Reflection on the Last Board Meeting Before I Take My Seat
I feel really lucky to have been highlighted in a few publications and podcasts. If you are interested, check them out here:
Quoted in an article from Bucks County Courier Times
Reimagining School Calendars
Many thanks to the folks at Evolution Candy for hosting a little get to know the candidates on the sidewalk today. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and talking to people today. I can't wait to serve our community on the school board.
I was part of a panel along with three current school board directors. We talked about what School Directors do, COVID response, taxes, equity and more.
Reflections on the Vigil for Survivors of Sexual Violence
This weekend, several youth from our community (Grace Crescitelli, Liz Carroll, and Emma Sexauer) organized and lead an event to honor and support victims and survivors of sexual violence. They also opened up the space to support members of the AAPI community. This effort was supported by several adult community leaders including Marlene Prey and Larissa Hopwood.
I walked up through the courthouse lawn. I was a few minutes early. There were displays set up around the lawn to bring awareness to this issue from multiple perspectives. As someone who is generally awkward around actual people, I appreciated this opportunity to quietly interact with these messages and information.
Eventually, I made my way up to the courthouse steps. I got to say "hello" and chat with a few people I have not seen in quite a while - pandemic and all. I observed while volunteers tried to peacefully clear the area of a truck full of young people wielding a giant Trump flag. What was the point of that anyway? I mean, I have never been a Trump supporter, but I have to imagine that he would not encourage his supporters to protest an event meant to support victims of sexual violence. In any event, the organizers were smart to have volunteers who were ready and able to deal with situations like these.
I listened and watched. I saw teenagers leaning on one another and supporting one another. This support came both in the form of words and in the physical act of being close to one another and literally shouldering the weight of their friends. This gave me so much hope for our future.
I was sexually assaulted in high school. I did not feel I could tell anyone. Sometime afterward a teacher joked that "what [he] read on the bathroom walls about me must be true". In retrospect, I can imagine that he thought he was being funny and had no idea that I had been assaulted. But, at the time, that solidified my belief that I was the problem.
Later in life I volunteered at a rape care center. During my training the counselor in charge mentioned that some people come to this work as a "back door way to get counseling for their own trauma". I did not realize that is what I was doing -- but it was. My time as a volunteer, then writing curriculum for schools, then as a counselor, was transformative.
I think it is important to share that even after my own assault, I did not have a healthy or supportive outlook toward victim survivors. I remember thinking and saying things that put the blame on victim survivors. I believed I was the problem -- that we were the problem.
My view of this trauma, of my own positionality, of the impact more broadly -- all of it has evolved. It is still evolving. And seeing the community together this weekend is -- I barely have words for it. I remember when I was their age - I never thought I would see this. My love and gratitude for this group of teenagers is immense.
Statement on the Mass Shooting of March 16th
Ballot position lottery and cross filing.
Today, March 17th, was the day that the Board of Elections chose ballot positions. They literally put tokens in a container and shook them up and pulled numbers. It's not surprising, as an Italian-American, that I did not have the "luck o'the Irish". But, this is super important! Because of the magic of cross listing + the lottery - I am going to be listed #1 on the Republican ballot and #3 on the Democratic Ballot.
What the heck is cross listing? - Well, school board directors and magisterial judge candidates can cross file. That means they will appear on BOTH the Democratic and Republican ballots.
Why does this matter? In the primaries, you can only vote for candidates for whom you share your party affiliation (Dems can only vote for Dems; Reps can only vote for Reps). Cross listing allows folks from different parties to still cast their vote for whoever they want, despite party affiliation.
That's good right? Yes, it is mostly good because it signals that a position like school director shouldn't be partisan.
What does this mean for voters?
Be sure you are registered as either a Democrat or Republican so that you can vote in the primary on May 18th.
Vote in the primary!!! This determines who will be on the ballot in November.
Be sure you know who you want to vote for based on how their beliefs align with yours. Don't just choose based on party affiliation -- cross filing makes that confusing and you could mistakenly choose someone you think is aligned with your beliefs but who actually is not.
~~ NOTE: I am listed #1 on the Republican ballot but I am more aligned with Democratic values. The person listed #1 on the Democratic ballot is more aligned with Republican values. Vote for the person NOT the party!
Collecting signatures. The day before it was in the 60s, on this day it was flurrying! You know what they say about the weather around here, "Enjoying the weather? Wait a minute."
Just starting out
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Here are a few things I have learned over the past few weeks;
The people who work at the Board of Elections are some of the nicest people on the planet. As someone who has never run for office, I had a lot of questions. Sometimes I would ask my questions, leave, and then half way down the hallway realize I had more questions. No matter how many times I showed up at the window, they were kind and helpful.
BoE means Board of Elections to some people and Board of Education to others. As a lifelong educator, this was confusing. I absolutely showed up at the Board of Education with paperwork that was meant for the Board of Elections -- once (cue Johnny Dangerously reference here). In any event, the folks over at the Board of Education are also super lovely people.
The people in our community are so nice! Of course I knew that already. But, having to knock on doors in the midst of a pandemic to get signatures so that I could be on the ballot solidified this knowledge. I met amazing people -- Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. You know what we all have in common? We all want schools to be great and we all love our children and other people's children.
People want to help! I have gotten Facebook messages and texts from so many people who want to help. It is not easy for me to ask for or even accept help. But, this is big and I can't do it alone. So, thank you!