On the eve of America’s 244th birthday, the critically acclaimed play, “Hamilton,” debuted on Disney+, making the cultural touchstone available to millions in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
As leaders of color of charter public schools in the Commonwealth, we have worked tirelessly to “be in the room where it happens,” as Alexander Hamilton’s character famously proclaimed.
Concisely stated, our commitment to closing the achievement and opportunity gaps for children of color—and to be the change we want to see in the world—has positioned us to impact educational policy for our students, families and communities where our schools are located and where we live.
In our private lives we are spouses, parents, faith leaders, military veterans, entrepreneurs, change agents and more. In our professional lives, we are educators, leaders, unifiers, mountain movers, standard bearers and more. We are also voters who unequivocally believe in:
- A diverse democracy wherein K-12 students are equipped to develop civic competencies to fully engage in the democratic process at all levels.
- Excellent and equitable education for all children, especially Black and brown children.
- Culturally responsive pedagogy.
- A student’s Zip Code should not determine their educational potential.
- Social and emotional supports for students and staff
- Black and Brown Lives do Matter.
- The acknowledgment that structural, systematic and institutional racism threatens the moral fabric of our nation.
- The notion that “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”—Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- The fact that economic, environmental, health and social justice delayed is justice denied
- The maxim that our voice is our vote.
Make no mistake about it: America is on the eve of another important milestone in our nation’s history—the 2020 Election. We believe that the aforementioned issues are also on the ballot on Tuesday, November 3, and we are not “throwing away” our shot to keep them at the center of public discourse. We implore our families, our students of voting age, communities and all registered voters in the Commonwealth to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming election and always.
As Hamilton’s character said, “It’s time to take a shot / Rise up, rise up / It’s time to take a shot.” Make your voice heard by voting on November 3. Vote early. Vote absentee, if necessary. Vote in-person, if it’s safe to do so. Whatever you do, do not “throw away your shot.” Rise up and vote!
Massachusetts Charter Public School Leaders of Color:
Rhonda “Nikki” Barnes
Timothy L. Sneed
Kevin T. Taylor