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One Today, Starting Now

Like so many of us from Teach For America and all over education, my manager didn't start of dreaming of teaching children, arranging centers or discussing student assessments. He wanted to be a poet, he earned a Masters in African Studies from Cornell, and he tried for a Fulbright to Africa. Then he joined Teach For America. And over the past decade, as classroom teacher, school principal and trainer of new TFA teachers, he hasn't left education or the fight to close the achievement gap. That doesn't mean he hasn't left social justice work or poetry.

This is a piece he wrote to kick our teachers off to the new school year back in August. But I can't think of any better words to commemorate this magical and awe-inspiring time for our children and for ourselves. More thoughts on MLK Jr. Day and Inauguration to come. In the meantime, here's to hope.

“No Day, One Day, Some Day Real Soon”
by MenSa Ankh Maa
Sam Cooke sings “A Change Is Gonna Come” in my memory as now, we prepare for what will be the first day of the rest of our lives; both for us and our children in the DC Region.

No day, one day, some day real soon.

No day: When the very laws of this nation stand in direct contradiction to our founding principles.
No day, slavery.
No day, genocide.
No day, segregation.
No day, immigration laws.
No day, Plessy Vs. Ferguson.
No day, Rodney King, Abner Louima, Amadou Diallo, DeAunta Farrow.
No day, the legal oppression of women.

No day, one day, some day real soon.

One day: Visions of what could be, but has never been.
Strides toward freedom, but the finish line of the race keeps changing, as do the rules of engagement.

One day, when the nine brave students of Little Rock, willingly laid their lives on the line so Black and White children could go to the same schools with the same resources.
One day, when Wendy Kopp had a vision that all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.
One day, when a school chancellor had the courage to take on a union that did not serve the children and families who paid their salaries.

No day, one day, some day real soon.

“Some day real soon” is the hope and faith in what can be, but never was.
Some day real soon, when all of us can proudly claim this nation as ours without remorse or feeling like a hypocrite.

Some day real soon, we may not only have a Black president, but one who will radically change the status quo of politricks in this nation.
Some day real soon, the test scores of children in Congress Heights or Anacostia will beat the pants off many students in private schools in Georgetown.
Some day real soon, capitalism will be turned on its head as students of all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds have the knowledge and skills to be competitive in a global market.
Some day real soon, our vision will align with the priorities of this nation and we will all believe in every child’s potential.
Some day real soon.

But today is all we have. Today we remember what has brought us here and chart a course for where we need to go. Today we act on our faith and put much of the world on our backs.

Today we teach.

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