Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.—50 Years After His Assassination

| By Deb Kirby | If, like me, the 1960s was your coming-of-age decade, you were witness to and shaped by many history-making events. Some were positive and inspiring, like the moon landing and the enactment of civil rights laws, while others were tragically sad, including the assassinations of President John Kennedy, his brother Bobby … Read more

Nevertheless, She Persisted – Celebrating Women’s History Month Honorees

| By Deb Kirby | A couple of days after Senator Elizabeth Warren’s attempted silencing on the floor of the U.S. Senate during Attorney Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearings, I ordered a tee shirt featuring the now famous phrase, Nevertheless, She Persisted. That evening as my husband and I waited in the noisy lobby of Ann … Read more

Giving Thanks for National Teachers’ Day

| By Debra Kirby |

National Teachers’ Day, which is observed in the United States on the first Tuesday of the first full week in May, is a great time to reflect on all the ways teachers have enriched our lives. Engaged teachers go beyond teaching their students the subject matter related to their classes—they also teach such skills as critical thinking, communication, organization, teamwork, and—in some cases—act as role models in ways that benefit their students into adulthood.

I was very fortunate to have just such a teacher: Mrs. Erma Colding, the science teacher at Harms Elementary in Detroit. Her class was the favorite of many students, and not just because it was filled with plants and animals. She was kind, engaging, encouraging, passionate about learning, and made science fun! Most of this I recognized at the time, but it was many years before I realized she had also been a role model for grace, dignity, and courage. I kept in touch with Mrs. Colding throughout my life, but only learned after her death that she was also a civil rights activist and a recipient of the prestigious NAACP Freedom and Justice Award.

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