I didn't attend the screening of Teach Us All on September 25th at the National Civil Rights Museum, in my hometown of Memphis, TN. However, I watched it in the privacy of my own home with my daughter and niece. Ten minutes in, my niece was happily asleep, my daughter found a doll to help keep her attention while watching, but my eyes were glued. The entire film grabbed at my spirit and though, at times, I dropped my head as the disheartening truths were revealed. I don't remember blinking, afraid to miss any portion of this very timely and relevant documentary.
I think about my current position as a proposed school leader and how I've had to most recently constantly defend and prove why Memphis needs innovation, why my city needs fresh ideas and why children deserve high-quality options.
A part of me is saddened my same harsh realities are the truths of others throughout this country. Being a former Social Studies and History teacher, I know all too well the story of the Little Rock 9, having taught it to students who I have to admit took very little interest in the story, but learned enough to at least write a page synopsis. Even back then, I wanted them to understand the deeper meaning of such happenings. I wanted them to feel the sacrifice and struggle of these nine brave souls. I found myself reflecting on my own days in a classroom. This documentary would have been on repeat and a semester assignment would have been given to high-schoolers who refused to have any idea as to what roads have been traveled just for them to be able to enter doors with anyone, let alone, one another.
One has to wonder after watching such soul-stirring truth,
- Will we ever get it right?
- How much more struggle will we have the endure just for equity?
- How many of our kids will we lose and/or do a disservice to because of a uniquely-designed system that refuses to teach us all?
Why couldn't this make primetime tv? I'm not sure. Everyone should see this film. Families with and without children, current students, future students, community leaders, clergy, politicians, city officials, etc.
I'm waiting on the town hall meeting to follow. I'm waiting on a national call to action. I think I'm just waiting for schools, school systems, school districts to simply "teach us all!"
As a parent, you fight tirelessly to ensure your child is included. As a community leader, you pray intentionally that all children get the chances they deserve. As a future school leader, you're inspired the more and determined that one day, you'll have the chance to hold the mantle and make the determination that all shall be taught!
The struggle continues