“Lift every voice…” I have sung that opening refrain on many occasions in my life, each time freshly reminded how much every voice matters and how much every voice counts. Now more than ever before, the transforming power of each of our voices is not simply a good thing, it’s a necessary one.
No one can tell your truth, share your journey, give your testimony, state your view or present your position better than you. Believe me when I tell you that the world is, in fact, a better place when every voice is amplified…and heard. For so many years of my life - more than I care to admit - I didn’t feel as if I had the agency or courage to fully use my voice, speaking my truth to power, unafraid and undaunted. I can recall so many times as a child being told to “be seen and not heard.” To this day, I can still hear the voice in my head directing me to silence, but I choose to ignore that voice, instead using my own to speak for myself and to speak up and out for others who either, don’t feel like they have a voice, or simply aren’t being heard. There is power in numbers. The more voices speaking out in support of fairness and equity and opportunity for themselves and others denied them for way too long, the more likely it is that real and lasting change will finally occur.
One of the things I love about my work at CICS is getting to stand in lock-step with so many other incredible people, using our individual and collective voices to help ensure a quality education for Chicago students who deserve nothing less. Each time I give voice to the words “excellence for every child, every day” I am grateful for my voice, much like I remain grateful for the voices of adults and educators who, when I was a student in the Detroit Public School system, spoke out on my behalf, boldly insisting on my right to a quality public education, and encouraging me to do the same.
I encourage you to use your voice, speak up and speak out as if it’s your absolute unassailable right to do so, because it is. To not use your voice would be both, a shame, and a great loss for you, for me…and the world.
Check out this blog in the coming months to witness other voices share their stories, hopes, dreams, fears, calls-to-action, or whatever else he, she or they wish to say. Here at CICS we trust and believe that every voice matters…every voice counts.