Tuesday, November 20, 2012

May I Have Your Attention, Please...

For about two months, I felt ignored by AISD.  With about 86,000 students and all of the constituent concerns that must come with such a large district, I guess it's no wonder.  I didn't make a complete nuisance of myself, but I stayed in contact, let them know I wasn't going anywhere. I did think it would occur to someone that the media is all about boobs lately.  The Time cover, Adrienne Pine, Applebee's and a Georgia church.  I mean, come on.  But we seem to have taken them by surprise.  All those weeks of rare two- and three-sentence emails, and then - you.

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.  The only change I managed on my own was to get a rigid, written policy in place that violates our rights.  I talked to a mom last night who never worried about breastfeeding at school until she read my story.

What a huge fail. 

But with your help, we have their attention now.

We had several speakers last night, and another few people in the audience supporting us.  And this with less than 48 hours notice, on the Monday before Thanksgiving after nine o'clock at night - and all of us, parents.  We were a powerful presence in that meeting, and with all of the letters they'd been receiving, over 900 signatures on our petition and over 700 Facebook "likes" at the time - they get it now.  Maybe not what we want, not why it matters - not all of them.  We still have work to do.  But they get that we are out here, doing that work.  They understand that this is not an obscure concern raised by only one mother who will slink away into silence.

Thank you, for amplifying my voice.  Out of many, we are one.

At the conclusion of Citizen Communication, we were all chatting in the lobby when the superintendent and chief of staff approached us.  We spoke for at least half an hour.  A lot of questions were asked.  It's not going to be as simple as I'd like.  There will be red tape and hoops, I think.  But we'll get there, thanks to the combined efforts of a lot of people.  Knowing our numbers are growing, they may manage to reduce some of that red tape. 

One day in Austin, no mom picking up her child from school, or visiting her older child at lunch or volunteering on campus, will have to worry that a staff member will confront here and tell her, in essence, that there is something inherently wrong with the fact that she is breastfeeding her baby.

I hope that the tremendous support we've garnered reaches outside of our city, serving to show mothers that there is support out there.  I nursed in public for six years and only ever received encouragement until now.

Now, let's keep their attention.  Keep on keepin' on.  Send letters, call, share the petition, Facebook page, this blog, the twitter feed.  They want balance.  Let's show them we will tip the scales.