Strategy and Analysis to Defend and Transform Public Education

Lakeview Teaches

Sometimes deep and poignant struggle is hard to capture in words.  But when someone is able to it helps keep the transformative moment alive in our hearts and pushes us on to the next upsurge.  Thankfully this reflection by a key participant of the Lakeview Sit-In truly revives what we felt during the 18 whirlwind days at the People’s School.  We hope it also carries you on to the next Lakeview.

Lakeview March 2Lakeview Class

Lakeview Teaches

By Margarita Monteverde

In the long list of defeats that keep us humble and push us forward

knowing only that growth and knowledge come quickly and are constant

yet we remain endlessly chasing wisdom

Defeat is constantly an option

and all we can do is run the risk

We never know, but we always try

As revolutionaries and as humans-

what drives our disempowered, exhausted selves

-hearing a ten year old say that they no longer want to be a cop

-when a comrade asks me to hold him because he is scared to feel his own power

-when the police scare us with trespassing notices and THEN we open the doors of a school they thought was theirs

-the anger of standing next to a killer who continues to hold more rights to a public educational space than I ever will as an educator

-the intricate maneuver of balancing security with inclusiveness (the shades of gray between being called “fascists” and keeping away “pedophiles”)

-coming “home” to 15 children: hands and faces covered in paint, making signs fighting for schools, education, our future

-that a 3 year old learned who schools really should belong to-looking at police planted where she had slept for 3 weeks stating “Who’s Schools? Our schools”

-words from a parent “Ill do my best to be out there with my son but if not keep in mind that we r there in spirit…we love you”

-A sign held by 3 little boys that says “Tony Smith…let the 99% decide”

And yet, we don’t struggle because of this emotional feedback-where momentarily we catch a glimpse of what victory might feel like

The urgency of this moment is nothing compared to the struggles of peoples around the world and through history for their liberation and lives

Humbled by our insignificance, we can also be proud

Not because we are great, unique, or special

We are ourselves at our worst moments:

passive aggressive, exhausted, inpatient, hurtful

and at our best:

hard working, caring, intentional, strategic, brave

In a struggle where nothing will be a victory until we get there

knowing we probably won’t ever see it with our own eyes

and there are no guarantees

and yet living any other way would be impossible

For a defeat, this wasn’t bad

and those moments of building:

either of ourselves, our networks, our movement, or our collective consciousness

Prepare us to continue to build these defeats

to be honest with our children that TODAY these spaces do NOT belong to us

We only confused those powers into letting us hold it for a moment

But we tasted what it could feel like

and imagined what we could build

and the work it would take

and the joy it would bring

And these sweet reminders are necessary to propel us from defeat to defeat

deepening our resolve and belief that an ultimate victory IS possible.

Margarita Monteverde is a member of TEACH (formerly known as Occupy Oakland Education Committee) and Bay Area educator.

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This entry was posted on December 4, 2012 by in Field Notes & Perspectives and tagged , .
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