One of my proudest moments as a public education advocate was being on stage for the Rally for Respect on May 16th 2018. My speech was entitled: A Reason to Rally. I still can’t believe that I was there. It was exhilarating and I was honored to speak. The rally seems like it happened so long ago as we are inundated with political ads, calls to volunteer, and the stress of our everyday lives. Perhaps now what is needed is a reason to vote.
My reason to vote this year, is our public schools. On May 16th, I marched with our North Carolina teachers and their allies. There was a power and aura around us even in the hot muggy weather. The sea of red was endless, and I remember cheers ringing out every time another bus passed. I felt a part of something. I looked at my eight year old, and I knew that all those who marched the streets truly cared about the quality of his education. I don’t know if he felt loved that day, but as a parent I felt the love.
As I finally wove around the state capital I started getting hugs from those I knew. Even in the amazing crowd, I saw so many familiar faces. I hugged a Wake County Commissioner. Only a week before, I nervously spoke in front of them. That day we were one. I looked for my son’s own school, but we quickly realized how difficult that might be. I got a text that they had made it inside the General Assembly. I beamed a bit with pride. My school.
As I finally approached the legislative building, my favorite chant began again, “This is What Democracy Looks Like” I looked around me at the sea of red and I felt a few tears on my cheek. It is the first time that I really heard the words and felt the truth of it deep inside me.
So when you step into the voting line. Picture a sea of red. Visualize all the signs and marchers headed for our legislature. They are there with you. They are cheering on every voter seeking a better North Carolina. It is a democracy so you never vote alone. As you fill in your bubbles I hope you hear the chant, “This is What Democracy Looks Like”