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The Need to Struggle and DreamPosted on December 21, 2016 at 8:48pm by Gary Hoachlander

Last week, a close colleague suggested that I go back and read Vincent Harding’s Is America Possible? A Letter to My Young Companions on the Journey of Hope. It is an eloquent testament for the need to both struggle and dream if we are to realize America’s promise to be a democracy that values, respects, and serves all people. Once again, his essay moved me, and resonated with a message that I saw just a week earlier, when I visited a high school in Madison, Wisconsin. That message, posted on a hallway wall read:

Dear undocumented students,
In this classroom, there are no walls. You belong here.
You are loved.

Dear black students,
In this classroom, your life matters.
You are loved.

Dear Muslim students and students of Middle Eastern descent,
We know you are not terrorists.
You are loved.

Dear Mexican students,
You are not rapists or drug dealers.
You are loved.

Dear female students,
Men cannot grab you. Men WILL respect you—demand it.
You are loved.

Dear LGBTQ students,
You are perfect just as you are.
You are loved.

Dear ALL Students,
We will get through this day, this year, together.
We will respect each other and learn from one another.
You are a beloved part of this country and community.

Señora Tarman

Is America possible? Like Vincent Harding, Langston Hughes, and so many others before her, Señora Tarman calls upon us all to make it so.


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