Another year of Netroots Nation! Lily joined thousands of bloggers, activists and organizers interested in building a more inclusive, diverse and progressive democracy. Supporting a quality public education is key to a strong middle class and a more equal and just nation. Here are some of the behind the scenes moments of a gathering to remember.
Were you at Netroots Nation? Share your impressions with us!
Lily Eskelsen with author and blogger (PunditMom) Joanne Bamberger
Lily on the Engaging Progressives in the Fight for Public Education panel
Josh is eight years old in third grade in his public school here in fabulous New York City. He thinks I look like a desperate housewife.
I don’t watch the show, so I have no idea if that’s a compliment or not. But he came to the New York Public Library’s kick-off event for NEA’s Read Across America sponsored by our faithful partner, Target, and he was told he was going to see movie stars.
NEA's Read Across America Launch Event at the New York Public Library (AP)
He met Mark Ruffalo (an actor up for an Academy Award and an ardent activist for clean water who passionately read The Lorax to Josh and about 200 of his school mates). He met Uma Thurman, an actor who faithfully reads her children to sleep.
He met rap artists and singers and authors who have large followings of fans. So when he saw me, he ran up to me and said with eyes shining, “I know I’ve seen you on TV! What’s your show?”
Christina Green was nine years old. She was born on a hateful day, September 11, 2001, the day the Twin Towers fell. She died on a hateful day when a man opened fire at a crowd gathered in a Tucson parking lot to meet their Congresswoman.
I just attended a program to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that the National Education Association has held for our staff in our auditorium in the basement each year for over twenty years.
Nine year old children danced and played the drums and recited stirring, inspirational words for us. And we applauded and cried and laughed and encouraged.
We are an education union, and we like having children remind us who’s ultimately counting on us to do the right thing.
Dr. King was killed by hate on a hateful day. And yet in that hour’s program, there was nothing but joy. Gorgeous children of every race and color stood before us, proud of their talents and nervous and wiggling and excited. They made us feel young. They made us open our hearts and take them in and love them.
There is a connection between Dr. King and Christina. But hate is not it. Their death by hate and violence is not their common denominator. They are connected by the love that surrounded their lives. Love is their power.
The producer of Waiting for Superman says he didn’t mean to imply that all Charter Schools were better than all Public Schools. He failed. That’s exactly what he seems to be saying.
But public school teachers and support staff are used to politicians and pundits ignoring their voices. Why would a movie director who needed a simple story of good guys and bad guys be any different?
If only he had asked us, “Show me something that works,” we could have shown him a story worth telling. There are so many Clark Kent heroes who are specifically focused on immigrant communities and the success of Latino and other students of color.
I would have loved to have shown him Las Vegas. It would have been a different movie if he had seen how the Clark County Education Association is working with their superintendent and school board on school empowerment projects. They are transforming public schools with the radical notion that when you bring the school community together to discuss what’s working and what has to change, they will be creative problem solvers.