Hey, everyone! It has come to my attention that there are some people who want to know what I said when I was at the Social Circe Board of Education meeting (Thursday, October 15, 2020). For a little background, I spoke addressing the recent statement by the Superintendent, Dr. Hooker, regarding the mascot and I spoke following up an editorial a friend and I wrote for the newspaper. (I’ll post that article to the blog early next week.)
Below is what I said, verbatim.
Thank you to the Board of Education for allowing myself and others to publicly state the truth that the term redskins is derogatory to Native Americans and has a history that is questionable at the least. I appreciate the opportunity to speak and I feel the need to continue to speak. Like Alexander Hamilton via Lin Manuel-Miranda, I’m not throwing my shot.
I have respectfully followed the chain of command and was promised a conversation, an active conversation with both parties present to discuss this matter. I am waiting for this conversation that way we all can move forward, hopefully, with change in mind. There are some minimal changes, nonfinancial changes we can make. For example, removing the terminology from nonessential places, removing the wording on websites, and renaming Redskin period.
Winston Churchill once said, “To improve is to change: to be perfect is to change often.”
We are asking for a conversation that propels us to a potential, eventual positive change. So far within this mascot topic, each side has had the chance to speak. However, there has not been a chance to engage. A conversation is an engagement, there is an exchange of ideas.
In addition, I am asking the BOE and the entire school system to have this conversation and to invest in the social emotional learning component that we said we value.
Again, “To improve is to change: to be perfect is to change often.”
Change is unpredictable and uncomfortable, but it’s those changes that are often the most necessary. For example, I imagine the difficulty of Abraham Lincoln when he penned the Emancipation Proclamation set to be released on the first day of the year 1863. I imagine the discomfort of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act 101 years later on July 2nd 1964.
Change can be costly. But in no way am I trying to break the bank. I don’t know about you but I much rather pay a hundred now then one hundred thousand later. You see, if we fail to make change now, the cost exponentiates. If you look around our nation, it is you and I right now that are paying that 100,000 dollars because the people who became before us did not change, they did not pay that one hundred dollars. It has become our burden to bear.
It is not dealing with change that becomes catastrophic, explosive even.
“To improve is to change: to be perfect is to change often.”
You cannot schedule change. You cannot schedule justice. Unfortunately, it is not always part of a five year plan. But, they are watching.
They, our children, our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, the community, the state, and the nation.
What do they see? Are they watching the way we respectfully disagree? Are they watching us value social justice? Are they watching us have tough conversations?
Or, Do they see us not even having the tough conversations? Do they simply see us valuing tradition over change?
What will we do?
Our 12 year olds, 15 years olds, 18 year olds and even 30-something year olds will look back and reflect on what we did do and what we did not do. And what will they see?
Board Members and Superintendent, this is where you determine what we will see.
Winston Churchill has told us already, Board Members, we need to do: “To improve is to change: to be perfect is to change often.”
No change, no improvement.
On February 21, 2020 our superintendent told the community : “As a community, we must continue to be flexible during these times of uncertainty. This school year we will show the community, the state, and the nation that we are Social Circle Strong because we are #SCCSALLIN.”
Although this was in terms of the medical pandemic that our community faces and that we have met it head on. We can use that same SCCS spirit to face social injustice.
So, we take your charge, Dr. Hooker.
To improve is to change.
We look forward to the conversation.
As it has been said before, I see the mascot as something more than just a “mascot.” It is not only a direct sign, a direct symptom of what is occurring in our school systems, but it is a direct reflection, sign, and symptom of what is occurring in our nation.
So, with that being said, I see this as a movement, not a moment…Movements require endurance. Movements require faith and patience. And honestly, movements require thick skin and ignoring people who only seek to harass, intimidate, and to simply be mean. Movements require a build up of new relationships, starting new conversations, and listening to those who offer constructive criticism.
To put it simply, it (this) has not been easy and there are days I do want to stop (because people can just be so unnecessarily mean and I get frustrated that people can disregard other people and the truth so easily), but I do think it is and it will be worth it. Because this is worth it, I too must continually change because I want to see improvements.
Let’s keep applying pressure together.
MOVEMENTS > MOMENTS