Monday, December 24, 2012
To the "Beloved Community" of Education Activists
When you speak out as a matter of conscience on issues that are important to you, it is impossible to predict the consequences. You do so because you can't look at yourself in the mirror if you don't. When I began speaking out in behalf of teachers under attack four years ago, it is because I couldn't stand to see the great teachers I worked with the Bronx being made the unremitting target of abuse by politicians and the press. Little did I know that this would link me to a national community of education activists fighting the same policies all over the country. Now, four years later, I have dozens of new friends in almost every state in the union who have, for me at least, recreated the "Beloved Community" that the southern Civil Rights Movement held up as a movement ideal in the early 60's. The courage these individuals display in fighting top down initiatives that destroy teaching and learning, sometimes with little support in their own communities, inspires me with feelings of solidarity and love and gives me the energy to fighting on. To all of you, whether in Florida, South Carolina, Washington, Oregon, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Upstate New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Indiana, California, or the great city of Chicago, I owe a debt of gratitude for infusing my life with a new and higher sense of purpose. Please keep speaking truth to power and defend the right of all children to have an education that stirs their imaginations and builds on their strengths.