Meet PenPal Star Sam from Indiana, USA! This PenPal Star is in the 6th grade, and earlier this semester she participated in Walking to Freedom where she learned about diversity, discrimination, and civil rights movements around the world.
Sam created and shared a great project where she created a Change Agent Hall of Fame! Sam told us, “For the final project I selected the Change Agent Hall of Fame. I chose to create this because I really enjoy sports.”
Check out her final project:
Ruby Bridges was just a six year old girl when she went to her first all white school. Nobody liked Ruby because of this and she had to be protected. The army and police had to bring her to school and then guard the doors. Every day after school she had to be escorted out by U.S Marshals. She was only six but there were threats to her home and her family from parents. Many people who attended William Frantz school took their children out because they didn't want them to be around Ruby.She didn't make friends and had to have her own seprate teacher. Since there were often parents trying to attack Ruby the teacher had to close the blindes. But eventually a law was passed most of school segregation was eliminated.
Harriet Tubman was an American that was born into slavery. She conducted the Underground Railroad to help people like her escape from slavery. Tubman was a very brave person because she made the trip multiple times to get everyone in her family. She led most slaves to the Northern states of New York, Pennislyvania, and Delaware or to Canada. During the time when she was helping the slaves a civil war was going on. Abraham Lincoln who was president at the time was able to abolish slavery in 1865, which also happened to be the last year of the civil war.
Martin Luther King
MLK was born in Atlanta, Georgia to a minister and his wife. He was a civil rights activist and most popular for his I have A Dream speech. He was a very well-known spokesperson and leader in the 50's and 60's. In October 1964 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial equality through nonviolent resistance. In 1963 Martin Luther King did his famous I have a Dream speech after the March on Washington. Something that I thought was cool was that Martin Luther King was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. The disapponting thing about his being an activist is that his family and people that he knew got threats to their lives and their homes. Kings house has been bombed as well. In 1968 Martin Luther King was assainated.
"The Global Pen Pals Project is a Wonderful tool that allows for educators and students to share thought-provoking discussions and lessons. It gives our students an opportunity to connect and collaborate with others around the world. A connection that can build better understanding and possibly strengthen relationships along the way."
Before creating her project, Sam had the chance to learn about civil rights movements around the world and discuss difficult topics like discrimination with her PenPals. She explored and shared about the ethnic diversity in her community.
Many different ethnic groups are represented in Valpo. So different ethnic groups that are included are whites, black, asians, and hispanics. It is 86.6% white, 6.3% Hispanic (me), 3.2% black, and 2.4% Asian. The African Americans, Asians, and the Hispanics all came in from boats in the early 15 & 16 hundreds. The whites came in one group by one, some British whites came before some French whites.
She also had plenty of opportunities to reflect on different change agents throughout history.
Some challenges that people face when they are fighting for what they believe in is they can risk their life, be seriously injured, nobody could believe, the can get threats to their homes and families. or be arrested. Rosa Parks and Helen Joseph didn't care about if they died or not they wanted the world to change. Helen Joseph was in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force and then became a social worker. Both Helen and Rosa Parks were both fighting for equal rights for people of color. Rosa Parks was fighting for civil rights and didn't give up her seat on the bus. Unfortunately both women were arrested for fighting for these rights. It's really sad that people are arresting others that are trying to help us.
The person who I picked thats fighting for civil rights today is Margaret Cho. Margaret Cho is a LGBTQ+ activist and fighting for Asian American rights. She is like Gandhi because they are both fighting for equal rights. They are different because they are fighting for different types of equal rights. Gandhi is protesting against discrimination and Cho is fighting for equal rights for the LGBTQ community. Also Gandhi was born outside of the country (India) and Cho was born is California.
Sam also had a chance to discover and share how civil rights leaders are honored in her community!
Some ways that Northwest Indiana remember/honor civil rights leaders is by having special holidays and celebrations. Also they honor those certain leaders in colleges such as IU in which there are presentations about MLK and other civil rights leaders during Black History month. In IU they have shows during Black History month that you can watch. According to https://www.iun.edu/news/2017/odema-2018-events.htm each shows teaches and shows something from that point in time. Another way that they celebrate these individuals that did so much for us is parades. Sometimes on MLK day there are parades to celebrate him. Also the Indiana Civil Rights Comission held their first ever MLK day of service. The King day of service brought together dozens of volunteers to complete certain projects. All of this happened on Martin Luther King Jr. Street in Indianapolis. The website I found this information on is https://www.in.gov/icrc/2569.htm Also according to that website there is also an MLK Jr. Indiana Holiday celebration (the 21st one) in the Indiana Statehouse.
By exploring civil rights leaders around the world and within her own country and community, Sam was able to make connections between the fight for equality around the world, and compare and contrast to discover how discrimination affects people today.
"Global connections impact students in our classroom in a powerful way. They allow our students to make connections that broaden their perspectives and enrich their lives. They are able to gain powerful insights through meaningful collaboration with others."
Sam’s favorite class is math, and when she’s not learning with PenPals, Sam loves to play basketball, track, and soccer! We had a chance to catch up with Sam to learn more about what she loved about Walking to Freedom.
PenPal Schools: What has been your favorite thing about learning with PenPals?
Sam: My favorite thing about learning with PenPals is you get to meet people all over the world. The most important lesson I learned is the Mahtama Gandhi chapter because I got to learn more about someone who was fighting for civil rights.
What is the most interesting thing you learned from your PenPals?
The most interesting thing I've learned from my penpals is about the different countries and the certain things that happen there.
How has your project changed the way you think about the world?
I think it's changed how I think about the world because I know more things about certain time periods and people.
What advice do you have about being a great PenPal?
Some advice that I have about being a great PenPal is giving people positive feedback.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
If I could travel anywhere I would go to Rio De Janerio Brazil because I want to see where the Olympics was and it's supposed to be warm there.
How did you feel when you found out you were going to be featured as a PenPal Star?
I was super happy and excited that I was going to be PenPal star because this is one of the highest achivements I've ever reached.
Why do you think it's important to learn with other students from around the world?
I think its important to learn with other students around the world because you get to learn about all these different countries and people with people from around the world.
Congratulations again to Sam, and thank you for being such a great PenPal!