When I graduated high school, I couldn’t read. For far too long, I let that keep me silent at the ballot box and in my children’s education. Then something happened. Our country, and I elected, our first African-American president. It was one of the first times I voted and I thank my friend, Lois, for informing me about the election process and for pushing me to become literate.
My name is Connie Williams and it is time I pay it forward and inspire folks closer to home to vote for James Harris in the District 7 Oakland school board race. I don’t remember who I voted for in the 2008 election, other than President Obama. And, I do know if I could have voted for James Harris in 2012 I would have. I also plan to urge as many voters to cast a ballot for him in 54 days for the District 7 seat.
When I first met Mr. Harris, I felt like I could trust him. He was from East Oakland, raising his family in East Oakland, and knew what our families and students needed. Four years later, I more than trust Mr. Harris. I love what he has done for our students and families. I feel connected to James because he shows up every time for our children. Graduation rates are up, suspension rates are down and James has helped ensure that we are preparing more of our children for college.
“Four years later, I more than trust Mr. Harris. I love what he has done for our students and families. I feel connected to James because he shows up every time for our children.”
James Harris understands that it is no longer acceptable to think high school graduation. He understands that our children need to reach for college, the moon,and beyond. A vote for Mr. Harris on November 8 is one of the most powerful ways for us to use our voice. James Harris is more than just words. He helped put things in place for our students and has shown through his actions that he is for all students and equal education.
I raised my children in this city and now because of other circumstance, I am raising my four grandbabies, three of which have special needs. I made the decision to take them each day from my West Oakland home and across town to a school outside my neighborhood. I made that decision because it was the best for my grandbabies. James Harris understands that and regardless of where you live in Oakland or the type of school (district-run or charter) your children attend, he will fight and work to make sure all our students are treated equally and given all the opportunities to succeed. Please join me in supporting James Harris for the Oakland school board District 7 seat.
Connie Williams is a West Oakland resident and the grandmother of eight kids with four currently attending school in District 7.
Editors note: Version has been edited to reflect that Connie Williams voted in the District 3 race but urged folks to vote for James Harris in District 7.