Vote Ringgold for the Midland Public Schools School Board

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FOR THE EDITOR:

I have been a resident of Midland for over 2 decades. My husband and I raised 4 children here; 3 are graduates of Midland Public Schools and the fourth is in elementary school. Being a Pakistani-American Muslim in a predominantly white Christian city has been a growing and developing experience for myself, my family, and the MPS staff and administrator with whom I have interacted.

All children want to feel safe at school. Beyond safety, children want to feel like they belong. And for us, as a Muslim family, this development of a sense of belonging is a work in progress. It’s not easy to be the only child in primary school who doesn’t celebrate Christmas or Easter. It’s not easy being the only high school girl who chooses to wear the hijab (head covering) as a symbol of her devotion to her faith.

Children want to belong. There is enormous peer pressure to conform.

When someone chooses to be true to who they are and not conform, it can be a very isolating and difficult experience.

Jennifer Ringgold, MPS school board candidate, understands the importance of this concept better than anyone I know. She understands that social, emotional and academic well-being are all linked. For a child to thrive academically, he must feel safe in the classroom. They must feel a sense of belonging. She understands that we live in a global and diverse world and that our children need to know how to interact with those who are different from us.

Everyone has a story to share about who they are and everyone’s story is special and deserves to be heard.

I’m proud to say that I support Jennifer Ringgold for the MPS school board. I am confident that it will bring the inclusiveness and diversity that our schools desperately need. I am confident that she will work diligently to ensure that our schools provide a safe space for all of our children.

UMBAREEN JAMIL

Midland

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