Confusion, disappointment and fear washed over me on election night as I watched my home state of Pennsylvania turn red. But strangely, I also felt a sense of relief. Relief that, as a 24-year-old, I was not yet a mother, that I would not have to wake my son or daughter the next morning with news of a Trump presidency.
But that wasn’t the case for countless parents, like my boss, whose son only the day before waited alongside me in line for six hours to see Hillary’s rally on Independence Mall. With his ‘Dump Trump’ pin worn as a badge of honor, he was energized, like we all were, for an election win.
What would he be told on the car ride to school the next morning? How would the election be explained in his classroom?
The haze that immediately followed the election was cleared by an unlikely source: a teacher on Facebook.
My grief was mirrored on my Facebook newsfeed, but I found comfort in a post of a former high school classmate. My dear friend Natasha, an elementary school teacher at a Philadelphia charter school, was recorded speaking to her students on November 9th. Her voice was steady and clear as she delivered words of power to her students:
“What you have within you will always allow you to rise over bigotry, over hatred, over racism, over sexism. No matter who you encounter, remember… you are light.”
The School District of Philadelphia is one of the most diverse in the nation by race, gender and religion. With a demographic and cultural makeup of those who bore the brunt of attacks by a fear-mongering campaign, I can only imagine the real terror of students as they try to process a country that sided with hate, who elected a future that intentionally excluded them.
Teaching. The only truly revolutionary act.
With our children’s future in their hands, the responsibility of teachers extends beyond shaping young hearts and minds, exemplifying right from wrong, and providing comfort in times of need.
In the wake of the election, I could not be more proud to continue Mighty Engine’s work with The Fellowship, a coalition working steadily to increase and retain highly-effective Black male educators in the School District of Philadelphia. A cause that will not only support the unique needs of Black students, but benefit all children.
Effective branding does not redefine an organization, but affirms an underlying truth. In our work, shifting the Fellowship: Black Male Educators Convening to The Fellowship: Black Male Educators for Social Justice, Mighty Engine exposed a truth known among wise educators, that teaching is revolutionary.
Teaching is not only calling, but potentially a profound act of social good. A stand for justice that we all need in times like these.