She upsets the status quo


by Keisha Bell

“Status quo” means the existing state of affairs. If the current state of affairs oppresses marginalized groups, then any member of these oppressed groups who is determined to achieve mainstream success will have to defy it. In doing so, she will find unexpected supporters, as well as disappointments along the way. Still, she must press on.

Who would have thought that a child from the projects with a drug addicted parent and impregnated by the age of 17 would one day be named the Connecticut Teacher of the Year? Oftentimes, it is easier to believe that the snapshot of the woman in the nice dress and the beautiful words never had a worry. Her obstacles serve as preparation for a bigger purpose.

In 2016, Jahana Hayes was in fact recognized by President Barack Obama as the National Teacher of the Year. This was a major accomplishment. However, Hayes was not done defying the odds.

In 2018, she received the Democratic nomination for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District. In doing so, she defeated a party-endorsed and two-time candidate for lieutenant governor in a race most, according to her, said she “had no chance and no business trying to upset the status quo.”

History, however, may be made because she did not listen.

If Hayes wins in Nov., she will make history as the first black woman to win a Connecticut Congressional seat. In addition, her victory will make her the first black congresswoman from New England. Her chances of securing victory look good.

Recently, Hayes received a fundraising boost from United States Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren. Warren’s support proves that many times assistance will arrive from unexpected places.

There are many people who are unhappy with the existing state of affairs. They recognize that for change to happen, they must support people who are different than what they are accustomed to seeing.

Progress, sometimes, shows up in the body of a woman. Likewise, she may be African American. Furthermore, she may be someone whom you have never met. Embrace her.

Keisha Bell

Keisha Bell

At a candidate forum, Hayes shared that she knew what it’s like to go to bed to gunshots outside and to wake up in the morning to a dead body in the hallway. The diversity of her life experience had prepared her to represent both the oppressed and the privileged.

Be clear of your position regarding oppressed groups. Know that including her upsets status quo. She will move us forward.

Keisha Bell is an attorney, author, and public servant.

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