02 Apr Editorial: Nebraska’s New Silent Treatment
Editorial: Nebraska’s New Silent Treatment
By Anne DeLuca
This morning I taught a lecture to my students about constructing an argument. We talk about identifying a problem in the world, finding out what causes it, and propose a solution. While my students were working, I came across something that given my recent lecture, I could not ignore. A Nebraska student from Gordon-Rushville High School was invited to perform his state championship winning performance as a “Best of Speech” segment. It will be recorded in Lincoln, Nebraska to air on NET, an organization which features issues that currently affect the state of Nebraska. Recently, the student’s coach was contacted by the Nebraska State Athletics Association requesting that he removed some content because “Nebraska wasn’t ready for this.” His topic: acceptance.
As I followed this developing story during my student’s work time, I started to experience several emotions. Here I am teaching my classes to identify problems in our world and to stand up, while my home state is showcasing the opposite. I felt hurt. I was sad that an organization and competition which I spent years of my high school career working toward was censoring students. I felt embarrassed that an organization which helped me get into college has miss-stepped. When I started seeing all of the support on social media I was immediately pumped up!
I posted on facebook and emailed a few coaches and I thought “Okay let’s blow this story up!” I even thought about telling my current students because I could feel the momentum. I felt empowered to fight this fight because fighting “the man” with an army of supporters is powerful. We can flood the NSAA’s inbox and leave 100s of messages on their answering machine. The director, Ms. Blanford-Green has not returned my phone call; however, she has been in contact with former Bellevue East student Eli Barts. Eli Barts quoted her as saying “I don’t want to have the NSAA be deemed as having an agenda.”
To let this student perform his championship winning piece UNSENSORED would not further an “agenda.” His performance would be educational, honest, progressive, and a WIN in my book. So, let’s speak as a group. Let this Gordon-Rushville High School student perform his speech uncensored. I encourage you to write your letter, call the NSAA and spread the word.
HERE IS THE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Phone: 402-489-0386 and the director’s email (Rhonda Blanford-Green) is firstname.lastname@example.org. The director of speech for NSAA is Deb Velder, email@example.com
I would like to conclude with some final thoughts inspired by this student and coach. This entire uproar started with ONE person speaking up. It started with one Nebraskan who refused to stay silent. ONE PERSON. Currently it is costing me nothing to write a letter, a blog, or leave a message on an answering machine because I see an army of people fighting for this cause. I have nothing to lose. But remember, this army started with one. This started with someone fighting against something bigger than them. Think about the last time you were alone and stood up for something regardless of judgments or consequences. Have you ever done that? Listening to a boss, corporation, peer, organization, mentor, or co-worker say racist, sexist, religious, homophobic, and ignorant things is something we will all face. Too often we stay silent. So here is my challenge inspired by this student and coach.
Remember if anyone treats you unfair; DO NOT thank them for their time.
If someone says something you don’t agree with; DO NOT stay silent.
DO NOT laugh at a joke which makes you uncomfortable.
DO NOT agree when you disagree.
DO NOT let your voice be bullied.
STAND UP AND SPEAK UP!
…I’m sick of the silent treatment.