On Tuesday the video highlighting the amazing work my students do was released by Microsoft to the world. On Tuesday I went to Youtube to watch it. On Tuesday, I saw the comments left below it. “Indoctrination…Lose her job…Islam is evil…” My heart sank and my first reaction was to ask Microsoft to please close the comments to shield my students. To shield them from the hate of others who do not seem to see the bigger picture. From those that are bound and determined to spread more hate. It seems we have seen a lot of this lately, even more than we have in a long time.
But I didn’t send the email. I didn’t ask for the comments to be closed. I didn’t ask for my students to be shielded from this hate because this is the world we live in. One that is filled with many opinions, some so hateful they make me angry, and yet, my job is not to shield at all cost. My job is to educate.
So how do we fight back? We continue to educate. We show both sides and not in its ugliest, but in a way that will show our students that their job is to find their own opinion and the only way they can do that is by learning, by reading, by trying to understand things that they may not agree with
So we continue to educate and then we stand up for what we believe in. We stand firm on the shoulders of righteousness, of love, of unity, of belief in other people, even those that are different from us. Even those that we do not understand. Parts of our country may feel like our country is broken, I know I certainly do, so we must stand even firmer and continue to pave the way toward a nation that comes together not through our fears but through our hopes for a better future. One where we do not just point out all of our differences and how we think others are wrong, but one that we can see how we are similar. Fear unites those that fear. Hate unites those that hate. But so does love, and a love that is determined to conquer even hate is not one to count out.
I refuse to be afraid of the future that lies ahead of our nation because I know that as educators we can present the facts. We can create opportunities for our students where they are presented with information that is not laced by fear or filled with hatred and then allow them to choose their own opinion. We can use technology and outreach so that students will meet other people that dispel the myths we carry.
The road ahead may seem long. The road ahead may seem like it will lead us down a dark rabbit hole where we are not sure what is waiting for us on the other side. But we have knowledge. We have the power to bring the world in so that our students may experience more than what they are told to believe form those whose voice are filled with hate.
I refuse to be afraid, for I am emboldened. We can continue to work toward the future we have always envisioned, that has not been taken away from us. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.