by Alisha Tillery
Special to The New Tri-State Defender
A sea of blue-and-white clad flash mob participants flowed onto the parking lot of the early polling site at White Station Church of Christ. Soon came this chant: "I stand for children!"
Stand for Children supporters gathered as a flash mob to show a unified front for the future of children in Memphis and Shelby County, voting early for the seven candidates endorsed by the organization.
Early voting, which begin July 13, ends on Saturday, July 28.
An education advocacy organization, Stand is committed to helping to change the political landscape in education for children in grades K-12. Through rallies and education forums, Stand for Children Tennessee focuses on informing the community about what it considers the pertinent issues in the school system.
"With so much focus right now on the municipalities and their ability to form municipal school districts, we believe it is time to bring attention back to the Unified Shelby County School Board races," said Mark Sturgis, Stand for Children Memphis director.
"We believe these races are the most important in the history of Shelby County. The flash mob idea is just one way we wanted to show the community."
Stand for Children supporters and staff includes education activists, parents, teachers and community members.
Ludovic Bruneau, field director, works with Stand for Children to update the community about elections, including the consequences and the candidates. He is an educator, and also a parent.
"What's important for me, as a parent, is that these candidates continue to work on making sure that there is a quality teacher in every classroom and to continue to push for research in what defines a quality teacher," Bruneau said. "We should know what makes them an effective teacher."
Dorcea Brown, canvass lead and a teacher in Memphis City Schools, was also there in support. Interacting with people in the community, she's cited a trend.
"They want more information about their candidate. Why should they really go out and vote?"
Stand for Children plans more events leading up to the Aug. 2 election, including a huge volunteer effort to canvass the county with parents on July 28 and encourage voters to cast a ballot for children.
(For more information about Stand for Children Tennessee, visit www.stand.org/tennessee or get involved via Facebook at www.facebook.com/standtennessee.)