a bus to a white passenger, thus defying the Jim Crows laws. Bus were desegregated in 1956.

I want to end this post using two quotes by Einstein to reflect upon.

TASK: CHOOSE 1 of the two: What is the best way to protest for our rights? Have you ever fought for an ideal you believe in? What have you learnt today? OR: I Have a DREAM …. continue in prose or stream of consciousness or as a poem. Thanks!!