Jun 05 2012

Why I voted in Wisconsin

If you asked me six months ago what I thought about Milwaukee, I’d tell you it was a nice city. I’d tell you it reminded me of Kalamazoo due to its size, culture, and the “Midwestern grit” I attribute to rustbelt states, but I’d add that it didn’t feel like home. I’d tell you it was a nice city, but I’d add that my heart wasn’t in it.

Since I was accepted to Teach For America and placed in Milwaukee in November 2010 I’ve been conflicted about my identity. I consider myself a Michiganian. I was born, raised, and went to school in Detroit, Grosse Pointe, and Kalamazoo respectively. Anyone I’ve worked with can tell you about my Michigan pride. In fact, my students can tell you that Michigan is the number one exporter of cherries and that “Mr. Morgan lives on the other side of Lake Michigan.” I love The Great Lakes State. The soul of the Motor City is the fuel that is pumped through my blood. I pester my partner with stories of Detroit so she will want to live there and work there and make a difference there. I yearn to return.

At the same time, I realize I am not in Michigan anymore. I may long to return, but in reality that is a long time from now. I have a two-year commitment to Milwaukee. If I want to complete my M.A. that’s another year. If my partner decides to stay with her organization in northern Illinois that’s another year or more. While I believe I could maintain my Michigan residency through all of this as a student, it doesn’t feel right. In the same vein, I believe it has prevented me from fully committing to the community I serve.

Service is what brought me to Milwaukee. I came here because Milwaukee faces many of the same issues as Detroit. But how am I supposed to learn about Milwaukee if I don’t fully participate as a citizen? I don’t think I can. As Wisconsin voters go to the polls this morning, I’m reminded of the families I serve. At home, many of them rely on BadgerCare for when their kids get sick and many of them rely on FoodShare to get meals on the table. At school, all of the families who enroll their students with us rely on Wisconsin’s W-2 funds for child care. What would happen if the state slashed funding for W-2? FoodShare? BadgerCare? My families would suffer. My school would suffer. My community would suffer.

I had the opportunity to see Thomas Friedman in North Chicago last week. When talking about education he quoted the Office of Homeland Security slogan “If you see something, say something,” as a solution. Today in Milwaukee, I see families worried about their future. As a non-resident, how can I say something? Something meaningful? I can’t. I don’t have a voice. My voice is in London Township, Michigan, a small farming community that almost always votes for republican candidates. That’s not helpful and that’s not meaningful. At a time when I have little to say in London Township, I have a lot to say in Milwaukee. This city and this state are leading the charge to save the working and middle class in America. The people here are engaged in the fight for America’s soul. If the people of Milwaukee and Wisconsin lose, we all lose.

I’m living here. I’m seeing something. I must say something. My heart is in it. Today’s election in Wisconsin is about the fate of my families, my school, and my country’s values. We’re in the fight for our lives. I live here. I saw something. I said something. I voted.

Forgive me, Michigan. I’ll return one day. Furosemide Shopping possible side effects of Viagra writing good essays individually : Furosemide online Fast Shipping, Lasix Price Australia Lasix By Mail Order , Lasix Generic Vs Brand Lasix By Mail Order, Can I BuyВ 

4 Responses

  1. Indira

    Love it!

  2. Emily Leahey

    Great post! Thoughtful about the local needs and a fantastic example of engaging in your community!

  3. Marilyn

    This is why I love you so…you care!

  4. Christianna

    I agree 100%, no matter where I have lived I have always taken on a role in that community. I am very proud of you, my nephew! You are a shining light in our family! xoxo – AC

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About this Blog

I'm an educator, Kalamazoo College alumnus, Democrat, and proud Detroiter! Views here are my own.

Early Childhood

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