(BALTIMORE – July 27, 2022) – This is a public apology to Ashley E. Esposito and to Salimah Jasani. On a show that I hosted, a couple of school board candidates mischaracterized these two outstanding young women because of their ethnicity. I fell for it without having done my due diligence. And I was wrong.
Thank God, I have spoken to both women and told them that I would do everything I can to correct the situation. Further, I will make my show available to them any time they’d like.
Esposito and Jasani are among 4 school board candidates who will run off in the General Election in November.
Esposito came in 1st in the primary. Jasani came in 4th.
Apri Christina Curley came in second place. Kwame Kenyatta-Bey came in 3rd.
Esposito and Jasani, despite the race-baiting, overcame the misinformation and surpassed critics, including me.
Esposito told Bmorenews that she is Black and Indigenous. “I have African roots, Native American roots, and some European ancestry.”
When asked who she is, she replied, “I’m a mom in Southwest Baltimore who has been in the area since 2008 but Baltimore City since 2016. I’m an Artist. I won the Baltimore Weaver Award for my work in SW Baltimore. I am a part of this whole ‘schools not jails’ effort – ending the school-to-prison pipeline. I’ve worked to change policy by working with education-based groups in Baltimore City.”
She said she had applied to fill a school board appointment but was denied.
“I didn’t get it because I’m not an educator,” she said.
She then noted the four areas of expertise one has to choose from, but none of them really covered her area of expertise.
And boy does she have some experience to pull from: she’s a former foster kid.
“I fell in this gray area. I wanted to bring that perspective – a former foster kid with friends who did not have the wrap-around services they needed. These services made a difference for me, but not all foster kids get that access. My situation wasn’t perfect – I did experience trauma as a child, but the resources were helpful in making sure I didn’t end up worse. That’s where my drive came from to run. When I received a letter saying no, I realized they were not looking for a community perspective. I think my experience doesn’t show well in an appointment process. But then, people I had worked with –parents, teachers, students – suggested for me to run. People in the MD General Assembly in Annapolis were encouraging me. My name was then put forward in one of the coalition groups because I am an unapologetic advocate for students. I have seen a lot of harm from the poorly written policies. That’s my expertise.”
Both of these candidates answered their phones. For me, that is always a beautiful thing, especially if you’re a public figure. #answeryourphone