MOVING FORWARD IN ADVOCACY

Angela Gardner, OFLA Public Relations and Advocacy Chair
Spanish Teacher, Ross High School

The theme of our mini-conference this year was “Moving forward,” and it seems fitting in timing for our membership and organization. In order to move forward, we must look ahead and into the future, anticipating the changes we hope to initiate, as well as the challenges and barriers that we may have to face. 

During the conference, Milton Alan Turner shared a video as a part of his presentation on social justice that asked us to consider not the how, but the why, we should take action. In the video, a speaker prompts an audience member to sing “Amazing grace,” and he does so, beautifully. But then, the speaker provides a context–a reason why the singer might be performing the song and asks him to sing it again, and the performance goes from beautiful to turning into a moving, emotional experience. 

As professionals, take time this summer as you move forward to consider your WHY. Why is language and cultural learning valuable and important? Why are you a language and culture teacher? Why should we use precious time and efforts to advocate for any of this? Your WHY is what will move you. It is also probably that sharing your why is what will move our lawmakers to make decisions to protect and expand language learning opportunities. 

There are many opportunities for you to engage in being a catalyst for change. I encourage members to consider joining our Advocacy Committee, to use their voice to contact representatives and lawmakers to advocate for language learning and to continue to engage students in the deeply meaningful and highly valuable act of learning languages and new cultural perspectives and skills. 

Keep asking WHY. Keep moving forward.