A few months ago, we traveled 500 miles with our Middle School students to expose them to the racial injustice that was pervasive in the 1960s, and to open their eyes to the fact that they, too, can use their voice for social change. We hope that they came home from Alabama a little troubled by our history, but inspired to make a difference when they see injustice in their own community.
Little did we know that a historical injustice had occurred here in our own back yard. Last week, our Middle School students learned that Creve Coeur’s Bierne Park was created from land that had been purchased by an esteemed African American ophthalmologist, Dr. Howard Venable and his wife Katie. The Venables were forced to give up their land by Creve Coeur citizens because of the color of their skin. Rabbi Andrea Goldstein and Jodi Miller (both parents of Mirowitz alumni) spoke to the students, explaining why the Jewish community should stand up and make sure that this story is told and the Venables are remembered. Rabbi Andrea and Jodi are part of the Venable Coalition, a group of citizens working to expose the true story of Bierne Park.
It’s no surprise that our students were inspired by what they heard and are ready to add their voice to this poignant conversation. They hope you will join them! Audrey, Zahava and Omry will attend a special “Coffee with the Mayor” next Wednesday night at the Danforth Plant Science Center. The event, in response to the work of the Venable Park Coalition, can accommodate up to 300 people, so please register here if you plan to attend.
May all our students grow up to feel that their voice counts, that they are worthy of being heard, and that they have the power to effect change locally and globally.