By Darcey Addo on October 2nd, 2014
November 4th is one of the most important days in our house. As strong proponents in the importance of the democratic process, my husband and I take our children to vote in every election. They understand the importance of state, local, and national elections. They wear their “I Voted!” stickers to school with pride after they have researched candidates, completed sample ballots, and have as much of a grasp on the issues that six and seven-year-old children can have. Voting, they know, is a privilege, and something they look forward to doing on their own when they are of age. I can only hope that the values we’re instilling in them now are ones that they hold for their adult life and that they will really “walk the walk” when it matters.
In the last presidential election (2012), Florida reported a voter turnout of 64%; this ranked 16th in the nation. This means that 36% of the population of eligible voters did not to cast a ballot, either in person or via absentee ballot…in a presidential election!
By Darcey Addo on August 1st, 2014
As a child, I was always the last one picked for team sports. I hated the days in gym class when we had to corral up against the chain link fence like criminals in a police ID line awaiting one of the peer captains to call our name and form teams.
It didn’t matter if we played kickball, whiffle ball, Red Rover, or dodge ball – my name was always the last one called. I couldn’t hit the ball, never made it through the human chain of people, and I wasn’t fast enough to make it to the base without being tagged. Someone from the team who got stuck with me invariably would whine, “She’s on our team?” Each time it was a bit more demoralizing than the time before. Add to my lack of natural aptitude was the fact that I never played an organized team sport outside school, so my opportunities to improve upon my lack of natural ability were non-existent.
By Darcey Addo on April 2nd, 2014
Sandra Day O’Connor once said, “We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone. Whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life…” During March, the world celebrated Women’s History Month – honoring and recognizing the greatness of the women that contribute to our accomplishments and celebrating the legacy of that greatness upon which we stand.
My story contains many threads, but today I celebrate just a few of the remarkable women who stand out and help me aspire to greatness.
I recall learning about Susan B. Anthony as a fourth grader. I remember learning that she was told she did not need to learn math because she was a girl. I was a feisty 10-year-old and that riled me up, probably as much as it riled up Susan B. Anthony. Continue reading
By Darcey Addo on February 15th, 2014
I can’t remember a time that my heart hurt as badly as it did the day my 6-year-old biracial son told me that he didn’t want to be Black.
He said that people are not kind to Black people, so he wants to be “tan like Mommy.” My heart ached for my son, for my daughter, and for anyone who has ever felt the sting of discrimination. I am a product of relative privilege; I grew up in middle class suburbia and never experienced marginalization or felt a sense of “other-ness” the way my children do and likely will as their lives unfold. Their story is not my own, but as any parent knows, there are few things that spring a mother into action as when her child is in pain. The day my beautiful, precocious, chocolate-skinned little boy told me that he doesn’t want to own the skin he’s in, my understanding of the importance of identity, cultural sensitivity, and diversity education forever changed.
By Darcey Addo on January 16th, 2014
If you haven’t read her book, you probably saw her in your Facebook feed. You may have even watched her capture the attention of the United Nations as she advocated for peace after being shot in the head. If not, possibly you watched Jon Stewart interview her on the “Daily Show” where she talked about her appreciation for education because of the way the Taliban “blasted schools” and “snatched education” from Pakistani children. When you read her book, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, you read of a girl who fervently loves school. As a teacher, there are few things more heartwarming. Along with her story of compassion and forgiveness comes a tremendous responsibility for educators.
I am captivated as I read her book, both by the story and the storytelling. I hope someday to have the eloquence and tenacity of this teenager. At just 16 years old, Malala was nominated for the Nobel peace prize. Continue reading