Letter from Ann Manheimer

Dear MSD Students,

It feels like a long time since this country has had such reason to hope. You are giving that to us. I grieve for your friends and colleagues and for what you’ve suffered, and yet I’m heartened by your strong, brave, and intelligent response. At the same time, I am so, so very sorry you’ve had this burden forced on you by years of national inaction.

Just a few weeks ago, I was teaching my third-grade English Language Learner students about Marjory Stoneman Douglas, an extraordinary, brave woman and who made a huge difference in your state. She would be very proud of you.

When I was in college, I gave up on heroes. Looking around me, I saw that they were all flawed and that change was not happening fast enough. I’ve come full circle since then. My transformation began when I had the honor to write about Martin Luther King, Jr. who, flawed as he was, lived a life of courage and devotion. Since then, I’ve come to learn about and appreciate many other heroes with the integrity to stand for goodness and decency. Now you are among them. Thank you, from deep in my heart.

Here is my pledge – I will support you in any way I can. With my votes, with my words, with my actions. I will march alongside you, I will write in support of you. I have and will donate to your cause. I will do all I can to change our country’s conversation and politics towards honest discourse and social justice for all.

For years, it’s seemed the promises of my generation completely failed. But in you and in your families, I see them blooming again. Please stay strong and know you are not alone.

Ann Manheimer, Author and Teacher