MBE student leads equality march
Mountain Brook Elementary’s mascot is a Lancer, also known as a knight. And similar to the chivalric ethos signifying knighthood, MBE students are taught the school creed: “MBE Lancers Lead from the Heart.”
This lesson permeates social and emotional learning at MBE. One MBE sixth-grade student, Cate Axon, exemplified those lessons this summer by organizing and leading a children’s march for racial equality.
Cate said that during her fourth-grade year at MBE her class studied the Civil War, and she was struck by the fact that “slavery was abolished, but racism was not.” She also learned about the Civil Rights Act and the problem of systemic racism. She said she was shocked when she learned about the death of George Floyd and other African-Americans, like Tamir Rice, and immediately thought, “I need to do something about this.”
So Cate organized a children’s march in Mountain Brook, calling it an “All Kids Peaceful Protest for Black Lives Matter.” She called City Hall and obtained an event permit. Mountain Brook Police Chief Ted Cook assisted her in planning the route and provided four officers to escort the marchers. She texted friends and put up posters advertising the march.
On June 20, 2020, the group of children marched with posters from Triangle Park down Montevallo Road to Mountain Brook City Hall, escorted by Mountain Brook police officers. Cate climbed the wall of the fountain and spoke to the children, thanking the police officers for their assistance and then telling the gathered marchers that “people think kids are too young to understand what is happening, but we are the next generation and we will not tolerate racism because everyone is created equal.”
Cate said she hopes to plan other events and help in other ways in the future now that her eyes are open to the injustice and racism still present in her country. She credits MBE with teaching her how to be a leader so that she can raise her voice and lead others to say, “This is not OK.”