Tay Anderson graduated from the Denver Public Schools in Colorado just a few years ago. Last year, the young activist ran for the city’s Board of Education… and won.
A couple of weeks ago marked the first board meeting since his inauguration and Anderson let his colleagues know he would not be standing for the Pledge of Allegiance as an act of protest against injustice in our nation. He wrote this in a public letter to his colleagues explaining his decision in advance:
… today, and for every meeting in the future, I have decided not to stand because we need our leaders to have the courage to fight alongside communities in sending a clear message that we will not stand while white supremacy is thriving. We will not stand while our country separates families and keeps kids in cages. We will not stand while Black and Brown people are being murdered by those who are supposed to “protect and serve” our communities.
I recognize that this decision may be difficult for some to understand. I ask you to reflect on that discomfort and attempt to see this peaceful protest through the lens of people who are consistently left behind and forgotten when our country celebrates “equity”…
He didn’t hesitate to follow through on that when it came time for the actual meeting.
While all of his colleagues stood, a couple appears to have their hands at their sides. A partial protest, if you will.
There’s already been backlash from ignorant citizens who equate participating in a mindless ritual with actual love of the country.
One constituent wrote him, “Please resign, you are an ungrateful person… I voted for you and wish I hadn’t.”
Thankfully, there’s been praise, too. And through it all, Anderson says he’s going to keep protesting to draw attention to these issues.
“My bosses are the constituents of Denver, if this doesn’t get me four more years, that’s okay,” Anderson said. “It’s important for people in power to shine light on these injustices.”
If only we had more government officials across the board who shared these views. We need people willing to fight for justice no matter their position, and a school board member using a ritual at a meeting to passively, but powerfully, share those views is someone who clearly has his students’ bests interests at heart.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)