White people are in a position of power in this country because of racism. The question is: Are they brave enough to use that power to speak against the system that gave it to them?That’s a challenge I accept. I will deeply question not only my personal beliefs, but those part of our system and culture that reinforce stereotypes, perpetuate injustice and accept violence as “just the way things are.” I will use my White privilege to speak to those who need to be challenged by someone who looks like them in order to see the truth of institutional racism. The discomfort that comes from these conversations and actions is nothing compared to the pain of burying another father, husband, uncle or son. Martin Luther King, Jr. admonished:
In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.To Ms. Fennell's scholars, and to all our students, I promise...Your teacher is "woke" and I won’t be silent.
Maddie Fennell, NBCT, has been an elementary teacher in the Omaha Public Schools for 27 years, teaching in first, fourth and sixth grades and mentoring her peers as a literacy coach. She was honored as the Nebraska Teacher of the Year in 2007. This year she is on special assignment to the National Education Association as a Teacher Fellow. Prior to this position, Maddie completed a three-year assignment to the U.S. Department of Education as a Teacher Leader in Residence in the Office of the Secretary and as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow. She is currently serving as Secretary of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year and as a teacher representative on the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution Education Reimagined Project.
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