Support Long

I miss the diversity I experienced living in Hartford, Detroit, Newark and Milwaukee. Being invited to play dominoes with Jamaican neighbors and knowing my Latino friends would help pull our fence back into alignment after a car ran into it — those were good times, and those were good and generous people.

But recently I've learned about thoughtless actions which resulted in painful encounters and unpleasant memories for our students at Ashland High School. Those to which I refer have been racial in nature and have left students of color deeply harmed. This is a terrible and troubling situation for me, for us all and for our town.

As our kids graduate, leave our homes and enter a world they will be responsible for and participate in creating, we want them to have more than tolerance and more than holding back harmful impulses. It's our job to instill deep regard, respect and appreciation for those who are different. How else can the world work equally well for everybody?

I hope Kamilah Long is chosen to fill the vacancy on the Ashland District School Board. If appointed, she would be the first African American woman to serve on the board. She is a producer, artist and professor who holds a Master in Fine Arts. Prior to moving to Ashland in 2014, Kamilah served as Creative Consultant for the Lowndes County Board of Education and worked as a Creative Producer at New Village Productions in Montgomery, Alabama. Since moving to Ashland she has supported La Clinica’s fundraising event "Raise Your Heart to Health." Most recently Long has overseen the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s ambitious $5.1 million “Access for All” campaign.

“I believe that students of color, including my child, should be able to walk around school without facing racial harassment,” Long said. "I want to serve on the School Board to prioritize creating a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students.”

Kamilah Long will do a great job on the Ashland District School Board. Please join me in supporting her to fill the vacancy.

Joanna Niemann

Ashland