To My Second Grade Class:
Four years ago, my heart broke as I looked into your faces full of fear and frustration and anger. Today, my eyes swell with tears of joy and my heart beats with a new found hope. There is still so much work to do, but at least we can say that we’ve taken a step in the right direction.
To my second grade class:
Four years ago, we learned about presidential elections and the importance of voting. Together, we researched the candidates and voiced our opinions and cast our votes. We celebrated our classroom victory and went home feeling confident in our decision, but we returned in disbelief.
Four years ago, my heart broke as I looked into your faces full of fear and frustration and anger. Fear for your families, whose future in this country suddenly seemed so uncertain. Frustration that your voices had not been heard. Anger that such ideals could prevail. I’d wanted to reassure you, to remind you that systems had been built to protect us from the whims of tyrants, that one voice couldn’t decide your fate. But even as I attempted to comfort you, I’ll admit I was struggling to contain my own shock and disappointment.
If I’m honest, the past four years have filled me with doubt and cynicism. I’ve spent them watching our president make a mockery of our democracy, the same one we held so highly in our studies. I’ve watched him incite hate and violence. I underestimated the amount of hate in our country. I’ve been disheartened by the polarization all around us.
But today, I’m thinking of you again. Today, my eyes swell with tears of joy and my heart beats with a new found hope. We survived these past four years. Despite the turmoil. Despite the chaos. This groundbreaking election has paved a way forward. For the first time, so many of us will see representation in the white house: a black woman, the daughter of immigrants. And with that, the possibilities feel endless.
Over the weekend, Kamala Harris, our Vice President-elect, accepted her new role with dignity and grace. Her words resonated with me and I want to echo them here for you:
“Dream with ambition. Lead with conviction, and see yourselves in a way that others may not – simply because they’ve never seen it before. But know that I will applaud you every step of the way.”
There is still so much work to do, but at least we can say that we’ve taken a step in the right direction. Now, I can believe in the possibilities ahead of us. I can believe that progress is possible.
I love you all. Remember that change can happen - please be a part of it! Make your voice heard and speak up for those who have been silenced. I will continue to fight for you.