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Is America Great Again?

  • 1.  Is America Great Again?

    Posted 05-31-2020 05:40 PM

    Is America Great Again?

     

    My husband and I closed our business two and half months ago because we thought it was necessary to keep the staff, children and families in our preschool safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. We were concerned about our 200 low-income children of color and their families.  How will they eat? How will families pay their rent? How will children continue to learn? How will families survive the pandemic with all the challenges they already face?  We worried if we would lose our business permanently.  We worried that we might need to lay individuals off.  Despite these worries, which consumed us day and night, we worked to do our best for our staff, families and children.  Our goal was to ensure the safety of our staff, children and families.

    Despite our best efforts, I found myself saddened by America during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Disgusted, because the pandemic and those infected by the pandemic shed a light on the inequity of African-Americans and poor people in this country. My sadness turned to disappointment and anger with the recent racial attacks that have emerged that resulted in the murder of African-Americans in America during the pandemic.

    What is great about an America, where many poor people are forced to go to work while they are sick during the pandemic?

    What is great about an America where Amy Cooper, a white woman, can call 911 and make a false claim against an innocent black man in Central Park while he bird watches?

    What is great about an America in which a young African-America woman, Breonna Taylor, is murdered by police officers in error at 1 a.m. in the morning?

    What is great about America where a black man, Ahmaud Arbery, can be murdered by white men, while jogging?

    What is great about an America where a black man, George Floyd, can be murdered in broad daylight, by an officer who is supposed to protect and serve?

    What is great about an America in which the President threatens protesters with vicious dogs and calls protestors thugs?

    My anger and disappointment turned to hopelessness, when I watched the murder of George Floyd by a white officer and I watched as innocent bystanders pleaded with the officer to get off his neck but they were unable to do anything additional to save his life because they knew that they may have had their own lives compromised.

    This is not a great America. This is not a safe America. Even during the pandemic the lives of African-Americans are undervalued. People have a right to be angry about the racism that exists in this country.  People have a right to peacefully protest. People have a right to express their disdain for a president who has shown no respect for African-Americans and other groups for that matter. 

    So, our worries continue. As we continue to try keep our businesses afloat, as we begin the process of reopening, as we continue to try to support families, staff and children, as we continue to try to explain these senseless murders to our teenager daughters, we must also continue to speak loudly about the injustice that is taking the very lives of the African-American men and women who look like us and our brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. We must continue to develop ways to unequivocally denounce and hold accountable the racist behavior of law enforcement, political leaders and citizens of this country who do not care about African-Americans and people of color.

    Racism is very much alive and we must model the world we want our children to experience.  If we want a better America, we need to begin with better leadership in this country. We need a better leadership in the White House. This is not a great America! America has not been made great.  America has and continues to be destroyed.

    Defeating racism will require a collective effort that crosses political parties, religion, gender, ethnic backgrounds and age. It will require a boldness and courage from all individuals about these issues.  It will require an investment rooted in hard work dedicated to fighting for change. It will not be easy. This fight against racism must be continuous.  It cannot begin and end only when national issues of injustice surfaces to the forefront.  We have injustice in the communities in which we work and where we live.  This injustice is masked in policies, practices and systems designed by individuals who for years have contributed to the destruction of African-Americans, poor people and people of color.

    We will not conquer racism by looting, killing each other or by destroying property. We must vote. We must stand together to fight for change. We must be the voice of those who everyday experience racism and who are not given the time of day because they are poor, do not speak English, do not speak the way people want them to speak or who are oblivious of their rights and how to fight for them. 

    We must not give up on a better America. We must not throw in the towel.  We must not simply look at our TV screens and weep.  We must not develop an anger that turns into revenge. We must stop making excuses and no longer support individuals like the mayor of Petal, Mississippi, who stated in a response to Floyd's murder, he didn't see any "unreasonable" conduct from the officers, adding: "If you can say you can't breathe, you're breathing" and  "Most likely that man died of an overdose or heart attack." 

    We owe it to ourselves, our children, both biological, in our preschools and throughout this country, to be the America that we can be. An America where all people experience liberty and justice.  It's up to us to be the change we want to see. 

    It's a matter of life and death.

     

    Optimistic Toward a Better Today and Tomorrow,

    Monisha Gibson



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    Monisha Gibson
    C.E.O. /Founder
    Odyssey Learning Inc.
    Trumbull CT
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-02-2020 02:40 AM
    I agree with you, Monisha.  It is not enough to just get angry,  We need to do something.  It is understandable that we are sad and outraged; but, we do need to speak up for what is right and definitely vote for what we believe in.  We can all do our part to bring equity to America.

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    Lynn Arner
    Early Learning Specialist
    Early Years
    Woodland CA
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  • 3.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-02-2020 07:07 AM
    Thank you, Monisha
    Workshop Way Preschool in Powhatan, Virginia.

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    Maureen Carroll
    Administrator
    Workshop Way Preschool
    Powhatan VA
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  • 4.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-02-2020 07:57 AM
    Thank you, Monisha, for your articulate comments and questions.  I, too, weep and rage and demonstrate and donate.  Nothing seems like enough.  White allies need to educate ourselves and others and support the people of color around us, right now especially Black people of color.

    We need to redefine violence as racism, poverty, inequality, oppression.  We are seeing people pushed to the edge by repeated, systematic violence done to them. I don't condone violent demonstrations but I understand it.  When Black people protest peacefully they are still denigrated and told they are wrong.  Take a knee?  Wrong.  March peacefully with Black Lives Matter banners?  Wrong.  Block traffic with a demonstration against inequity?  Wrong. (While those carrying assault rifles and marching into capitol buildings or blocking traffic to protest quarantine rules during Covid19 are allowed to break the law without punishment).  Too many White people can't tolerate Black people calling out injustice.  Too many White people are invested in keeping systemic racism alive as the engine that has provided them with their own prosperity or their own ability to walk through the world safely.

    I believe that many of our current leaders are gloating over protests turned violent; some witnesses say the violence has been incited by white agitators supported by white supremacist organizations.

    We must do all we can to take the power away from those who have been setting up our country to have this conflict. Please vote.

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    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
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  • 5.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-03-2020 11:58 AM
    Thank you for lifting the words I've struggled to form, beyond my weary tears and uncontrollable rage. Thank you for keeping us focused on the who, why and when. Thank you for taking time from your loved ones to share your thoughts. I ask that our allies who care to be an agent of change, get honest and be brave this is going to require both. I'd also like to offer two quotes that have kept me balanced.

      "Nothing could be counted on in a world where even when you were a solution you were a problem."Toni Morrison 
    "Our uniqueness, our individuality, and our life experience molds us into fascinating beings. I pray we may all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. We are all in this life together." - Linda Thompson 


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    Ingrid Bentil
    Director of Professional Development
    CMCS
    White Plains NY
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  • 6.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-04-2020 08:27 AM
    Ingrid:
    I found the Toni Morrison quote so powerful and telling. It gave me chills.  "...even when you were a solution you were a problem."   Wow.  That sums up what so many go through in this country.  Thank you for posting it.





    Ingrid wrote:
    Thank you for lifting the words I've struggled to form, beyond my weary tears and uncontrollable rage. Thank you for keeping us focused on the who, why and when. Thank you for taking time from your loved ones to share your thoughts. I ask that our allies who care to be an agent of change, get honest and be brave this is going to require both. I'd also like to offer two quotes that have kept me balanced.

      "Nothing could be counted on in a world where even when you were a solution you were a problem."Toni Morrison 
    "Our uniqueness, our individuality, and our life experience molds us into fascinating beings. I pray we may all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. We are all in this life together." - Linda Thompson 


    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-02-2020 08:20 AM
    Monisha,

    That was very eloquently and beautifully said.  More people need to read it.  Thank you for saying what needs to be said.

    Lori O'Hara
    Lancaster, Ohio

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    Lori O'Hara
    Education Coordinator
    Lancaster OH
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  • 8.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-02-2020 08:41 AM
    Thank you Monisha.

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    Cindy Hoisington
    Education Development Center
    Holbrook MA
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  • 9.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-02-2020 08:55 AM
    Thank you, Monisha. It is so easy to see and hear everything and just throw in the towel. It's harder to keep going, to keep persevering. Thank you for reminding us not to give up hope, and to keep fighting for a better today and tomorrow. Thank you, again.

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    Kristen Carlson
    Quality Improvement Specialist
    Great Start to Quality
    Ishpeming MI
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  • 10.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-02-2020 08:58 AM
    Yes!

    I feel this so much. My center provides care for single moms and their children, and we have been closed since March. It's been hard to hear from our families that they haven't been able to work because our center is closed...our center is a pillar offering of our program and is very much missed during this time.

    You are so right when you say that the pandemic has only magnified the need for different systems in this country. We have our priorities all mixed up. We should be a country that protects its people no matter the circumstance, but we are not and events as of late have made that very obvious.

    All we can do is speak up and keep fighting for what is right.

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    Kristin Nelson
    Child Development Center Director
    Jeremiah Program
    Fargo ND
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  • 11.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-02-2020 09:01 AM
    Hi Monisha,
    I agree with you. Something must be done to stop these injustices. We must all do our part and vote out people who perpetuate the racism. But we need to do more. We need to speak up in our every day lives against the racist remarks and actions that many people see as just words and freedom of speech. I find myself speaking up against these kinds of comments within my own community and losing friendships because I do not want to be a part of continued racist words and actions that some believe are fine if the people of a different color or sexual orientation are not around. I refuse to be a party to it no matter who is around and make sure that I speak up against what is being said before I leave.


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    Deborah Lambert
    Salem OR
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  • 12.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-02-2020 09:45 AM
    Thank you Monisha. We have a lot of work ahead of us and I join you in that commitment.

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    Beth Menninga
    St. Paul, MN
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  • 13.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-02-2020 10:25 PM
    Thank you Elizabeth to your committment to equity.  We can win this by working together!

    ------------------------------
    Monisha Gibson
    C.E.O. /Founder
    Odyssey Learning Inc.
    Trumbull CT
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-02-2020 11:31 AM
    Well said Monisha Gibson. Thank you for writing and sharing your post.

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    Lisa Stocksleger
    Des Moines IA
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  • 15.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-02-2020 11:48 AM
    Thank you, Monisha.

    I am hoping that the destruction of property that has occurred will not be used as an excuse to diminish the reasons for all these protests. All over the world, there are protests in support of the situation here.

    I am truly scared for all of us if our government does not stop fanning the flames of division and hatred and begin to do what needs to be done in this dire situation.

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    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
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  • 16.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-02-2020 04:22 PM
    Monisha,
    Thank you for your witness. It is all so incredibly saddening and depressing and can lead to such hopelessness. I encourage everyone to reach out and support organizations that are challenging racism, locally and nationally, (including NAEYC). If you can, support them financially; If you can, support with your work.  Get involved. My friendships and work through a local and national organizing network, and being with people who are actively trying to change the world, is what brings me hope. I wish the best to your family and your business.
    Lisa

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    Lisa Thompson
    Early Childhood Advocate
    St. Louis, Missouri
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  • 17.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-03-2020 08:05 AM
    Monisha - A poignant reminder that we cannot simply talk the talk, let's walk the walk together. I'm learning that we have to be active about raising anti-racist children. Thank you Ibram Kendi for writing How To Be an Anti-Racist for me and for your soon to be released Anti-Racist Baby.

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    Leslie Silk Eslinger
    Director of Education and Development
    Becker's School Supplies
    Pennsauken, NJ
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  • 18.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-03-2020 04:51 PM
    Thank You ,
    Let's all remember to VOTE ,VOTE, VOTE!! and encourage everyone around us to do so.

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    Rostyslava Stoecker
    Colorado Spgs CO
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  • 19.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-04-2020 08:16 AM
    So beautifully said, Monisha. I echo the sentiments of the others who have responded to your post. As early childhood folks, we are creative, energetic people who are used to challenges. Let's make the commitment to engage in peaceful social activism or advocacy and encourage our families and friends to vote. After reading your post and the responses, I have now decided to join a rally in my area scheduled for tomorrow and I will be making lawn signs for neighbors that say:
                      BLM
    Safe, Equal, Important, Valued!


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    Janis Strasser
    Professor
    William Paterson University
    Ridgewood NJ
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  • 20.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-04-2020 09:11 AM
    Thank you Monisha.

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    Ingrid Justice
    Director of Marketing and Communications
    HighScope Educational Research Foundation
    Ypsilanti MI
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  • 21.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 06-05-2020 12:36 AM

    Well Said -

    How can America be great if we can't take the time to understand all the people who make up America.


    I encourage people that haven't to read the words to the national Anthem and compare it to what we see happening in our Great America and tell me is is great! 


    I really hope and pray that our current state is a wake up call and we are able to put in place laws of equality and a system of change!

    Thank you , Monisha

    I really appreciate your honesty. 



    ------------------------------
    Georgia Wallace
    Owner/Operator
    Happy & Learning Child Development Center ,LLC
    Milwaukee WI
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  • 22.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 28 days ago
    Georgia,

    Hello.  I am grateful for your post.  Thank you for your thought provoking words.  Let's look forward to change.


    Brenda Altieri
    North Hollywood, CA

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    Brenda Altieri
    North Hollywood CA
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  • 23.  RE: Is America Great Again?

    Posted 30 days ago

    Monisha,
    I appreciate your well presented and articulated statement about the question that needs great dissection...is American great again? That would depend on who's narrative we are subscribing to. I would say it's questionable for the African American community to ever say great again...considering the inequalities that still exist present day it is safe say we still have far to go. 


    I think tapping into the lens of great leaders like Malcolm X and MLK we now know that the inequalities experienced by people of color and poverty as a whole for this country we can see that America possible has only been great to an extent....a debatable extent.

    What is promising is now that we are in the climate of uncertainty and paused routines we now have the opportunity to make a change without the high demands of work...well at least not the physical demand of being in an professional setting now we are at home and there is some flexibility.

    Peace and Love to you! I send positive energy and support your way! 



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    Denise Bowman
    Pasadena CA
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