This weekend the New York Post included me in an article about a groundswell of discontent by parents in how schools teach children about race. But, for me, the issue of ideology butting heads with education is only one part of a bigger story about how we must approach solving so many of today’s problems.
In 2018, as part of my work on the Community Education Council, I chose to advocate for the SHSAT. This entry test to our city’s top selective high schools was under attack and a larger discussion around diversity ensued and became heated. It’s a conversation I welcomed then and continue to welcome now.
But my public comments and opinions were suddenly under vicious attack. As a mom, a public defender, an elected public school council member and, now, a candidate for city council, I wasn’t deterred but I often felt alone.
Now, there are more people speaking up and that is heartening, but something has changed in our society. And not for the better.
The American liberalism so many of us take for granted, founded on principles of free speech, free thought and viewpoint diversity, is endangered. It’s being replaced by a narrow dogma, enforced by a rabid band of thought police who crush anyone who dares to express a differing opinion by shaming them and silencing them.
Our democracy depends on all of us having the right to speak up—and to do so without fear. But it’s at grave risk. Let’s look at where we are right now in NYC:
➡️ If you fight for opening schools, you are publicly shamed as ‘entitled’
➡️ If you believe in specialized high schools or gifted & talented program you are vilified as ‘elitist’ (or worse)
➡️ If you believe that skyscraper jails are not justice or that building them over dense, struggling communities is ill-conceived, you are not ‘progressive’
➡️ If you believe in protecting our children from guns and violence on the streets with better policing, you are ‘against social justice’
What I am about is common-sense and dialogue. I’m making tough decisions. And I’m for action not ideology. I believe that our communities want the same things: safe, clean streets, excellent education, a recovery from the pandemic and a return to a time when offering ideas and speaking up for what you believe doesn’t mean vile insults and threats.
I will continue to speak up for common sense, and for my community. I hope you will, too.