I have worked in the background my entire professional career; satisfied with providing support to elected officials or community leaders in whom I placed great confidence. But if I’m honest with myself, working to amplify other’s voices and values instead of my own was entirely out of fear. For it was clear to me the costs of owning your truth and sharing it publicly. I’ve witnessed consequences others have paid. Eventually, I would experience my fair share. The price is uncomfortable for some and disastrous for others, but there’s something comforting about knowing you did something difficult for the greatest good. There is safety in serving your brothers and sisters, no matter what.
Education has been my bailiwick all of my adult life but like a good little Black girl, I toed the political lines for two decades. Only saying what was required in order to keep my job and protect my reputation as safe and nonconfrontational. Of course, much of that behavior is due to being a Black woman in a world that first ignores us then penalizes us once we are recognized, but a portion of that was just cowardice.
At this point in my life, I no longer worry about the personal consequences of calling out our community for caring more about soccer than literacy or supporting a bazillion dollar transit plan when our city needs housing that poor people can actually afford — which is different than the disingenuous moniker “affordable housing”. However, I’d be dishonest if I didn’t acknowledge feeling a sense of loneliness on some issues. It’s disheartening to witness movements that blatantly ignore the plight of children and marginalized families only to realize that most people truly do not care.
But I will continue on this path because as the great Oprah stated in her Cecil D. DeMille Lifetime Achievement award acceptance speech at the 2018 Golden Globes:
Check out my interview with Ben Eagles, host of the Nashville Sounding Board (@Nashsoundboard) podcast. Ben asks tough questions about segregated schools, Nashville’s transit plan, the effect of growth and development on schools, and much more. I try to offer a little perspective on big issues. Ben was generous with the final production — editing out the rambling and lively words. Thank you, Ben.