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Iconic Civil Rights Activist Celebrates Ruby Bridges Day with Martin Elementary School in South San Francisco
Posted 11/19/20

Ruby BridgesElementary school students at South San Francisco Unified School District’s (SSFUSD) Martin Elementary School received a virtual visit from Civil Rights icon Ruby Bridges during a morning assembly on November 18 in observance of Ruby Bridges Day.

The virtual visit consisted of an exclusive video message from Ruby Bridges, in which she recognized the efforts of the students of Martin Elementary School in making Ruby Bridges Day a reality in South San Francisco and beyond.

“Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the recent death of her mother, Lucille, Ruby Bridges won’t be able to join us in person, but we know that her thoughts are with us, and our thoughts are with her, as we gather online to commemorate Ruby Bridges Day,” said Martin Elementary fifth grade teacher Deborah Carlino.

According to Carlino, students recorded themselves walking to school, and South San Francisco city hall will be lit with gold lights on November 18.

Ruby Bridges Day came to be when students in Mrs. Carlino’s class successfully lobbied SSFUSD in 2017 to designate November 14 as Ruby Bridges Day. The students subsequently petitioned the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) in 2018 and the City of South San Francisco in 2019 with the same request.

Since then, observance of Ruby Bridges Day has spread in California and even made its way to other states like Colorado.

“This all started in 2017,” said Carlino. “After my students learned about Ruby Bridges during African-American History month, they were inspired to stand up and make a difference. They gathered more than 1,000 signatures from the community and asked the school board to make November 14 Ruby Bridges Day.”

Ruby Bridges was six-years-old in 1960 when she helped desegregate William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans.

“It’s no surprise that the story of Ruby Bridges resonates with so many of our students,” said SSFUSD Superintendent Dr. Shawnterra Moore. “Her actions and those of our students reflect the inherent power all children have to change the world. We are proud of the way our students have sought to demonstrate civic responsibility by engaging in political activism.”