I wear a lot of colors. I wear my yellow ribbon for the brave men and women that allow me to speak freely. I wear my rainbow ribbon because love is love. I wear my pink ribbon for too many to count. I have purple, red and blue ribbons, lanyards and bracelets; all to raise awareness and show support. Most dear to me, however, are my green laces. I have been wearing them for years and they have sparked so many conversations about what is best for children and teachers. When 200,000 tests were refused in NYS this year, I felt like my laces played a little part in that victory.

Two years ago, when a rabbit and a pineapple asked, “Hey, what do you think about green laces?” I thought it was a great way to get conversations started, especially in faculty rooms, where silence on the issue of education reform was all too prevalent. Now, I am feeling that more than conversation is necessary in faculty rooms. We need action. Teachers, we need to stand up and tell our union leadership that we have demands and expectations for our profession. We need to be loud and persistent about our commitment to providing an education to our students that will allow them to be successful, happy adults. We need to demand that our concerns are heard and considered with legitimacy.

Complacency has shifted to awareness and awareness needs to shift to action. The moment I changed my white laces to green is one that will forever stand out in my memory as a defining moment as a teacher. Tonight marks another such moment. Tonight I filled out my membership form for ST Caucus, and in doing so, I felt a camaraderie and optimism that has not been evoked by NYSUT in a very long time.