I would like to share my perspective as an Indian-American and how my experiences will influence who I vote for in this school board election.
Growing up, teachers talked about the poverty and pollution in India but dismissed the beauty of my culture. I was teased about my food and my grandmother’s sari. I can share so many experiences in which I was “othered.” If you meet me today, you hear my fluent English and experience my extroverted personality with no clue of the trauma that lies beneath. When I first moved to Eden Prairie, I fell in love with how welcoming and helpful everyone was; however, I also experienced instances of well-intentioned ignorance.
With all this in mind, I intentionally enrolled my children into Eagle Heights Spanish Immersion in hopes that they would have culturally sensitive teachers. I felt EHSI teachers had a unique openness to other cultures, and I NEEDED my children to have this “next level” of cultural understanding. There are so many benefits beyond cultural sensitivity at EHSI, so keeping a child’s identity safe should not be the main reason why one enrolls into an Immersion Program. All parents should trust that when their child enters any school building, they will be honored in their wholeness.
I hope my story helps our community see the continued need for a school board that considers all learners and their backgrounds (socio-economics, abilities, culture, race, language, etc.).
For these reasons, I will vote for Francesca Pagan-Umar. She has a teaching background in special education and diverse communities. She follows evidence-based practices and that we need to create functional classrooms where all our students can learn.
I will vote for Jody Ward-Rannow. With her legal background, she understands regulations and policies. She is a tireless leader in the PTO. If parents have a question, Jody finds the answer.
I will vote for Isaac Kerry. He is a father, volunteer and advocate for all our children. He is seeking election not as a political stepping stone, but to be in public service as he has done as a firefighter.
Gaminee Sura, Eden Prairie
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