Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Why did I join Stand for Children Indiana? Growing up in a low-income, poverty-stricken, crime-infested community, I considered myself lucky to have the opportunity to receive a good education. The bus rides to Perry Township schools were long and tiring. Sitting in classes where I was a minority felt awkward, but that did not matter because I was receiving a good education-unlike my colleagues attending IPS schools at that time, such as IPS 37, IPS 69, Arsenal Technical High School or Broad Ripple. I went on to obtain my undergraduate degree from Ball State University, and later, my graduate degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. I was happy to make it out of my neighborhood.
As life would have it, I moved back to my neighborhood only to discover busing to Perry Township schools had ceased. IPS 37 is no longer a school. But, other area schools showed signs of hopelessness just like the surrounding community. There are more abandoned houses and hopeless people. As I reflect on my childhood growing up, the community wasn't as bad as I made it out to be. You see, even though our neighborhood was considered low-income, we were strong as a community. There was school pride, friendly school rivalry and when we went skating, or even out into the community, I could see the togetherness my IPS colleagues had. Some of my colleagues went on to attend colleges and universities and become great leaders in the community and areas surrounding Indianapolis.
After seeing the many challenges in my community and similar communities like mine, joining Stand for Children has allowed my voice and concern for better education for all children to be heard by the Superintendent, legislators, our community and for our children. I love and care about my community and seeing IPS become stronger than ever. As a Stand member, I stand united with hundreds of other parents who want to see our children succeed, better communities, and for our government to provide more funding and better laws to give our educators the flexibility to make our community and schools great again. I love our kids, I love our communities, and I love Stand. I believe we can have great communities if we have great schools. I will continue to champion with other parents for our kids and educators during this great movement for better schools because education matters. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The ultimate test of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and moments of controversy.”
Tell me, where do you stand?