it took me a while to post
sitting as a draft for nearly thirty hours.
then I realized I’d sit with anyone and tell
as a core of who I am and why I’m running.
we all do our best to be the change we want to see around us.
is what I am doing.
I filed for Position #4 at my local elections office. Nice logo, right?! I have this girl to thank.
With so much on my plate already it’s a solid wonder why I stepped up to the plate for this.
I don’t have to look too far.
I can look to the readings of Jonathan Kozol for a call to action in America’s school reform.
I can still feel the mighty inspirational and passionate words of Zahir Wahab, the Afghan-American Professor at Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and senior advisor to the Minister of Higher Education in Afghanistan.
I can remember my days as an educator with the late Vice Principal Claude Harvey and his heart of gold, his belief in all kids, especially who school might just be the safest place for.
This root has been in my head for so long, but I knew I couldn’t ponder my stake in running publicly here. Last month at a Wellstone Action training I met with a member of the Progressive Majority of the Democratic Party who had worked on Obama’s campaign. From her, I learned the parameters for speaking publicly and writing on a blog about running for School Board service. Apparently, any mention would be considered a public declaration. Phew. It was a lot to take in.
In the idea of a campaign I see so many similarities to writing a blog. I learned that to be an electable candidate I must first believe I have something to offer, pulling something out of my own self, acknowledging some sort of greatness and forcing people to listen.
A bit like blogging, no?! Bloggy pals tease out all the hows and whys to learn from another narrative, while offering support to one another. Grassroots community activists do the same.
The late Paul Wellstone believed that people must first connect emotionally, then connect rationally. He believed stories were a tool to craft, were a tool to share a window into ourselves. A bit like blogging, no?! He believed it is simply not enough to rattle off a long resume’s list of qualifications but to take that breath of experience and exhale with an air of promises for tomorrow’s change.
In this space I will not make my promises for tomorrow, but instead tell my story of how I came to wake on tomorrow’s promise.
My favorite part of the Wellstone Action Training was the intense writing workshop where we crafted personal narratives in response to this prompt:
Why am I running?
Long before I birthed three beautiful daughters and moved to the island I now call home, I worked as a public school teacher. In the doors of those classrooms, I saw confidence in the student who could proudly declare himself a poet as they learned poetry doesn’t have to rhyme to be considered a poem. In the hallways of the school, I met an administrator with the gift of allowing each student he encountered to believe not only in their true self but also in their dreams. In the playgrounds of the district, I witnessed play as the center of a well-rounded learner and understood the need for bringing the out-of-doors inside. Wholeheartedly, whether gathered for read-alouds or small group lessons or sitting silently in a row, my students felt respected, understood and heard.
As a parent, I’ve attended the whole-group equivalent of a read-aloud and put my ideas to paper during small-group School Board conflict-resolution community meetings. Our community has a lot of healing to do in the wake of a beloved Principal’s resignation and accompanying storm. It’s really a long, long story. At the meetings, I showed up, spoke up and even got teared up in the process.
When our teachers, community members and especially my own daughters enter into the school buildings, I want them to feel welcomed, understood, heard, and collaborated with.
I believe in the need for my daughter’s voice to be heard at public school. I believe in the need for parents, community members and teachers to feel not only as if they have a voice, but also as if they are validated and understood.
I want to be this listener, this voice on our school board.