On June 2, I attended my first school board meeting. Although I’ve been a resident of Midlothian for 16 years, I never felt that my voice mattered in a town that’s 87 percent white. I’ve voted in every election — it’s a privilege that I don’t take lightly. But that was the extent of my community involvement.
That is, until I received a district-wide email from Midlothian ISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter about an emergency school board meeting to address School Board Trustee Tami Tobey dressing in blackface at a “ghetto themed” party. I knew I could no longer be silent.
I was one of a handful of people who shared my concerns during public comments at the June 2 meeting. I was devastated when Tami refused to resign, and I left in tears. How could this be acceptable in 2020, and what type of message does that send to our kids?
My tears would soon be turned into purpose.
I’d heard about a Black Lives Matter protest in front of the QT, but I did not believe it. I was beyond surprised to see people of all races show up. I was encouraged by the turnout and thought there had to be more people in Midlothian who were hungry for change. So I started the Facebook group, Midlothians For Change. Within a few days, we had over 300 people join. Since then we’ve grown to over 800 members.
Midlothians For Change (MFC) is a solutions-driven organization that ensures and promotes racial equity, equality and inclusion throughout the city. As a community-led organization, we are working together to build collaborative relationships with the city’s government, schools, businesses, and, most importantly, each other. We are holding the city accountable and serving as an ally and resource to ensure Midlothian shines as bright as DFW’s Southern Star.
MFC has four focus areas – City Council, Midlothian Police Department, MISD and Community Engagement. We sent out a survey to MFC members to gauge their interest, and have since formed committees focused on each of the four areas.
We’re not just a place to post rants on Facebook — we are committed to doing the work! Being true to who we are, we will begin posting a monthly MFC Solutions Progress Report. This report will inform our members and the public of the great work we are doing both publicly and behind the scenes. In the short time since starting, we’ve already had a few wins. We are launching a Candidates and Conversations series for the upcoming elections, sharing opportunities for our neighbors to get involved in Leadership Midlothian, educating people on how to apply to be on boards and commissions in the city, and soon we will be hosting voter registration drives.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what would become of Midlothians For Change when it began. What I’ve learned is there are people in Midlothian who want the same thing as me — and others who are eager to learn. The late Congressman John Lewis said: “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something!” We at MFC are doing something.
I look forward to you joining us and being the change we want to see. Please join our Facebook page – Midlothians For Change or feel free to email us a firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be launching a website soon! Stay tuned!
Symphony P. Lowe