Message from the President
The formation of the West Texas Area Alliance of Black School Educators is the culmination of tears that were shed, a lot of sweat, grassroots efforts, and in a case or two … even blood. My name is Dr. Tyra Williams, and I am the Founding President of THE West Texas Area Alliance of Black School Educators. WTAABSE is a history-making affiliate and we are grateful to serve the Midland, Odessa, and Big Spring communities. This affiliate will be forever grateful to Executive Director Phyllis Williams and Former TABSE President John Washington for all of the support and patience you extended to us as we worked to become an affiliate. “Support” truly is an action word.
I want to thank each and every founding member and officer of WTAABSE. The fact that you were hyper-focused on making things better for our children to the point you supported an outsider to get things done as a collective is not lost on me! You each bring something that is very needed to the WTAABSE table and each of you is an answer to prayer. This collective has some of the most profound innovative and creative minds in the world. This journey to becoming an affiliate was not for everyone: you have shown a willingness, bravery, and a level of dedication that is unparalleled.
WTAABSE is here to be a bridge that will change the landscape of West Texas for years to come. Although we advocate for secondary and post-secondary students, I find it most noteworthy to emphasize that there are local school districts where African American students make up less than five percent of the student population, but more than 90 percent of the suspensions. That’s astounding and it’s a problem. We seek to be a part of the solution. We are here to stay, and we are dedicated to advocacy and action.
We have a lot of work to do, including training, community service, and high-level research to name a few. But above all, advocacy for African American students in secondary and post-secondary educational environments is our priority. That is why WTAABSE is important to this area and other areas in West Texas.
In closing, when we were preparing for our Installation service, my mother shared the poem “It Couldn’t Be Done” with me. On behalf of our affiliate and all of the challenges that we faced to become an affiliate, we dedicate that poem to every person that was ever told that something was impossible for them to do.
I love my parents for many reasons (they are now and have always been awesome)! They always impressed upon me that I was better than no one and that no one was better than me. For that reason, I grew up knowing that I could do anything that had been done by others and perhaps find ways to make what had been done previously even better. I’ve spent my entire career working to help students and staff understand that their beginnings do not have to be the conclusion of their story. Who your parents and siblings ended up being and doing has no bearing on you. Every day, you are granted an opportunity to change the trajectory of your life. That opportunity exists regardless of race, socioeconomic status, education level, gender, and the like.
No matter your dream, career ambition, or fear that you are afraid to face, remember the words of this poem and push through every time you are told you can’t! Use the doubts of others as motivation to prove something to yourself. Along the way to pushing to the other side of through, you may face times that you want to give up and throw in the towel, but I challenge you to keep going. You may face days where the voices of those that said you couldn’t resound loudly, but I challenge you to keep going. Go until you can only hear and see victory. Go until you reach your goal, push past your goal into excellence then look back and see the handiworks of the Creator. Believing in yourself is the only way you can truly advocate for others and it’s the only avenue for success. So, just in case there is something that someone somewhere may have told you something was impossible for you to achieve, just smile … you may even want to thank them … because their words will push you to the other side of through. As we advocate for students, let us not forget that message to them is also a message to us: the sky is the limit for ALL of us. We must never stop dreaming, believing, and achieving!
The only thing that can stop you IS you! Go forth and be great!
Tyra Williams, Ph.D.
Founding President of The West Texas Area Alliance
Chair- TABSE Journal