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On hope.

Dandelion with some fluff blowing in the wind. The following is an excerpt from Ernest Morrell’s Presidential Address at the 2014 NCTE Annual Convention. 

We have to foster critical hope.

My colleage Jeff Duncan-Andrade talks about this: “hope in the face of overwhelming odds.”

We have to foster that hope. It is our responsibility as a profession to have that hope.

People come into our classrooms. They look at us and what they need from us are reasons to believe. Reasons to believe in the future. Reasons to believe in their future. Reasons to believe in themselves.

How do you foster that hope?

I know it’s not easy, but I’m here to say 48 years ago it wasn’t easy. 48 years from now it won’t be easy. Don’t wait for the end of the struggle.

Struggle will be with us, or I should say the reasons for struggle will always be with us. I’m hoping that the struggle is with us because that means that we have a will and desire to face it.

Struggle is a good thing because oppression is a natural reality and without struggle oppression… oppression happens unabated.

Think of the struggle as beautiful because you are embracing it and you are embracing the legacy of people who have struggled on behalf of what is right and unfortunately in this world we live in, working for what is right will always be a struggle.

New teachers, don’t wait for that struggle to go away because you will be disheartened! Just pray for — hope — that you have the strength to struggle because you are inheriting a legacy of greatness. Critical hope is essential to our future as a profession, as it has been essential to the past. The next movement will be fueled by it.