Brave Enough to Start | Strong Enough to Finish
A STATEMENT REGARDING THE JUNE PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS
Friends, I have said it before and I will always say it…it has been the honor of a lifetime to represent the 7th District on the Board of Education for Prince George’s County - a district that I was born, raised, and educated in. While the results of the June Primary Election have not allowed our campaign to go forward to the next cycle, I remain committed to being the voice for our communities until my last roll call…until my last vote.
During these past few days, I have had the chance to deeply reflect…not on the campaign and the politics…but on our journey over these last five years where, together, we have been able to accomplish so much for our communities and county.
When there was no focus on engaging our school system alumni, we sought out to create a platform for engagement and ways to highlight the great work of our graduates through a countywide alumni advisory council and a dedicated webpage with resources and ways to connect and give back to our schools.
When there was a need to bring wraparound services to our most at-risk students, families, and schools, we brought together a coalition of educators, community activists, and administrators to become just the second school system in the State of Maryland to have a Community Schools policy.
When there had been nearly three decades of advocacy for the rebuilding of Suitland High School, through our advocacy efforts on the local, state, and federal levels, we not only have design plans for a new Suitland High School…but we just secured nearly $30 million to start construction and we are also rebuilding Drew-Freeman Middle School right next door, as well.
When our communities had been overlooked and under resourced for decades, we not only marched, protested, and testified in Annapolis to help pass the Kirwan Commission’s Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, but we took matters into our own hands and rewrote our school system’s once embarrassingly brief and outdated board policy on educational equity to one that expands cultural proficiency levels for students and staff, creates a “Community Performance Index” that will assist in identifying our neighborhoods in need, and requires every single division in our school system to find ways to close achievement gaps for our most deserving students.
And when we grew tired of hearing the stories about the ways that our students were being treated because of a school meal debt…where they would be embarrassed in front of their peers by having their meals taken from them and thrown away…we proposed a Universal Meals Program for all Pre-K to 5th Grade students and the complete banning of Meal Shaming practices in all of our school cafeterias.
In the coming days, one of our final initiatives, draft Board Policy 5210 - Prohibition of Meal Shaming Practices, will begin its journey for full board approval. Upon its passage, which would allow for direct philanthropic donations to combat food insecurity and school meal debt, I am committing a portion of my remaining Board of Education salary to the Excellence in Education Foundation, our school system’s nonprofit charitable organization, to advance the cause of removing the monetary burden our students sometimes face just by wanting a nutritious meal in our schools.
While my term does not end for another six months, and I will have more to say and do in the remainder, it is during this time…this moment…that I am reminded of the wise words once told to me years ago: no matter what you do during your time on Earth, if you were brave enough start it, then you must be strong enough to finish it - and that is exactly what I intend to do.
With Pride, Passion, and Purpose,
K. Alexander Wallace