It is hard to believe that people are capable of such acts. In the end, what has really been accomplished? Did the person or people really get what they want? I somehow doubt it. It is so senseless.

Last weekend I was in Winston-Salem, NC on business. My hotel was next to a Barnes and Noble, so on Saturday I decided to wander in. To my surprise and excitement, Maya Angelou was due to come in and talk about her new book “Mom and Me and Mom”. I couldn’t believe my luck. I had about an hour until it was to start, so I grabbed a little lunch and took a look around.

She was amazing. Her message is so simple and yet profound: “I belong anywhere there are human beings because I am a human being”. She went on to say that she should be where the KKK are because they are human, where the Black Panthers are because they are human. She made no distinction. Love is the answer. If you want to change something in the world, it must start with you. Be the change you want to see in others.

We have heard some of this before, yet here we still are in a very violent world. For me, the answer also lies in education. What are we teaching our children? Facts and skills are important, but fundamentally children need to know that each has something unique and important to contribute to society. We must learn to work together. It is in schools that community can be built.

The big question, though, is how can we build community in an envronment where teachers are not trusted and kids aren’t safe? “Be the change you want to see in others” says Ms. Angelou; that must be the starting point. From there we will need to build. From there we will need to come together as an education community and educate our society.