I get it. I really, truly, finally get MORE.
Driving home from the MORE meeting today I had an epiphany (If that is what you want to call it) as I was driving home and crossing over the Willis Ave Bridge. The pieces of the puzzle all fell into place for me.
This four year "trek" took me from dipping my toe into the MORE water to a supporter to exile and burning a few bridges to wandering the forest and back to MORE. Maybe that is what it had to take for me to finally get it.
Now please do not take my "getting it" as to not fully supporting for the last year or so. In fact, it's been almost a year since I had returned to the MORE umbrella, thanks to my son having to go to a Bar Mitzvah in Riverdale one Saturday afternoon and me needing to do something for several hours.
I feel safe with MORE. I have always had issues with being at social gatherings with lots of people, especially when I do not know everyone nor have close relationships with, but with my return last year and Mindy Rosier assuring me that no one will beat me up if I showed, that removed a barrier.
But it is more (pardon the pun!) than that. It's what happened today.
During the breakout sessions today I was commiserating with Jia Lee about this and that. The subject came around to how I had a shitty personal week and I started to share with her some of what I had gone through during my exile from the DOE.
Jia was so empathetic, so calming in her tone, her manner, and her words that I felt safe to open up. In fact so safe, I asked Lauren Cohen, knowing what she had gone through in the past, to join in.
And as the three of us were talking both their words and actions dawned on me which only finally hit me once I was in The Bronx.
MORE is not just a caucus looking to unseat the powers of the UFT. MORE is a place where teachers, educators, families, and the community can come and get support and not be judged nor looked down upon. Anyone can reach out to anyone at MORE and not be asked anything in return other than you walk away feeling better.
That MORE is not looking to just solve the symptoms of what is ailing and affecting education and throwing hammers at problems one at a time hoping that will transform that system but going and attacking the what is causing the symptom. The disease itself.
What I keep seeing is a true democratic process with MORE. Yes, MORE has had its growing pains. Everything new has it's ups and downs, but MORE has worked out the kinks. And guess what? MORE will continue to evolve and change, as any of us all do or want to do.
Every time I talk with Jia I learn something new. Jia is a wealth of knowledge. Not just with education and unions. But of writers, historical facts pertaining to the working people, and to philosophies that affect us all. Isn't this someone that we need to lead a our union?
Each person at MORE brings something special to the caucus and the process. I saw that so crisply today. People contribute because they want to, not because they have to.
But the most important thing, and this brings it back to my first point, is that there is no anger at MORE. There is no thoughts of vengeance at MORE. MORE is just not a safe place for me, but it is a safe place for everyone associated with MORE and can be and will be for anyone.
This is what a caucus and leadership for the UFT should be about. This is why MORE is so important to the educators, the students, the families, and the communities of New York City.