I celebrated my birthday on September 16th…

I spent the morning reflecting on my past and the year that lies ahead. Like you, the person I am today is the result of my experiences and how I chose to respond to each opportunity, learning and setback. This is especially true for my work at NewMexicoKidsCAN.

Many of you knew me before I launched NewMexicoKidsCAN, but as our work has grown and our reach has increased, I realized that not everyone that follows our work knows that for me, this work is personal. I do not spend my days and years fighting for educational equity because it’s an idea that I read about, or heard someone else describe. I fight for educational equity because I experienced inequity and continue to see inequity impact my family and friends every day.

When I launched NewMexicoKidsCAN and wrote my bio, I grounded it in family. In that bio, you can read about my great-grandfather who came to the USA from Mexico by himself as a teenager. I hope that when he sees what I have accomplished, he is proud. You’ll also see a photo of me, the first college graduate on either side of my family, with all four of my grandparents. I am who I am today because of their legacy. I am who I am because my parents made sacrifices to get my siblings and me into the best schools possible.

These sacrifices continue to be made by countless families today. Saving to buy a house in a good school district. Lying about an address to get into a better school. Working countless hours to save for a private school. Waiting at the door of a school hoping to get two minutes with the principal pleading for the best teacher assignment. COVID has exacerbated these sacrifices. Quitting jobs to stay at home and facilitate online learning. Hiring a tutor to supplement what a student is missing during school closure. Utilizing family savings to purchase homeschool curriculum.

My great-grandfather, my grandparents, my parents – they all believed education was essential to securing the future for their family that they envisioned. I believe the same. Every day we are either making the system more equitable or less. We are either providing an excellent education to every child, or we aren’t. We can do better. We must do better.

I’m committed to continuing to fight for what our kids deserve and today I’m full of gratitude for the experiences and people that brought me to this work.

Will you help me celebrate my birthday with a gift to support our work today? Donate here!

Thank you for your support, I look forward to continuing the fight.

Amanda is the founding executive director of NewMexicoKidsCAN and an alumna of the 50CAN Education Advocacy Fellowship. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


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