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Riverton Civil Rights Team Leading the Way

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Riverton Civil Rights Team Leading the Way
Posted on 12/21/2015
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Riverton Elementary School’s Civil Rights Team is emerging as a model in Maine at a time when the issue of civil rights is the subject of intense debate nationwide and developing into a key issue in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Riverton CRT is focusing this year on using a variety of means – including sports, arts and crafts, a newsletter, a culture club, theater and mentoring – to convey the group’s message of acceptance and inclusion.

Also, the Riverton CRT was prominently featured in Dec. 21 Portland Press Herald article on the Civil Rights Team Project in Maine, a statewide initiative to support and establish Civil Rights Teams in schools.

The Riverton team’s co-leader, fifth-grader teacher Teddy Valencia, is quoted in the article as saying she was “blown away” by the frank discussions her students initiate. For example, the students talk about how it’s against American values to discriminate against someone because of religion or skin color, even if that’s what some people are saying. The CRT allows students to express their doubts and fears and learn about their rights, Valencia says in the article.

Also, Valencia said, students at a recent meeting “commended their Muslim friends who participated with their parents in the March for Peace at Monument Park.” Also, Valencia said, the students made a list of some CRT messages to send out to people. Those messages are:

“1. No matter who you are, someone in this world loves and cares about you.

2. We are all the same, but also different in fantastic ways.

3. No matter what you look like, we are all beautiful.

4. No matter your religion or race, we are all human beings.

5. We can all make a difference if we try.”

Also, one student emended the team’s favorite quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

"I have a dream. I have a dream that little white boys and little white girls, and little black boys and little black girls, and little brown boys and little brown girls, and little peachy-colored-flesh boys and little peachy- colored-flesh girls, Well You Get the Point RIGHT? I have a dream that they will all sit down around a table and share a meal and LOVE!!”

PHOTO CAPTION: Members of the Riverton Elementary School Civil Rights Team posed their hands for the photo pictured above.