Educator and citizen explains how to induce change
Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world,” a quote that hung in my classroom for 20 years.
Saturday, Jan. 21 marked, for me and for many others, a chance to do just that. The Women’s March, Wooster version, took place on the square in downtown Wooster involving around 500 women, men and children from our area.
While I would have loved to have been in DC, maybe it was even more important to be here, where I could join with the voices of my friends and neighbors to bring about local change.
Indeed, one of the primary lessons I have learned, in my first year as an elected official, is that all politics are local. I cannot be sure my voice is directly heard in Washington, or even Columbus (though that does not stop me from trying), but I do know that I will be heard at home.
I regret not having addressed the crowd that Saturday, but here is what I would have said: Commit! Commit to the mission that is important to you and give it your whole heart. Commit to making Wooster the best, safest, most welcoming community to live in. Commit to making your voice heard. Attend Council meetings, Commissioners’ meetings, and, for Heaven’s sake, School Board meetings. And speak up! Ask questions! Hold your representatives accountable for actions that harm or delay or ignore the furtherance of your mission. These elected officials are beholden to you, the voters. It is not their right to base their decisions on only what they know—they must hear from you. Commit to a group that is energized to see radical change. And commit to one another. What is one person’t mission is not always going to be that of another: that’s OK. Support the efforts that are made to make us all better, without judgement or prejudice. Know that we all have a job to do and cheer one another on. Commit to creating a community unmarred by prejudice, racism, misogyny, or hatred. Commit to living your beliefs. We will all be better off for it.