The campaign to elect Elyse Dashew to the school board was launched on June 19, 2015 with a breakfast reception for 60 supporters at McClintock Middle School. Just two days earlier, nine people had been killed at a bible study meeting in Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.
Here are Elyse’s remarks from the day of the launch.
I really need to feel hope and faith right now because of what happened in Charleston the day before yesterday. There are great troubles in our country and this hits very close to home. We need to surround ourselves with people who are committed to working for the greater good.
And that is who is here today, right now.
We also need to have hope because there are tremendous challenges in our own community right here…and the challenges are showing up in our public schools. Our economic mobility numbers are amongst the lowest in the nation. We have re-segregated. And employers are telling us that the workforce is increasingly ill-matched to the jobs that need to be filled.
These are serious issues that we need to own and address. They are our issues — my issues and yours. They have an impact on our children’s lives and our grandchildren’s lives, and it’s pretty urgent that we start paying attention and start stepping up our game. And the public school — this building that we’re standing in right now — is one of our most powerful and most essential tools that we have for addressing these issues. So we each as individuals, and all together as a community, have got to fully commit to supporting our public schools.
We need to make sure that our schools have the resources they need for our students to be successful. When I say resources, I mean that in a fiscal sense. But I’m also talking about a human sense. We need to pump up that pipeline of great teachers and staff and principals.
We also need our schools to be wisely guided by school board members. Our school board is another human resource. We need school board members who are smart; who understand complex policy and unintended consequences; who are committed to following the evidence, even when the evidence is surprising; and who are open to learning new ideas; who connect with the community; who lead the community on difficult issues; who are collaborative; who are fiercely committed to doing what is best for all children; and who will build and lead coalitions to make sure that this happens.
And so that’s why we’re here today. I feel a calling to serve in this capacity. I have a passion to serve. I have the life experiences and the skill set to serve.
I hope that you will join me on this journey and help me to get elected. Then, once I am serving on the school board, I hope that you will continue to work with me. Please continue to talk with me, support me, correct me, advise me. Because this is going to be a long-term game here, and the issues we’re facing are very tough. But I know that we can move the needle on them. It’s going to take a whole lot of courage and commitment from all of us. The school board race is really just one part of it, but it’s an important part of it.
Thank you for being a part of this. Thank you for being a force for good and prosperity in our community.
I’m just so honored and humbled and I can’t wait to serve you.