Russelle Ann Bradbury · July 29, 2020

Tucked into all the recent chaos, there is an election on August 6. I introduce myself, Russelle Ann Bradbury, to you as a transparent, strong, new and prepared Nashville school board candidate.

I am a parent of three Metro Nashville District 9 students, my number one job. I am also a volunteer PTO board member, running club lead coach, and room parent at our local elementary school. Additionally, I am an active volunteer in my undergraduate local alumni groups.

Professionally, I work to pay half of our family’s bills because I believe in partnership. I specialize in collaborative nonprofit grant writing and project management, research, budgeting, and reporting. I work to provide services to humans impacted by poverty and policy such as public school students, artists, persons with disabilities, single parents, immigrants.

I learned 30 years too late what needs urgently to be taught at home and in school. American life is inequitable, and it is on purpose. In the last four months, on top of COVID, tornados, and societal disruption - civil rights is in the limelight. Finally, today’s leaders, families, and educators are getting informed, getting involved and truth telling about inequalities, shaming, and bullying.

The truth: centuries of intentional national, state, and local policies have filled only the pockets of the white and wealthy. These purposefully inequitable policies are supported by the majority of American voters repeatedly every time we vote, invest in Wall Street and consume corporate America. And these superior-only policies, year over year, in every city, town and public school, crush the chances for achievement, success, and wealth for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and other minority groups impacted by poverty and policy, including our public school children. This is the ugly not-so-little truth.

Public schools are influenced by families of privilege, influence, and assumed power. American adults and children have suffered for 60 years since the white man beat on his chest, "I know how to fix civil rights in schools" and as a result redlined districts, yanked teachers of color from classrooms and began another "phase" of assimilation keeping the power with the privilege. Since the 1960s many large, public school districts have not been providing an equitable education, opportunities, or resources to lower income, Black and Brown communities, families, schools, and students, and it’s on purpose.

This week, now more than halfway through early voting and one week before Nashville’s August 6 election - my own anxieties of parenting, partnering, working, and running a first-time, grassroots, campaign during COVID head up another roller coaster incline. However, through the whiplash of current events, an unexpected light emerges: the conversation I’ve been having with constituents for four months is coming mainstream.

It’s time we, human adults, come together to acknowledge and to overturn failed policy and practice.

  • Every child deserves the same education, opportunities, resources, and support.

  • Children are not expendable.

  • No voices should be sidelined for a privileged, whites-only agenda.

  • Shaming and bullying is unacceptable.

I would encourage you to use this blog to begin difficult conversations. Forward this to families who may be searching for a new direction with our schools. Our mission, and our voice is a collective one.

I realized that my experiences, drive, and life purpose aligned as a school board representative. As one of nine school board members, I can impact progressive, inclusive, anti-racist, people-over-profit educational policy and represent and better the educational outcomes for all Nashville children.

I innovatively, intentionally, and compassionately designed an independent, people-over-profit, non-partisan grassroots campaign with a $100 cap to validate my fresh, new voice without owed debts. As a first-time politician, I encourage all voters to study public candidate campaign financial statements like I have. I’ve received under $100 donations from over 200 individuals -- a diverse and compassionate group of colleagues, friends, neighbors, volunteers, strangers, and family members: evidence that I am endorsed by the people.

Last week, as early voting commenced, I became aware of two posts that my current school board representative [who is also the treasurer and number one endorser of my only opponent] made on her 4,000 follower Facebook page. In these posts, she made incorrect accusations and flash judgements about:

  • me - her constituent

  • an entire group of educators

  • another first-time board candidate and parent

  • another parent and community volunteer who was nominated to serve on the board as an appointee

  • an entire group of parents and families that feel their best choice, the best education for their student(s) is at a charter school.

I will not tolerate my current representative shaming me or any other human for false affiliation claims or validated ones.

I will not tolerate any elected representative shaming educators, families, and students for making a choice--any choice--that will provide the best educational pathway for themselves and the children in their lives.

We are in a modern day, dystopian crisis. For those who serve in honorable, distinguished leadership positions to represent the best interests of all. It’s time to put aside personal politics and turn focus back to the mission to bring the best education to every child, everyday, even virtually. My FAQ in response to recent constituent questions is an attached addendum.

I am grateful that in this pivotal moment in history I decided to accept the challenge and share my voice with Nashville as a candidate to serve as school board representative. We cannot go back to business as usual. With the support of my partner, my family, my colleagues, my co-volunteers, my neighbors, and my friends, I am focused on the mission. With courage I will continue to fight injustice and amplify all voices. I offer District 9 myself, brave and fully prepared. I am a bold leader for the future that all children deserve.

Your vote is your voice. Please get informed before you vote.

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