MLK in OKC: Events + three education resources



Oklahoma City family fun brings all kinds of opportunities to children and families.

Every now and then, someone asks me why we live in Oklahoma City. Neither my husband nor I am from here. In fact, my husband is from Costa Rica, a stable democracy in Latin America that's known for white sand beaches and as a frequent tourism destination. We got married there and visit when our schedules allow but we're busy. Mario loves his job as a Spanish teacher, even though he also works extra hours and another job to make it feasible in our state.

We have considered moving in light of the teacher pay situation here in Oklahoma. However, some improvements have been made, more seem possible and we'll see what happens.  

That hope, the one that brings people to the United States and keeps them pushing forward, willing to work multiple jobs and persist, is a beautiful thing about this country. Belief in fundamental principles like the premise of equality is something valued here, even as its application seems lacking within our social structures at times.

As the mother of biracial children in a dual-culture and language household, it's not always easy to explain what we see on the news and some of what they've already experienced to my children. I carefully explain that other people may perceive them differently based on assumptions. We have talks about rising above stereotypes and offer quiet advice about always looking clean and neat, working hard and talking respectfully, leaving tortillas out of your lunchbox if you want to fit in and not oversharing about how our family is different. We are proud, we have a lot to share but we are cautious.

The waving of a Confederate flag at my husband and the shouting of a racial slur from within a pickup truck that sped by the very first time we walked in downtown Edmond together 12 years ago was one of the first things that happened. I felt disappointed but not surprised. We know I can return merchandise at a store; he's often refused. There are just small adjustments we make in everyday life that I don't think other families have to worry about. I have the unique vantage point of seeing both sides and I worry how my four sons will be perceived as they grow up and people cross the street to avoid them. Racism lives here but so do we, alongside other peaceful families. 

Martin Luther King Day is coming up and teaching about that Civil Rights history is important so we don't repeat it. More than that, diversity makes us stronger as a community. Difference of opinion and the ability to find common ground are also what make this nation great. Celebrate those differences by attending a local event next weekend or Monday while school is out for the observance. 

Education is a primary reason families come here. I see so many parents who work a trade, start a business and do glass work, tile work, concrete and bricklaying and a lot of other jobs they may or may not encourage their children to take up. Sometimes, these same parents or the children themselves ask me about college, how to apply and if it's worth attending. Despite the cost, I make the case for college because education can never be taken away from you. Education is the ultimate equalizer. It's also something recognized in other places, transferable and life-enhancing. 

If you're looking for education resources, here are three worth knowing about:

MetroFamily's Education Guide: Find private schools, including online and charter options, as well as field trip venues here.
MetroFamily's Education page: See what's available in all things local for education. Scroll to the bottom for education-related events.
OKC Robotics Programs for Kids: Check out this new article.

St. Mary's Episcopal School at 505 E. Covell is hosting a free STEAM Saturday event tomorrow, Jan. 11, with hands-on experiments. Its theme is the science of music and it's happening in the morning, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. 

Progress can be an individual choice but I do see it with our friends and neighbors in the place we've chosen to make our home. It takes all kinds but also kindness. There's hope for both right here and I trust the next generation of children will live and play together, work and worship and have their own children while we look on. Oklahoma is a good place to raise a family and we're glad to be here with you.  

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