If you had asked me a year ago if I would have joined another community advocacy group, I would have informed you that I would 100 percent not join. I kept that promise until I received an email from Ariba Qureshi of Project Renaissance in November of 2015. I was informed that I was recommended to be contacted about a new parental voice movement called Nashville Rise. While I told myself not to jump in head first, I agreed to meet Ariba and learn more about Nashville Rise. Because that meeting was so enlightening, I accepted the invitation to come to the first training in December of 2015.
That seminar signed, sealed, and delivered me from the oppression of frustration I have been feeling as a community advocate for public education of K-12 youth. As a product of and a parent of eight children in MNPS, I have been advocating for quality education for all youth for several years now. I have also been collaborating with community leaders, parents, & school staff to implement a strategic SIP that focuses on increasing family engagement.
With half of my children attending Title I and/or Priority/Focus schools, I have to ensure that my children are receiving the same level of education, access to resources, and have qualified educators as any other child that lives in a different zip code. My wish was to align myself with individuals that have the same passion and drive that I have in ensuring no matter the demographics, background, or circumstances all children would receive quality education and wrap-around services.
Being true to my Tennessee roots aka “Bible Belt Country”, the Almighty God blessed my heart by connecting me with Nashville Rise. Yes, as honest as I am, I’m thankful that I lied to myself about joining another group and accepted the calling to be a Parent Captain. Nashville Rise has grown like a rose from concrete. It pushed through all odds to create a platform for parents to voice their stories, their common goals, and showcase their determination to advocate for the most precious asset, our youth. This organization is created, lead and driven by parents from all backgrounds to join together in aspiration of informing, engaging and empowering others.
Dr. Seuss said it best in the Lorax- “Unless someone like you cares an awful lot; Nothing is going to get better. It’s not”. Nashville Rise cares an awful lot about Nashville and its families. It believed that if you are open, inviting, and transparent with parents, collectively you all can unite to achieve great accomplishments. We have informed the community at large about Nashville Rise through a launch, engaged the community through a School Board Candidate Election Forum, and now empowering parents through continued community outreach as well as training seminars. I am forever grateful to Nashville Rise for allowing me to be the change we want to see in the world.
-Angelica Cooks Lucas, Nashville Rise Parent Captain