Are You Woke?
As a white, Jewish woman of a certain age living in an affluent Connecticut town, I may not be what you picture when you hear the term “woke.” But am I woke? I am certainly striving to be.
What does it mean to be woke? The dictionary defines woke as “being aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice); it means rejecting the growing pressure to retreat into cynicism and hopelessness, but rather to take a stand and be active; challenging injustices and racism in our communities and fighting hatred and discrimination wherever it rises.”
Rejecting cynicism and hopelessness, taking a stand against racism and injustice, fighting discrimination in all its forms? If that’s what being woke stands for, I will proudly be called woke.
Sadly, there are Republicans throughout our country and right here in Woodbridge who are determined to cast woke and similar ideals as negative and pejorative. In Florida, the Republican Governor recently said, “We can never, ever surrender to woke ideology,” as if it were a force intended to rip our society apart, rather than to ensure that we all can participate in our society with respect and dignity.
In Woodbridge, there has been a related effort to convert the truly American ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion into threatening, subversive terms. A document recently posted on the Woodbridge Republican Town Committee Facebook page claimed that DEI is a “racist Marxist-based ideology that [the Amity School District] is using to indoctrinate our children.”
Is this really about Marxism coming to Woodbridge, or rather part of a well-documented, nationally coordinated effort of the far right to gain local political power through egregious scare tactics? Tactics I might add, that are nothing new in human history and have led to censorship, book banning, and other forms of oppression (which we’re already seeing happen in communities around our nation).
This type of misinformation is not limited to attacks on concepts like woke. In our recent Amity budget process, we heard a small handful of community members allege that a surplus in the Amity School System budget is synonymous with failure, or worse, is an intentional practice to improperly use taxpayer dollars. In fact, the contrary is true. Our school system administration successfully identifies grants and efficiencies to save money, which is returned to taxpayers. That is clearly success!
I will always take the side of optimism and inclusion over fear and exclusion. It is one of the reasons I am proud to co-chair our Town Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. For those of you who are familiar with Woodbridge’s history, we were not always the increasingly diverse community we now celebrate. It has taken the work of Town leaders, individuals in our community, and a growing number of people from diverse backgrounds who have chosen Woodbridge as their home to make this happen.
If you are interested in learning more about the Woodbridge Democrats, please get in touch with us by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website: http:// www.woodbridgedems.org.
<span class="fineprint">This is an opinion not necessarily endorsed by the Woodbridge Town News.</span>
This is an opinion not necessarily endorsed by the Woodbridge Town News.