cabinet · education · student activism · Toomey · xenophobia

Action Day 12*: Partner with students who want to enact democracy.

*Special success day!

I reached out to some fellow students who have been at recent marches, asking if they’d like to join me in my daily action practice. Only two of these were my students — two young women who were in D.C. — because I do not want my own students to feel compelled toward partisan action of any particular flavor beyond “justice.” The not-editorializing about specific party affiliation in my classroom is what enables me to keep everyone in relationship.

(Try this as you read 1984 with freshmen, by the way. We had to bring in the actual names — Spicer, Conway — and the actual fiction — “alternative facts” — for that one.)

Two students on the original list, and two more that they invited came to join me in Gummere Library. They had three choices: phone calls, postcards or emails.

“I want to call. I want to tell some people what my point of view is,” said one student.

And this is why the children are the future. It took me a week to stretch beyond Facebook posts and safe BCC emails and other non-person-to-person contacts. This student was strong and steady in voicing her viewpoint on Daley’s voicemail — no stammering or wavering, just strong, proud assertion.

One student’s call, an opposition to DeVos, made its way through to Pat Toomey’s office at this critical time.

“He was RUDE,” the student said.

“Yeah.” I said. “They’re tallying, and they have been doing it for days straight. It is not fun for them right now.”

Another student left a voicemail regarding the Muslim ban for Senator Casey. The two students leaving their viewpoints by phone live outside of Philadelphia area codes, which is part of a great win here. They are retracing what I’ve done earlier this week, but from different parts of Pennsylvania.

Two other students completed postcards, and took more with them.

So my daily action turned into about ten actions, and spread out over a much larger geographical area. And I felt so much better being with them and seeing their focus and drive to make things right again.

And that, my friends, is the power of the people.


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