August– the heat, the uncertainty– seem far away on this chilly November day. But I’m reminded of how I felt only a few months ago, particularly on the day I first found out what was happening at my high school in Michigan. And, now, today, when news of some resolution is shared.
In August my family of four finally became a permanent family of four after my husband returned full-time after working out of town the whole time I was pregnant and nursing my second son, Quenton. As he returned I also ratcheted down breastfeeding as much. Suddenly, I had some more time, some more brainpower, but I was still slightly unmoored and exhausted by the events of the past year. What a year it was.
On Facebook– where I found so much community, news, and adorable photos during my tough year– I read a post a high school friend shared from a teacher I never had and still have never met in person. Her name is Barb Webb. She is a lesbian. She is married. She is pregnant. And she was fired for those reasons (ok, it’s a little more complicated than that, but you get the gist).
My sense of civil rights, motherhood, injustice (and “a hot lunch for orphans!” [bonus points if you get the musical reference without clicking through… from a show I actually did at Marian, and in a world of small worlds, with the husband of one of the other organizers who I had never met before]) flared. I got involved. I wanted to speak out and make a difference in the way I knew best. So I wrote. I wrote this piece for The New Republic. I wrote this piece for Kveller.
What matters to me personally in that above paragraph is that I WROTE. I had actually not been writing much. I felt dried up (in more ways than one). I was worried I had lost my words, my voice. But this situation reminded me I hadn’t. And that I was a mom to two and I could still write. And I had a voice that could hopefully effect change.
And now it seems we have. I say “we” because the Facebook group, I Stand with Barb Webb, numbers over 5000. I say “we” because nearly 75,000 from around the globe have signed our petition. I say “we’ because we raised nearly $6000 to donate to our high school for professional development training about diversity and inclusion (announced today that the administration will accept the funds and get the program going). And, more personally, I say “we” because in many ways I feel more connected to my high school community than ever before. I feel connected to people I knew well, people I didn’t know as well, and people I never met but who share the same alma mater because we all united to share our thoughts (not always agreeing) on a matter of personal and historical significance. These women, we women, we can be pretty amazing.
So, thanks again to Barb Webb for helping us all change in important ways– including yours truly. Now, I hope Marian can continue to Be the Change, along with others in the world, in supporting love, equality, and acceptance for all.