Following the honey: Speaker teaches youth about kindness in spirit of MLK

  • Toni Bee, a poet, storyteller and educator, as well as the Cambridge Poet Populist, delivers a presentation to Winchendon School students at the Orange Innovation Center on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 16, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Toni Bee, a poet, storyteller and educator, as well as the Cambridge Poet Populist, delivers a presentation to Winchendon School students at the Orange Innovation Center on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 16, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Toni Bee, a poet, storyteller and educator, as well as the Cambridge Poet Populist, delivers a presentation to Winchendon School students at the Orange Innovation Center on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 16, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Toni Bee, a poet, storyteller and educator, as well as the Cambridge Poet Populist, delivers a presentation to Winchendon School students at the Orange Innovation Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Toni Bee, a poet, storyteller and educator, as well as the Cambridge Poet Populist, delivers a presentation to Winchendon School students at the Orange Innovation Center on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 16, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

Recorder Staff
Published: 1/16/2017 11:10:01 PM

ORANGE — A beehive is a microcosm of the dream Martin Luther King Jr. had for the American people.

The hive is a superorganism in which individuals work together in harmony for the common good and no one acts independently of the community.

“We cannot walk alone,” King told more than 200,000 demonstrators in his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

As the nation’s first black president gets ready to step down from the highest office in the land, Toni Bee told roughly a dozen students from The Winchendon School that it is important to embrace King’s message and realize Americans’ destinies are tied together. It was part of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration held at the Orange Innovation Center to commemorate the beginning of a partnership between The Winchendon School and the North Quabbin Trails Association.

Bee, the 2016 inaugural poetry ambassador of Cambridge and the elected Cambridge Poet Populist emeritus 2011-2013, led an impassioned program in which she challenged students and attendees to write whatever was on the their minds, at one point having them work in pairs. She spoke of her close friendship with Mary Canning, a longtime North Quabbin property owner who owns a retail store called Follow The Honey in Harvard Square. Follow The Honey, Canning said, carries “what I call ‘human rights honey’ from underserved populations around the planet.”

Canning and the aptly-named Bee work to unlock a way to more comfortably talk about institutionalized racism and multiculturalism.

Addressing her young audience, Bee said she aims to redefine specific skin colors, referring to Canning as her “peach sister” and to herself as peanut butter. She said she is a devout Christian, but told the students they should never feel pressured to identify that way.

“I don’t care what religion you are — just be nice to me. I don’t think Dr. King cared what religion you are — just be kind,” she said. “Give people fairness.”

You can reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 258.
On Twitter: @DomenicPoli




Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

Copyright © 2020 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy