By Jumoke Hinton-Hodge, OUSD Trustee, District 3
I woke up most of those mornings before board meetings with a prayer that I might be in service. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve. What an incredibly humbling experience working inside the complexity of OUSD — hearing the voices of young people, the struggles of parents, along with the inspiring hope they all embodied.
I have been honored to serve them.
Since I began serving on the board in 2008, I have witnessed the incredible growth of many of Oakland’s young people. They are now educators in Detroit, attorneys in Oakland, health care providers across the nation, influencers in the world!
Some have come back to Oakland to serve. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have served hundreds of thousands of youth of Oakland and support their innate brilliance.
I have often said that I was responsible for the most essential asset of Oakland – Our Youth!
It has been my job to cultivate their brilliance and ensure that educators believe in the brilliance of our students. My prayer for OUSD is they will continue to take courageous steps to interrupt the status quo and eradicate mindsets that have low expectations of our students. We should be bolder in serving the children – they deserve better.
Thank you, parents of Oakland, no matter the school your child attended. You trusted us with your greatest gift. You brought us your best, and every day, I was mindful our work should have always been focused on students’ success.
My prayer for the children of Oakland: Success is yours – Know your gift and don’t let anybody steal your joy! It’s your right to demand every adult invest in your education and your wellbeing.
To the newly elected trustees, I pray you will care more for the children than your endorsements, your affiliations, your degrees and simply serve the children. At every board meeting, please ask the question, “How are the Children?”
I have been on a faith walk as a trustee for 12 years. I learned how to be courageous, speak my truth, listen to multiple perspectives, and truly respect and understand the power I was given was to ensure the liberation of our children. That was the most important part of my service.
There aren’t enough words (or strong enough memory) to recognize all of the people and capture how many walked alongside me on this journey. Oscar Wright created a pathway for so many. I have some beautiful angels walking with me in spirit – the Honorable Alice Spearman, Timothy White, Nedir Bey, Micshell Bunton, Rachel Willis Henry, and the Honorable Sylvester Hodges.
There were many days when I would ask, “What would Dr Marcus Foster, Dr. Ida Jackson and my dad, Oscar Lee Hinton, Do? I stand on some mighty shoulders.
I am grateful. Looking forward to continued work for the liberation of my people!
Director Jumoke Hinton-Hodge served OUSD District 3 from 2008-2020.