I stand 5’6 in my silver ballet flats, soles thin but soul full of force.
I stand because my father taught me how, and my mother, in her own way, showed me why.
I stand for summers of sidewalk chalk and winters of snow angels. For long, barefoot meanders on the beach and for watching midnight meteor showers around the campfire.
I stand for my sisters; for Kaela and Louie. For Relando, Lisa, Zoey, and Yakela. For Saman, Michael, and Micah. For Izzie. For T. I stand for the Justin Howland’s of the world.
I stand on the shoulders of giants; teachers and activists, ever-remembering Mrs. Rouse’s Zero the Hero, the hug from Coretta Scott King, and being cussed out by Maya Angelou for gum-chewing.
I stand tall and try not to slouch, even when I feel I have failed myself and those I care most about, even when the sky casts a dark shadow on my day I make my best effort to pull myself together and move forward.
I stand for an excellent education for all. For inquiry, discovery, and “writing about it”. For a holistic approach and an inclusive environment. For conflict resolution through communication. For aesthetics and kinesthetics, for a classroom team and family.
I stand for honesty, integrity, and justice. For love, hope, and inspiration. For equality and freedom. For peace.
I stand for those who used to stand, those who cannot stand, and those who do not understand the need to stand.
I stand for me and for my children and for my children’s children. But above all else, right here in this and all the moments we share , I stand for YOUR futures, YOUR dreams, YOUR aspirations. For YOU. But you’ve GOT to stand too.