Local elections prove we can take back the Legislature in November, and is an indicator of winning nationally

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Stand up. Speak up. It’s your turn.

On March 8, New Hampshire voters made it clear that there is overwhelmingly strong support for public education. Despite extreme right-wing attempts to derail the teaching of history and discussions of racism in our classrooms, most of the local candidates who supported honest, accurate and fully-funded education won their races. This was in stark contrast to the bills banning divisive concepts and propping up private schools with taxpayer money, that Governor Sununu allowed to be amended to the 2021 state budget bill last summer.

This happened because parents, students, educators, and the community worked together to defeat opponents of public education. Even in locations that are often considered more conservative hotbeds like Merrimack Valley, Bedford, and Weare, we saw victories that demonstrate broad support for strong public education. In Claremont, there was an extraordinary election in which Rights & Democracy (RAD) endorsed candidate Whitney Skillen, a Bipoc leader, ran as a write-in candidate, won her race.

Following her win, Whitney said: “I believe strong public education is the bedrock of our democracy. It makes our communities stronger and healthier. In order for communities to thrive it is a moral imperative to offer free, high-quality education to everyone. When communities come together on values of honest, accurate, and fully funded education, and we rally around these candidates with that voice, and organize to support them we win for everyone in our community.”

The results of these New Hampshire school board elections are further proof that despite the loud voices that we see at times and on Fox News dominating school board meetings, when we organize, we can unite a majority of people behind honest, accurate and fully-funded public education. Rights & Democracy is committed to carry the momentum from this wave of wins to November, and ensure that people come out to elect a State Legislature that will repeal the regressive laws that are damaging our public education system.

We believe these local wins are a great indicator of what we can accomplish this November. Just as people showed up in greater numbers for these school board elections, they can show up to unseat dangerous state legislators who have not only impeded much-needed progress, but have taken New Hampshire backward. As students, parents, teachers, and communities feel not only abandoned, but attacked, people across the state are ready for real change.

Rights & Democracy is proud to have supported candidates in running for office in this and the past election through our candidate trainings, and we are proud to continue to offer this starting again in April so that a slate of candidates will win in November who are committed to not only to repeal racist laws, but to implement bills that support strong public education. You can sign up here for trainings.

Rights & Democracy sees this struggle in New Hampshire as part of a broader movement for education justice in this country, and we are thrilled to be part of a new national initiative called H.E.A.L. Together (Honest Education, Action & Leadership). Initially born from the politically motivated attacks on Critical Race Theory (CRT), H.E.A.L. Together officially launches on March 30 and will provide tools for students, parents, families and educators to build support for strong public schools as the foundation for a multiracial democracy where everyone can thrive.

What happened in New Hampshire this election cycle is no miracle. We believe this can and will happen across the country, as eyes are on our state as a testing ground for national agendas by right-wing think tanks. The voices of division may be loud, but our organizing has proven we can unite a majority of people behind a public education system in which all our students can flourish.  Will you join us?  Sign up to get involved! https://www.rights-democracy.org/heal-together/

Beg to differ? Agree to disagree? Your commentary on topics of general interest as well as rebuttals are welcome. Send submissions for consideration to publisher@manchesterinklink.com, subject line: The Soapbox.

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About this Author

Asma Elhuni

Asma Elhuni has been serving as the NH Movement Politics Director of Rights & Democracy since 2020 and helped build H.E.A.L. Together New Hampshire. She is transitioning into a national role with Race Forward to serve as the Lead Organizer on the H.E.A.L. Together (Honest Education, Action & Leadership) initiative. Join her for the national launch at 7PM EST on Wednesday, March 30, 2022: https://bit.ly/healtogether2022