4.5 years ago I took a stand. For justice. For education. For just education for young folks in America. 1.5 years ago, I left the classroom. That has been hard. I have felt like I’ve abandoned ‘the kids,’ ‘the cause,’ my school, and The Stand.
But i haven’t. I can’t say I’m doing as much for it as I did when I stood in front of 120 9th graders everyday, but I continue to stand up for excellent education for ALL children in the world. It’s starting to look a little different. Most days it’s informal education about health-ful food choices. In years to come, I hope it’ll be education to allow young girls about the options to say ‘no’ to sexual activities that lead to AIDS. But I’ll be honest, it always has and always will start and end with my heart with the children of Newark. To my students: You are amazing. You are incredible. You CAN achieve much, but the odds ARE stacked against you. Remember how we studied that in California, the government starts building jail cells based on 3rd grade reading levels? Remember how you concluded it wasn’t because illiterate people go to jail, but that there’s a direct correlation between those who are years behind in reading and drop-out rates from high school. The high school drop out rates have direct correlation to increased incarceration rates. Remember how motivated you felt? How inspired you were to dream big dreams, listen to the omens, work hard every day at school, and DEMAND just education from the world around you? I believe in you. Believe that you CAN work hard. And when you do, you will see the fruit of your labor. I pray you have educators that push you, fight with you, fight for you and not against you. I tell everyone I know about you, and they won’t shut me up.
To the teachers who are fighting injustice everyday, leveling the scales everyday: Thank you is a cheap phrase compared to your efforts. You have the most incredible job in the world. Thank you for no doing it for the paycheck, and having hearts of iron & gold. Thank you for standing up.
To those wishing to be more educated: a great resource.