Parent Leaders Strive to Leave Legacy for Their Children
by Maritza Leal, Parent leader, Redwood City
It is a challenging test to face the realities and circumstances of daily family life. But it’s certainly far more difficult to stand before our children and face them saying, “Come on, you can do it!” when we ourselves have failed; to tell them “Work hard in school – graduate!” when some of us have never finished the elementary grades. We tell them, “You can be successful in your future endeavors and profession,” when in plain sight of our children we are humiliated and remain silent in order to put food on the table.
Many times, the heroes in our homes are not around the dinner table. They exist in the world of entertainment and popular culture. But here in Redwood City, there exists a group of parents who seek to change this and to change local history. They are heroes.
We don’t possess academic titles or bring in six-figure salaries, but we have come together and overcome our personal fears and insecurities to speak directly to our elected officials about our experiences so that we can be heard. One thing is for sure: we won’t return to the status quo. We will reach our goal: a fair education for all of our children and for all the children that have been forgotten and left behind.
It’s for that reason that Rocketship is so important for us. We believe in your commitment to public school, and we know that you have been successful in working with children in communities similar to Redwood City.
We continue knocking on doors to spread the word in our community that a better future is possible so we can leave a legacy for our children, but we have to fight for it. We won’t fall back. We will rise with our heads held high as we speak up for and with our little ones – teaching them and demonstrating to them through example that we do indeed possess dignity and values.
We believe that a parent leader is not measured by the possessions they have but by what they work to achieve. It has not been easy, but everything we do we do for our kids. We are grounded in the basic principles of justice.
We aren’t asking for anything special – just equity for our children so that they feel confident that they are on the right path and that their school will support and guide them to cross the gaps that exist in our education system.
We know that if you don’t have a good foundation in the early years, you will falter later on. That’s why we’re doing this work in Redwood City – because we believe our kids don’t have an option that is preparing them and pushing them to go into business and technology. All we want more than anything is for them to succeed in Silicon Valley.
We are standing up and saying “Here we are. We too are humans and deserve a good education.” Rocketship – we ask you to stand with us.
We believe that soon we will see the day that hundreds of children and their parents here in Redwood City will be cheering “We are Rocketeers – at home, at school and in our community!”
In March 2014, the parents hosted an Action Meeting concerning bringing new school options with local elected officials that more than 300 parents attended. On June 25, the Redwood City School District board of trustees will vote whether to approve a new Rocketship school.
The McKinley Institute of Technology
400 Duane Street
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Maritza is a parent leader in Redwood City where parents have been working together for more than a year to bring new high-quality school options to the community, including a Rocketship school. They have been holding house meetings, doing outreach at community events, and going door-to-door to talk with parents in the community about education. Maritza’s piece was originally written in Spanish and has been translated for BEYOND.
Published on June 23, 2014