My hope emerges from those places of struggle where I witness individuals positively transforming their lives and the world around them. Educating is a vocation rooted in hopefulness. As teachers we believe that learning is possible, that nothing can keep an open mind from seeking after knowledge and finding a way to know.” – bell hooks

Dear Friends,

Happy Women’s History Month!

As a community, we are rightfully proud of our legacy of activism and our standing as a community that has been at the forefront of the push for equitable outcomes for all people.

Two famous Rochesterians – Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass – are well known for their tireless work to get equality for women and Black Americans codified into constitutional law. Anthony and Douglass were close friends and shared many correspondences over the course of their lives about their visions and hopes for a better world. Both turned their hopes into collective action and led movements for social change that inspired millions to redefine equality, participatory democracy and what is possible for any people regardless of the circumstances or conditions of their birth.

I remember reading the autobiography of Frederick Douglass and learning about Susan B. Anthony, the Seneca Falls Convention, and the Women’s Suffrage Movement as a teenager. The thing that struck me most then, as it does now, is the transformational power of hope that those movements espoused to keep the fight for equity and justice moving forward. I believed then, as I do now, that hope has the propensity to catalyze transformational power because it can galvanize individuals and communities to come together around important issues such as equality, education, and in our case, cradle to career outcomes.

Over the past month, we have been working hard to bring our community together around our shared community vision of ensuring every child in Rochester is school ready, supported and successful from cradle to career. We are proud of our successful Whole Child Initiative Outcome Team launch that engaged many stakeholders around our shared values and vision and conveyed where we have been, where we are, and where we are going as a Whole Child Initiative and as an alliance. At our last convener meeting, we heard from our Whole Child and High School Graduation Outcome Teams, as well as our Parent Engagement Collaborative Action Network (PECAN), about the important work they are doing to align strategies and position our alliance for collaborative action to change and transform systems. Our conveners also had the opportunity to engage with outcome team co-chairs and parent/family partners. Conveners were able to reflect on their own personal and organizational work and think about resources, campaigns and strategies that can mutually reinforce and advance the work being done by our Outcomes Teams. Ultimately, we left the meeting better positioned to align strategies for collaborative action so that we will be able to change and transform systems to improve outcomes for our families and youth. We also launched our Data Advisory Team, which brings together data experts and specialists from across our alliance to address how we can use data informed decision making to strengthen all of our work and efforts.

While we are rightfully proud of Rochesterian icons and movements of the past, we must also remember that we are living in a pivotal moment in which we have the opportunity to continue the push for equitable outcomes for all of our children each and every day. We are grateful to the parent/family partners, system partners, conveners of our alliance and everyone who works to keep the mission and vision of the ROC the Future Alliance alive and moving forward. We encourage everyone who wants to be a part of this work to join us in the movement to change and transform systems to achieve equitable outcomes, from cradle to career.