Like many of my friends and neighbors in town, we moved to Montclair for the benefit of our children, to learn, grow and become part of this very special community that is likely to welcome a diverse family like ours (I am a Boricua and my husband Jamaican).

Unfortunately, I have been forced into educational activism because the reality of the Montclair Public Schools has not lived up to their promise, especially when it comes to BIPOC children and families in our community.

As a member of the Montclair NAACP, Montclair PTA Council and other community organizations, I can attest firsthand to the inadequacies, imbalances and injustices that plague the Montclair Public Schools. Those who are not aggressive or do not have resources or connections are being left behind. Our voices are not being heard in the many organizations that form the backbone of the political machine of Montclair and Essex County that in reality run our town and its schools.

Today, we vote only for our mayor and councilpersons. That gives normal people only one chance every four years to make their voice heard. But starting next week, we can move toward a system in which our voices would be heard every year, and specifically on the issues that matter most to the least heard among us.

Our current mayor was quoted this week refusing to apologize for his mastery of dark money in his day job as head of the state’s biggest educational union. His voice is certainly being heard. Now if only the rest of us could have ours heard more clearly. This is why I am voting emphatically “yes” for an elected Board of Education and encourage you to use your precious vote likewise.

Obdulia Miranda-Woodley


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