There is so much wrong in this life, pain, suffering, inequity, and injustice at every corner. The cornerstone of all that is wrong is less what evil people do, and more about our indifference to the suffering and pain of others.
“Elie Wiesel said: The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”
Dear Teachers, can we love the students we teach, and be silent about racism, homophobia, sexism, White Nationalism, religious bigotry, and xenophobia?
I would argue no, and such kinds of indifferences promote White Supremacy. I am calling indifference out in our public schools, our communities, our neighborhoods, our union halls, our churches, synagogues, temples, and Mosques. This is not the time to silent, this is the time to stand up together, to stand up for one another, change is not indifferent, it is purposeful, bold, and daring.
So, I found myself on my morning walk over the Avon Mountain asking myself...what can one man do? I reflected on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and the legacy of social action he left behind for all of us. I looked back on my the past decade of my activism in this fight for equity and justice for all in our public schools, and my recent role as Moral monday Connecticut's Education Ambassador. This role brings great responsibility, and requires bold actions.
Once, I said I would walk 400 miles to DC to protest the harmful effects of high-stakes testing.
So, I walked in 2010.
Once, I said I would walk 400 miles again to DC to protest the harmful effects of NCLB, RTTT, and ESSA.
So, I walked in 2015.
Now, I am saying it is not enough to walk again. I am going to use my body to make a statement against these evil policies of choice without equity.
I am going to lay my body down in the old ways of those civil rights activist of old. I shall walk into that United States Department of Education Building in DC, and sit down. I shall not be moved.
The question is will I be the only sit in at Betsy DeVos's house of inequity and shame?
My word is my bond.
I am guided by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr tenets of Non-Violent Social change. Martin left us a legacy to guide our steps for social and interpersonal change.
"INFORMATION GATHERING:To understand and articulate an issue, problem or injustice facing a person, community, or institution you must do research. You must investigate and gather all vital information from all sides of the argument or issue so as to increase your understanding of the problem. You must become an expert on your opponent’s position.
EDUCATION: It is essential to inform others, including your opposition, about your issue. This minimizes misunderstandings and gains you support and sympathy.
PERSONAL COMMITMENT: Daily check and affirm your faith in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence. Eliminate hidden motives and prepare yourself to accept suffering, if necessary, in your work for justice.
DISCUSSION/NEGOTIATION: Using grace, humor and intelligence, confront the other party with a list of injustices and a plan for addressing and resolving these injustices. Look for what is positive in every action and statement the opposition makes. Do not seek to humiliate the opponent but to call forth the good in the opponent.
DIRECT ACTION: These are actions taken when the opponent is unwilling to enter into, or remain in, discussion/negotiation. These actions impose a “creative tension” into the conflict, supplying moral pressure on your opponent to work with you in resolving the injustice.
RECONCILIATION: Nonviolence seeks friendship and understanding with the opponent. Nonviolence does not seek to defeat the opponent. Nonviolence is directed against evil systems, forces, oppressive policies, unjust acts, but not against persons. Through reasoned compromise, both sides resolve the injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step close to the ‘Beloved Community."
If I am alone, then I am alone in this action. What matters is one person somewhere stands up somewhere against this evil that reduces Black, Brown, Poor and Special Education children to profit margins and data points.
Get ready for I am returning to DC in 2019 to occupy the United States Department of Education,
Dr. Jesse The Walking Man Turner
|Jesse Turner is a walking Man|
If you want to hear what song inspired my walk over the mountain this spring day...it's Barry Lane singing Jesse Turner is a Walking Man https://barrylane.bandcamp.com/track/jesse-turner-the-walkin-man