Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thank you, Vera




TRANSCRIPT 

"My 4.5 year old daughter asked me why, even though the election was over, I continued to wear my Reach Higher Hoboken button, which has been affixed to my purse for the last six weeks.

This question inspired me to record the following thoughts onto paper in hopes that I can explain to her why I feel it’s so important to keep that pin on and always close to my heart.

Tom, Sheillah, and Addys are gifted, generous, tenacious, and forward thinking individuals. They ran an amazing campaign, which was simply a natural extension of the public service work that they engage in every day in advocating for Hoboken’s learners. They traversed across our square mile, engaging families and community members, with a powerful message and vision.

The vision that they articulated is one that is based on inclusivity and equity. In South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu often speaks of the tenet of 'ubuntu' -- the idea that I am who I am because of you, you are who you are because of me. To our American ears, that may sound like a utopian dream, but really it’s a reminder that our lives are all intertwined and that at the end of the day, we are all responsible for one another.

My favorite moments in history mirror and reflect this vision of interconnectedness, this call to action to believe in and act upon something bigger than our own narrow and often base self interests: women organizing at Seneca Falls, the Stonewall uprising, and students working to integrate lunch counters in Greensboro.

These are the moments that have sparked social movements and have changed our nation’s consciousness forever.

To me, the reach higher button is a representation of a special moment in Hoboken’s history that inspired our town to think not just about our own children and families, but to advocate on behalf of a whole community.

One person alone can never represent Hoboken -- we are all Hoboken. We -- the people, we -- the collective, we -- the community. We are all Hoboken. The children of Jackson Street, the children of Bloomfield Street, the children of Hudson Street, and the children on Monroe and the adults who care about them. We are all Hoboken.

In this post election season, the work we face now is not easy and probably will never be done.

But if we must labor in honor of a vision of equity, inclusivity, and justice and push a boulder up a mountain like Sisyphus did -- that to me is a vision absolutely worth struggling for: despite the setbacks and disappointments that we will surely face. Because even though the tasks may seem insurmountable, there are breakthroughs and moments of hope that keep us going and actually make a difference in people’s lives. President Obama said: “One of the things that I’ve learned to appreciate more as President is you are essentially a relay swimmer in a river full of rapids, and that river is history...You don’t start with a clean slate, and the things you start may not come to full fruition on your timetable. But you can move things forward. And sometimes the things that start small may turn out to be fairly significant."

So, to my darling daughter, I will not be taking off my Reach Higher button anytime soon because it is a reminder of the work that awaits us, of the vision that guides us, the North Star that inspires us to do better, to do right for Hoboken and beyond."

-Vera Sirota

18 comments:

  1. Wow. One impressive lady. Hoboken is in great hands if more parents like this one stay in town and stay involved. What an inspirational speech.

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  2. Beautiful sentiments - would that these comments were shared by residents town wide: Inclusivity and equity; moving away from self-interest - union organizing; gay rights and civil rights protests. Alas, not a concepts that are widely embraced in Hoboken; particularly in the political sphere. Words in stark contrast to what we usually see and hear across the town in political circles and on the blogs.

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  3. Thank you Vera! Beautiful

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  4. This is great except that the still of the video has that shot of Patty Waiters sitting behind the podium. That woman needs to spend less time heckling at meetings and more time trying to get a real job. Power to the People! Power to US people to not have to subsidize her bullshit!

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. Anon @ 11:16- that kind of declarative statement can get you in trouble unless you can prove it. Friendly advice.

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  5. It's people like Vera who give me hope that we, as a city are on the right track, that our community is in very good hands, and the future is bright.

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    1. Yes, years ago the revolution started with many hardworking moms. The moms took back their schools and put people in office like Theresa Minutillo, who fought the rough tough uphill battle. Like her or not, she dealt with psychopaths like Carmelo Garcia and Frances Rhodes Kearns. Her job was not an easy one yet Theresa made the commitment to improve the schools and did so even prior to having children. Carmelo brought in his hired thugs clogged up the meetings and caused utter chaos. It was a disgraceful bunch of years but ultimately the moms prevailed.

      People like Biancamano and Madigan are the very types the "mom's" worked tirelessly to rid the board of, the few other disgraces wormed their way into the pockets of Hola. Those like Anthony Petrocino, Carmelo Garcia and Reuben Ramos knew their time was up and sought the naive and greedy; Jennifer Sargent, Sabrina Stoffel fit that bill perfectly.

      Power to the moms who stop Madigan and Biancamono from turning back the clock. We must not allow these monster's to impede progress.

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  6. At the end of the day, people like Vera are why we will continue to accomplish great things in our schools, our community because people like Vera, Shelliah, and Addys and so many others won't be stopped by setbacks along the way. Yep, the future is bright.

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  7. Are the illegal VBM's which got Madigan elected going to be challenged?

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  8. And this is what you voted against if you voted for that angry, illiterate piece of crap Madigan so as to "teach the BOE a lesson" regarding their stance on HOLA expansion.

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    1. I don't think the people who were turned off by the anti-charter rhetoric and actions voted for Madigan, I think they just didn't vote in the BOE race. And their deciding to turn away from reach higher is what cost one or more seats.

      Perhaps it's time to reflect on what our side has done and how it is perceived outside of the rooms we're comfortable in.

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    2. I have generally found "anti-charter rhetoric" to be rhetoric itself. There are specific financial concerns with HOLA expansion that never seem to be met head-on and are instead derided as "anti-charter rhetoric". As if saying we don't have enough money to go to Disneyland is "anti-fun rhetoric". Moreover unless I am missing something I don't seem to hear discussion of charters other than HOLA.

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    3. Many of them did vote for Madigan and team. Check out their social media - they are celebrating his win.

      What has our side done other than advocate for the children of the District Schools? Why don't the District students deserve a School Board that advocates for them?

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    4. I would strongly suggest you seek out Charter Parents who have children in Elysian or Hoboken Charter and in a very respectful fashion find out if they think any BOE faction is hostile to charters.

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    5. FWIW, I think a lot of people just didn't know who to vote for. I'm very in tune with who the mayor supports and therefore I know to vote for those candidates for council. But I could not tell you who is who running for the school board unless they run under a Kids First banner. And I read the two reform friendly websites.

      Imagine a voter who doesn't read these sites going in to vote. There may be name recognition for any of the candidates, and without the Kids First name which is well known to all as reform, the message of who is who is lost.

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  9. Such eloquent words from a mom who is passionate about quality education for all the kids of Hoboken not just her own. What an inspiration! I hope more parents take notice and take heart. We have to fight *every year* to take back the school board from political do-nothings and continue to make the public schools a welcoming and amazing learning environment for all kids.

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