Luna, the Albino Gator…I Kid You Not

by Ilinap on July 30, 2014



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People seem to think I’m in the minority. They think people only advocate for issues that affect them directly. I speak up for causes that don’t necessarily touch me directly but are important to me nonetheless. I guess most people only have the time, energy, and wherewithal to support issues that affect them personally. I don’t fall into that broad swipe, and the many advocates who speak up and out alongside me fall into my camp. Do people generally only care about issues that impact them in the here and now? Do you only take a stand when you stand to benefit? We must make define our priorities so no judgement here. But I am curious about what tips the scale to make you get up on your soapbox? The web of local, state, and national issues is tangled, and the intersections are vast. This statement rings true when it comes to public education in particular.

What motivates you to take a stand on educational issues (at any level)?

It’s no secret that I care a lot about public education. Granted, I have two sons in public school. My oldest is about to start middle school…egads! Even before I had kids I valued public education and cared deeply about kids. Glorious teachers graced my years in school, and I keep in touch with many of them to this day. It’s not hyperbole to say that teachers make the world go ’round. It’s maddening that I live in a state that does not value public education, and teachers are fleeing and hurting.

In all my advocacy I reiterate that I am not just speaking for my own sons. When I step up on my soapbox it is for all kids, for families, for teachers, for my community. I have spoken at school board meetings, written letters to the editor, lobbied my elected representatives, leveraged digital media, given speeches at press conferences, protested, marched, and then some. In every instance the issues I lend my voice to are not just to benefit my own sons. Truth be told, they will be fine regardless their school. They will be fine because of their station in life. They have educated parents and want for nothing. My advocacy and my voice are for causes that tug at my heart. I suppose you could say my own sons enjoy a more productive education experience when their classmates are fed and healthy. But I don’t support Backpack Buddies and the food bank for that reason. Maybe it’s semantics — byproduct versus motivation. 

My point is this: I support my community. Period. Sure, my family and I are obviously part of said community so we stand to benefit from any advocacy work. Education’s ripple effects are infinite. Do we not all want an educated populace? After all, the curious children of today are the productive citizens of tomorrow. That cycle doesn’t end. Ever. 

Public education is the cornerstone of a stable, productive society so it behooves us all to step up on a soapbox and rally for education, whether we have children in school or not. 



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