As teachers, union officers, community members and U.S. Citizens, we marvel at a process which aspires to give voice to everyone and respects the rule of the majority. We also marvel that its results almost always leave many people happy and many others unhappy. Some people are feeling heard, while others go unheard; some are excitedly feeling “part of” moving ahead. Others are feeling disenfranchised and upset because it seems as if they are moving backwards.
Elections based on a particular type of discourse and variety of things said as well as values expressed over the past year, make these feelings even stronger. It reminds us of the critical need to do better – to develop future leaders who seek to understand all perspectives, embrace difference, think critically, solve problems creatively and collaboratively, and who truly look out for all.
Love, kindness, tolerance, decency and justice are concepts teachers will need to teach, model and reinforce daily. I have the utmost faith that our teachers will rise to the occasion and care for our next generation as they always have. As I said in my convocation speech, humanity is counting on our young people to make this world a better place; and teachers have been entrusted with the responsibility and honor of making sure our students are prepared to make that happen.
The results of our state elections will make our ground game critically important. Governor Bullock is a great goalie. He has the best interests of all students in mind, but he cannot do what needs to be done for our educational system alone. Unfortunately, this election has left him without what could be considered a comfortable level of support. When the time approaches, we need work to provide that support by involving ourselves in legislative contact. Now, more than ever, we must activate; we must unite!
We are a union that celebrates diversity in identity and celebrates difference in beliefs, views, perspectives and opinions. As union members, we have a very serious mission: to develop ethical, socially-minded, action-oriented leaders of all kinds. Leaders who can truly work together with other leaders to use their diversity to solve complex problems, ranging from poverty to peace – in fundamentally new ways.
Remember. Democracy necessitates continued participation. As with each election, this one is historic; however, it is only a moment in a long history of change. Most certainly, it is only a moment in a long future yet to be shaped and built by you. We all must work to advance the causes we hold close to our hearts. We each must strive to do this important work in a way that truly embraces and engages all others.