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A Lifetime of Lessons

A parent community activist reflects on more than 40 years of organizing for better schools

<p>A Lifetime of Lessons</p>

Third, it is critically important that those of us who are social justice advocates and activists think about preparing someone to step up and fill our shoes. This is one area where I feel I have been remiss, i.e., grooming and developing leadership.You see, my initial involvement was personal - my children - but I found it a lot more rewarding and systemic as I moved on to organizing and advocating for not only a better classroom for my children, but a better school system and outcomes for all children.

It sometimes scares me, not knowing what will happen when the folks who are now active move on. We haven't always paid enough attention to making sure there's someone waiting in the wings. You will never make a lot of money doing this work, but the rewards pay bountiful soul and spirit dividends.

Finally, we can't forget the words of Frederick Douglass, "Where there is no struggle, there is no progress." Our struggle must continue to be a collective struggle with, and on behalf of, our families, communities, and schools - specifically those least served by systems because of their race, class, gender, language barrier, or special need.

Lola Glover is head of the parent and community-based Coalition for Quality Education, a project of Toledo Metropolitan Mission, which has been active 22 years in Toledo, Ohio. Glover is co-founder and former co-chairperson of the National Coalition of Education Activists and former chair of the National Coalition of Advocates for Students.

Spring 2001

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