Progressive Women of Pelham endorses Powers for school board seat

Editor’s note: This press release was provided by the Progressive Women of Pelham.

Janice Powers. (Deborah Lowery)

May 11, 2021, Pelham, New York.  Progressive Women of Pelham (PWP) has voted to endorse Janice Powers as Trustee for the Pelham Board of Education.

“Primary for us is the imperative of responding to the voices of students who have told us, through surveys, reports, and interviews, at rallies and vigils, and on social media as captured by the Pelham Laundry exhibit, that there is an urgent need for progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion in our schools” says Executive Director Paula Wood.

“Our young people have spoken, and we are listening,” says Executive Board member Solange Bitol-Hansen. “There has been a concerning persistence of incidents of racial slurs and otherwise harmful or unwelcoming treatment that is injurious not only to individual students but also to the student body as a whole. This breakdown in civility creates an environment that is not conducive to learning and growth.”

“Representation matters,” says Executive Board Member Atasha Greene. “Janice Powers is the leader our school community needs for this moment. She is a skilled advocate, and her professional experience as an Assistant Attorney General will bring needed expertise to the Board, which must navigate the complex regulations that are unique to public schools.”

“As a community leader,” says Greene, “Janice founded Bridges of Pelham to bring parents in the BIPOC community together as a cohesive group to share ideas and better advocate for their children. Bridges has given parents a voice, and worked with District leaders to recognize the impact that racial slurs have had and the need to be proactive in a school environment where these incidents can take place.”

“Janice is the candidate who most aligns with our organization’s core principles,” says Alexy Scholl of PWP’s Advisory Council, “which include a dedication to civil rights and social justice, and particularly a commitment to address inequity that results from systemic discrimination.”

There are five candidates running for two available seats, with the election to take place on Tuesday, May 18, from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. in the Pelham Middle School Gym. Says PWP Advisory Council member Janna Zagari, “in a crowded field, it can be difficult to choose among candidates. Our consideration was to center the needs of the students, and this is reflected in our endorsement of Janice Powers.”

“A tireless advocate both in her profession and in her community volunteerism and leadership, Janice is our first choice for the Pelham School Board of Trustees,” says Policy Director Deborah Lowery Knapp. “Civic participation demands a second choice be made as well. We will each cast our votes for the second seat between the remaining two most progressive candidates and urge every voter to make a considered second choice as well. In this very consequential race, which will reflect on our community and directly affect the young people that we are raising, as a village, for years to come, we must make hard choices, while still appreciating the level of engagement that allows our democratic process to be vibrant and all of the promise that it holds.”