( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Ford and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Team Up to Create “Teacher Heroes of COVID-19” to Celebrate African-American Teachers
ENSPIRE Contributor: Keegan Kerns
Even under the best of circumstances, the teachers in our communities bear an enormous burden and responsibility in helping to raise and educate future generations. Every student and every interaction can be of great importance. Still, with the terrible impact of COVID-19, the role of the teacher has become even more difficult as they try to navigate online environments, health regulations, and a job that frequently puts them at risk during this pandemic. Yet, these teacher heroes have continued to form the core and heart of our communities despite the danger it poses to them. They should be applauded for it, which is why Ford and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition are seeking nominations for unsung teacher heroes during COVID-19.
This unique program arranged between Ford and Rainbow PUSH is the “Teacher Heroes of COVID-19” edition of the 2021 Ford Freedom Unsung awards program, in which the automaker’s philanthropic arm creates an award series to celebrate ordinary individuals doing extraordinary acts in the African-American community. This specific “Teacher Heroes of Covid-19” celebration hopes to recognize the significant contributions of African-American teachers during this time because COVID-19 has disproportionately hit African American communities. Yet, teachers in these communities have continued to give their all so that students can have the best education possible.
Pamela Alexander, director of Community Development at the Ford Motor Company Fund, spoke to their motivations in creating the event, saying, “In the face of tremendous difficulty, educators heroically resolved to reach and teach students in novel and imaginative ways. They acted with a rare show of determination because they recognized that any lapse in learning could harm their students’ prospects and future. Teachers are essential, and we are proud to honor their selfless acts.”
To honor these selfless acts, individuals can go to Ford Freedom Unsung to nominate a K-12 educator who has demonstrated above and beyond dedication to the education of their students despite the difficulties of virtual learning and the many other hardships of the pandemic. Entries can include a brief summary of how this teacher has gone above and beyond in the lives of their students, as well as how they have impacted their larger community positively in this time, and 25 winners will be selected to receive a $1,000 award.
While 25 winners don’t do justice to all the teacher heroes who have suffered and struggled to ensure quality education for their students during this challenging time, it is a start, and it is an example we can all learn from. As we all know, teachers provide a fantastic service with little recognition or pay, and we must come together in our communities to support them if they are going to give everything to help our children. It is the least we can do to support these teacher heroes.
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