This Thanksgiving season, I am reminded of a wonderful children's book I used to read to my kids. It is about Sarah Hale, a remarkable advocate who convinced President Lincoln to make Thanksgiving an official holiday. This year, this holiday falls on the exact calendar day as the first national Thanksgiving in 1863.
The path to establishing Thanksgiving wasn’t easy. Over the course of thirty-eight years and four Presidencies, Sarah led women around the country in a massive letter writing campaign, because she believed coming together for one day to give thanks might help bring our nation together.
Thanks to Sarah standing up for her beliefs, and to a politician who listened (a Springfield politician, no less!), we have a holiday focused on gratitude and the diversity of cultures.
We can learn a lot from Sarah and Abe about the power of civic engagement, careful listening, and leadership - especially when it comes to the current challenges facing school funding in Illinois.
That’s why we will be taking a page out of Sarah’s book, and not backing down when it comes to what’s right for our children.
During the month of December, will you join us on Facebook and Twitter as we talk about the devastating impact of the school funding system in Illinois and what we can do to solve it?
The reality in Illinois isn’t pretty: the gap between what we spend educating our poorest and richest students is the largest in the nation. Moreover, Illinois taxpayers spend $88,000 per child on incarceration compared to $12,521 per child on education. Together we can right this wrong.
Join us in this important conversation. And to our elected officials in Springfield, we hope you’re listening.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,
P.S. The book I mentioned is Thank You, Sarah by Laurie Halse Anderson and available in many libraries