Thursday, March 28, 2013

Resident Remarks, or Mom Goes to the Mat for an Awesome Columbia

I am here tonight to represent people who can’t be here. They are parents, feeding their children, reading to them, putting them to bed. They are young professionals who are working late at their jobs to try to get ahead in a difficult economy. Let’s not forget high school students enjoying the first moments of Spring Break, and younger children who can’t stay up past their bedtimes. These are some of the people who asked you to support the Inner Arbor Plan and Trust. They wrote letters, sent emails, signed petitions, and came to meetings. They spoke for themselves, and in many cases, parents spoke on behalf of their children.

They thank you. I thank you. I am here tonight to remind you that they have complete faith in the work that you are doing, and they trust you to keep moving forward.

But I am here for another reason as well. Lately I have been seeing what I can only describe as bullying behavior aimed at this board. Negative letters in print, nastiness online, separate meetings whose publicity aims to inflame and confuse. As a parent and a teacher, I know that one of the most important things we can do to stop bullying is to stand up and call it out for what it is.

Make no mistake: whether it is a letter to the editor, online rants, rumors and untruths spread behind your back, or a veiled threat to your face—it’s bullying. And this kind of bullying in Columbia community affairs is not going to stop if residents stand by and let it happen. So I say the time for it to stop is now.

The future of Columbia must not be decided by bullies, or for that matter, by one generation alone, but through the inclusion of all generations who belong here.

So I am here to say: it gets better. It gets better when you stand by your convictions, and when we stand up to support you.


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