Kids learn the importance of nonviolent protest with firsthand experience
Hundreds of children from Los Angeles schools participated in a march for equality last week. Lara Stemple, one of the organizers of the march and mother to a fifth-grader and second-grader who participated, said the march was purposefully timed to take place between Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the Inauguration. “We wanted to give the kids a chance to learn that this is not the end, we still have a voice, we can still speak out,” Stemple told the Daily Bruin. The children, along with their parents marched, waved handmade signs, and sang songs like “If I Had a Hammer” while learning a lesson in peaceful political demonstration.
Jamie Siragusa, mom to four-year-old Braden, is currently enrolled in the Los Angeles Center of Photography professional program. Her images from the UCLA children’s march showcase just how much kids understand what’s happening in the world around them.
“I have always been interested in children’s rights; especially since they are often the ones whose voices are not heard,” she told Scary Mommy. “I attended a protest march in November and after seeing numerous kids holding heartbreaking written posters, I started thinking of my own son and the possible limitations he will face.”
Maya Henry, a fifth-grade student at the Larchmont Charter School, spend hours after school and during lunch time working on her protest sign with classmates. “It is important to me that no one feels like they don’t have a right to be who they are, whether it is gay or lesbian people, or people from a different culture or county or whoever,” she said. “That doesn’t matter. We are all human.”
Siragusa says she believes some parents bring their children to march in order to show them that their opinions have value, regardless of their age. “I’ve talked to many parents who really don’t know how to explain our current political climate to their kids, ” she said. “Due to this, they have brought their children to various marches as a way to show them that they too have a voice.”