I had a dream in the wee hours of this Labor Day morning that President Obama gave a speech for all of the students of America. Only, none of the predominantly White Schools tuned in. However, in every single school where there is a predominance of children of color, teachers stopped and administrators stopped and students stopped what they were doing and watched the President’s speech.
I dreamed that while the predominantly White schools ignored the speech because parents, like the frightened, teary-eyed Elizabeth-Hasselbeck-look-alike mother they showed on TV last night, are afraid President Obama is going to “brain-wash” their children, all of the children of color perceived the school’s priority, respect and deference for the man (our PRESIDENT, after all) and his message and they internalized that priority for themselves, too. They understood the importance of the President’s message because we parents told them on the way to school that morning to pay attention and take in every word.
I dreamed that as they watched him giving his speech live, they were filled with awe and inspiration and determination and empowerment. I dreamed that they identified with who he is and where he came from. And then they resolved to become the President of the United States, too.
I dreamed that their teachers watched and were also moved to do and be their best. And immediately after the speech, each and every one of them got to work with a new commitment and fire.
I dreamed that all of those children of color got busy, got serious, got down to some real learning. And the new energy caught on like a virus and parents became inspired. Whole communities came back to the schools to join in on the teaching and the learning. Rappers started rapping about the beauty of intellectual pursuit and the importance of school. And everyone found that learning is fun and rewarding and additive.
I dreamed that the libraries started to be filled with families of color. On Saturdays, the museums and playhouses of our cities became full of us because our brains and our hearts couldn’t get enough stimulation. The weekends just felt too long to be away from learning. And so, all of these institutions had to extend their hours.
I dreamed that televisions were turned off and video games gathered dust, as we were just too caught up in reading the classics and new books by brilliant young authors and emerging talent.
I dreamed that the more families of color read together, the more they became fixated with learning about their own history. And the more they learned about their own history, the hungrier they became to amass information for themselves and their children.
I dreamed that children of color were so imbued with educational wealth that colleges began clamoring for their presence and they began to fill up all of the universities here and abroad. Our children began to set the standard that every other student sought to meet.
I woke up from that dream with a new perspective. I realized that President Obama is the President of the United States of America, and even though large and vocal groups have refused to accept him as such, those of us who do must resolve to reap every benefit of his presidency, his brilliance and his leadership. We must allow him to empower us, and we, thereby, empower him right back.
So get your children to President Obama’s message by any means necessary tomorrow. That message of commitment and self-determination is for you and your children. And don’t just sit back and bask in what will undoubtedly be beautiful and well-phrased words, do the homework assignment. Take President Obama’s words as your marching orders and GET BUSY!!
Our future, our children’s future and President Obama’s future depend on it!!
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