As the fireworks burst into the night sky this Fourth of July, these explosive displays evoke memories of my deployments, where each blast was a stark reminder of our fragility and sacrifice. Unlike many, I donned the uniform at 17, ready to lay down my life for this country. Today, I grapple with a different kind of conflict—a battle not on foreign soil but within the very fabric of my community. 

Many of us tirelessly advocate for unity and equity in our city. Together, we face the harsh reality that "co-location" is a euphemism for school closures, disproportionately affecting our predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

It’s a painful reminder that while I fought for freedom abroad, true freedom at home remains elusive. Disparities within the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and the broader city of Houston underscore this harsh truth: independence is not a given; it is a continuous struggle.

HISD faces numerous challenges: removal of principals, teachers, and librarians of the year, teacher vacancies in the thousands, TEA control, and a $4.4 billion bond proposal that includes co-location plans. This bond proposal, which can be on the November election ballot if the Board of Managers passes it, is needed but will most likely be rejected due to lack of confidence in the current leadership.

The New Education System (NES) has been forced upon us without real data to back it up. Leadership will say it's about large urban school whole transformation, but oftentimes our community is told what we need instead of being asked what we need and listened to. Fifteen schools will unjustly be closed or co-located, yet $253.3 million is found to expand NES. Why can't the same funds be found to keep all schools open? Never forget, we were a B-rated district before TEA took over, and Wheatley had a C rating even though it’s used as the scapegoat for the takeover.

Houston itself is not without its problems. Infrastructure issues lead to frequent flooding, disproportionately affecting low-income neighborhoods. Public transportation remains insufficient, limiting access to education and job opportunities. Economic disparities continue to widen, and affordable housing is becoming increasingly scarce. These issues are all interconnected, reflecting broader American struggles with equity and access to resources.

As proud Americans, we take pride in our country. However, this pride is tempered by persistent inequities. The America we envision, one where every child has an equal chance, is still a work in progress. It demands action and genuine commitment to justice and equality. The term "co-located" schools is merely a softer term for closures that disproportionately affect our most vulnerable communities.

We are all human, sharing common ground, and through collaboration, we can achieve equity. This fight is bigger than any single bond measure or policy—it is about true independence, where every parent can view our district and city as beacons of empowerment for all students and residents, not just a select few. As Frederick Douglass once said, "The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common."

On this Independence Day, I urge you to join this fight. It’s not just about celebrations and symbols; it’s about realizing the promise of freedom and equality. Together, we can transform our communities into true catalysts of empowerment, ensuring that the sacrifices made for this country were not in vain. Register to vote, find me if you need to be registered, and exercise your freedom to vote in November so we can make the American dream a reality for all.

Savant Moore, HISD Trustee District 2, Proud Army Ranger Veteran

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