RPCV Teacher of the Year shares speech she says Trump wouldn’t let her read during award ceremony

 

Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65)

Teacher of the Year shares speech she says
Trump wouldn’t let her read during award ceremony 

BY JOHN BOWDEN
The Hill 5/5/2018

 

Teacher of the Year shares speech she says Trump wouldn’t let her read during award ceremony

Mandy Manning (Armenia 1999-2000), this year’s National Teacher of the Year, read a speech on CNN Saturday that she said President Trump wouldn’t let her give during her award ceremony at the White House.

In an interview with CNN’s Van Jones, Manning read from her speech, which referenced the immigrant and refugee students she teaches, as well as her support for LGBT and other marginalized students.

Manning said her purpose is to tell her students “that they are wanted, they are enough, and they matter.” In her appearance on CNN, she listed the names of her students who she says rely on America’s “policy of welcoming immigrants and promoting peace.”

“Like Sultan’s, who escaped war in his country, and understands the importance of the United States to be peacemakers,” she says.

“I am here for refugee and immigrant students,” she added, “[and] students in the Gay-Straight Alliance.”

Manning’s students come from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and elsewhere, according to her award application.

“Most of my students come to the U.S. seeking safety, but they don’t always feel safe here,” she wrote in her application. “I must help them understand current events, know their rights, and provide a safe and welcoming environment.”

Trump hosted Manning, alongside other award finalists and teachers from each state, at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, but didn’t mention her role teaching immigrant students.

 

“Her incredible devotion has earned her the adoration — total adoration, actually — and respect of students and colleagues throughout her school district, community and the entire state,” Trump said.

The event was not open to the press, but a pooled report from The Guardian noted that Manning wore six political badges pinned to her dress at the ceremony in silent protest. Manning also reportedly declined to clap for Trump as he entered the White House ceremony. (Note: Director Olsen applauded enthusiastically.)

As president, Trump has sought to reduce the level of refugees entering the U.S. and moved to crack down on undocumented immigrants, arguing it is in the interest of national security.

The president announced last year that his administration would allow no more than 45,000 refugees into the U.S. in 2018.

Mandy Manning greeting her husband after the ceremony in the halls of the White House

18 Comments

Leave a comment
  • I should also have added, “Thank you so much, for being brave and reflected so eloquently the values of Peace Corps!”

  • I’ve had to think hard before adding this, which probably will precipitate a reaction.

    Notwithstanding admirable teaching philosophy, I don’t see how aggressive advancement of a homosexuality agenda could have anything to do with the time-honored PC Three Goals. Joanne, perhaps you can explain. We aren’t talking about a Second Goal adult-to-adult discussion. The refugees here are impressionable youngsters, many of whom come from a culture and society where homosexuality is punishable by death. Values many of these children’s parents and families likely share. John Turnbull

    • Geez, John Turnbull. First. Manning was not representing the Peace Corps. Second. As far as I know, there is no homosexual agenda (but perhaps I missed the memo on that one; in which case I feel so left out). Third. Aggressive advancement? And Fourth. I’m not sure how many youngsters you have been around lately, but they are rarely impressionable in the way that you suggest. Refugee kids have more to worry about than a teacher’s advocacy for the rights of all marginalized people. Perhaps it is a good idea to challenge cultures that put people to death for being who they are.

  • Thank you, Jane. in an insular, theoretical, academic (and largely irrelevant) world, you probably are correct. In the real world, however, where PCVs live and work, I think it’s a very different matter. Social values DO make a big difference.

    The “agenda” that I alluded to is the one that Ms Manning is an officer in — the Gay-Straight Alliance. It most definitely is an agenda. And very political.

    At the award ceremony she had that button prominently next to the Transgender Equality button, next to the Peace Corps button. To my mind, strongly suggesting a compatibility, if not a connexion and implied endorsement. No other buttons which might have been there, were — like women’s rights, girls’ education, wildlife protection, malaria prevention, or whatever else. just Peace Corps together with gay rights.

    In the disallowed speech she refers to, she said nothing about the value of Peace Corps service and insight, but made a point that in the school where she teaches, the girl’s volleyball team had to accept one announced transgender guy on to the girls’ team, totally ignoring what a lot of concerned parents must have thought, about this guy in the shower with all the girls, and whether the whole thing might have been a dangerous teenage prank. As I have asked many times, what happens when the entire football team announces they ALL discovered they are transgender females, and demand to use the girl’s showers. Funny, until one realizes that it could happen, when all of this, incl self-proclamation, becomes a matter of law and public policy.

    In the real world, I would NEVER suggest or allow a serving PCV to stand up in front of a class, or anywhere else, and ADVOCATE something which in that society is punishable by death. That volunteer would be lucky to get away, never mind any future effectiveness. What may be acceptable in the USA is not at all what is acceptable elsewhere. That’s what “understanding” (as contrasted with preaching) is all about. The Peace Corps always has been about understanding — not making the world’s populations into imitation American academics. That’s the way it seems to me, anyway. John Turnbull

    • John, I think that the compatibility is imaginary. And, no, the football team is never going to announce that Whoop! We are all transgender! Let’s shower with the girls. It’s a reductio ad absurdum that doesn’t help serious discussion. As one who is married to an anthropologist, I am very clear on cultural variation, and tried to make a case that young women serving as PCVs take care with their relationships with local men. Likewise, male PCVs need to model respect in their relationships with local women.

      For the life of me, I can’t quite figure out what is troubling you about this woman’s freedom of expression. Nothing bad will come of it. No football boys will be questioning their gender, and no volunteer is going to stand up in the classroom in an African nation and suggest that it would be A OK for guys to get it on.

      And re: you next post: Merciful heavens! What an imagination! I have yet to hear of such a Fatwah. Please document those “all the times” in a Methodist church (the one I am most familiar with).

  • With respect to the idea of advocating something at odds with or prohibited in another culture, let me offer this analogy, which might make it clearer.

    Supposing, in an open-minded Christian church in America, Episcopal, Methodist, Catholic, or whatever, the pastor, in a gesture of open-mindedness, invites an imam of a Muslim mosque to speak to the congregation about Islam. He (they all are males) arrives, gives some comments about the history of Islam, the Prophet, and then announces that he speaks for God and the Prophet, and is hereby issuing a Fatwah, not only authorizing, but commanding in the name of God, for ALL believers to murder Joe Somebody, because he has abandoned his Muslim faith. “All of you go kill him, and God will smile on you ! ! ”

    Can you imagine what the response of that congregation is going to be ?? Unlikely ?? Not at all. ALL imams have the recognized authority to issue Fatwahs, and in Muslim countries, embracing Sharia Law, Fatwahs like this come down all the time.

    • John,

      This is my personal comment.

      RPCV Mandy Manning was selected as the TEACHER OF THE YEAR. That is a tremendous honor and it is hers to use as she sees fit. She must be doing something right to be so honored.
      Don’t you think? I congratulate her and appreciate that she celebrates her Peace Corps service at such a time.

  • Thanks, Joanne, Reading this PC material over, it;s significant that the majority of LGBTQ volunteers choose to keep their sexual orientation secret (and with good reason, considering what could be the consequences). All things considered, for a brief 24 months, is it worth dying for ?) I would wonder how much consistency there is between this “official” politically correct PC policy, and the subjective decisions made by trainors and in-country staff, tasked with volunteer safety and effectiveness.

    We had gay volunteers back as early as 1964, so it isn’t new. Assuming the well-being and success of the PC organization is high in the minds of PC officialdom, I have to wonder about their flirting with something which, besides causing a volunteer to be killed, others to be harmed, and/or could also cause the PC to be evicted from the country, and potentially in turn from other sensitive countries as well.

    It’s been a long time since no applicant was eligible who ever had worked for the CIA or other intelligence agency, and following service RPCVs were banned from ever working for such an organization. I’m obviously a part of that earlier era.(Please note:The prohibition still exists. Here is the section of the Peace Corps Manual which is so important:
    https://files.peacecorps.gov/documents/MS-611-Policy.pdf
    Attachment A Peace Corps Intelligence Background Information (PC 1336 [83])
    1.0 Policy
    1.1 Statement of Policy
    “The Peace Corps restricts from Peace Corps Volunteer service and Peace Corps employment any person who, within the last 10 years: (a) has been employed by an Intelligence Agency; (b) has engaged in intelligence activity; or (c) has a relationship with an Intelligence Agency
    or intelligenceactivity. The Peace Corps also permanently bars from Peace Corps Volunteer service and Peace Corps employment
    any person who has been employed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).”)

    All due respect for Ms Manning. I don’t know how she conducts her refugee student classes. And recognizing that these same refugee students are clearly within the US judicial system, and probably also are cautious about expressing any actual beliefs or intentions which could cause them to be deported.

    On this question, I keep asking myself of I were a PC country director, in a country of the sort we’re talking about, how would I be making decisions when such issues loomed. My apologies if my opinions have irritated anyone — which they evidently have. John Turnbull

    PS: Author Salman Rushdie, the cartoonists at the Danish publication, and writers at Charlie Hebdo probably have something to add to this discussion. Happily most are still alive to talk about it.

    • John Turnbull, The statement you posted here contains false information. Your assumption is wrong.

      “It’s been a long time since no applicant was eligible who ever had worked for the CIA or other intelligence agency, and following service RPCVs were banned from ever working for such an organization. I’m obviously a part of that earlier era.”

      That prohibition continues. Here is the link to the pertinent part of the Peace Corps Manual; https://files.peacecorps.gov/documents/MS-611-Policy.pdf

      Please read it. Then, with your permission, I would like to delete that statement from your comment.
      We both began Peace Corps service 55 years ago. I understand making assumption about today’s Peace Corps. But it is essential that we do not spread false information. We both have a responsibility to everyone who came after us and those serving today, not to compromise the integrity of Peace Corps Volunteers.

      • John Turnbull did not give his permission for the statement in question to be deleted. But did want to make sure that it was stated that the prohibition still existed.

        Here is the section of the Peace Corps Manual which is so important:
        https://files.peacecorps.gov/documents/MS-611-Policy.pdf
        Attachment A Peace Corps Intelligence Background Information (PC 1336 [83])
        1.0 Policy
        1.1 Statement of Policy
        “The Peace Corps restricts from Peace Corps Volunteer service and Peace Corps employment any person who, within the last 10 years: (a) has been employed by an Intelligence Agency; (b) has engaged in intelligence activity; or (c) has a relationship with an Intelligence Agency
        or intelligenceactivity. The Peace Corps also permanently bars from Peace Corps Volunteer service and Peace Corps employment
        any person who has been employed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).”

  • The analogy was just that — an analogy where someone with a strong cultural conviction, would express it in a context which strongly did NOT agree with it. Perhaps it would be more “real life” if the hypothetical Imam had expressed the Fatwah at his mosque down the street ABOUT a member of the Methodist church who had abandoned Islam, and/or criticized the Prophet whilst doing so. Is that more believable ? In fact, this is almost exactly what happened with author Salman Rushtie, after he wrote his novel “The Satanic Verses” whilst living in the UK, and causing him to go into hiding for several years. It was a similar Fatwah, not down the street, but appealing to Muslims down the street, which caused the deaths of many of the French writers at Charlie Hebdo. I used this as an analogy and reverse example, to make my point understandable.

    My second analogy of the Football Team, is not at all unbelievable, as teen-age pranks go, It might be an exaggeration, but in a lesser way why would such a thing NOT happen ??? Because teen-agers are all transcendant saints ? When was the last time you talked to a mischieveous teenager ? If self-proclamation is all Transgender identity requires, what would prevent it ? in the present case, one Transgender guy already uses the girls’ shower. And the rest of the school is well-aware, I’m sure. THEN, somehow, for no justification, by some decision-maker, the next self-proclaimed Transgender guy is precluded ? Who is going to arbitrarily decide ? That’s not the way law works. Not to mention the reason why, competition-wise, sports are segregated by gender, and always have been. Ask any biologist about physiological differences of the genders.

    I haven’t any animosity toward Ms Manning. I only wish she had kept it to education, for which the award was made, and not exploited the moment to introduce this second, unrelated, and highly controversial statement.

    I should add that I personally watched a sexual transgression by a PCV, and it was only intervention of other villagers, that prevented exactly the sort of response I suggested could happen. Think it can’t happen, or ideological volunteers SAYING (never mind doing) something culturally unacceptable ? With examples in my memory, it would be hard to persuade me it’s my imagination. John Turnbull

  • I think that the reaction to my opinion, based in cultural as well as professional beliefs and actual experience (and this in the American judicial system, not that of a Third World country), pretty much makes my case.

    i wish Ms Manning hadn’t chosen to mix up her controversial homosexual agenda with an award made for education.

    Here at home, concerned public officials, and I, will continue to wrestle with the potential taxpayer costs, as well as social chaos, that Ms Manning’s agenda brings with it — overturning thousands of years of human experience about who is a woman, and who is a man, and all that proceeds from that distinction.

    I haven’t anything more to say, at least in this immediate argument. John Turnbull

  • THE YELLOW ZONE

    This happens after marrying your dream forgetting it can be recalled..
    And this is the life we create even with no visible wounds.
    We were the he’s and she’s become involuntary pilgrims.
    Had our minds stuffed with all manner of decent self-destructive cant.
    Lived up against the fenced-off desire, longing, & necessity.
    Having wept over childhood, growing-up, changing, skating.
    A dance as what many feel when then told to park it in the yellow zone.

    • An idea of zone as a notion-of-importance: begin here. Say it’s a yellow zone. Jump to the concept of a line and say it’s a yellow line, that it is a line that depicts a space that is placed and that displaces as it locates some vibe or people defined by social function & public identification, valorized or deplored, and be told not to cross the line.”

  • I live in a multi-cultural, multi-lingual society, where nine traditional languages are spoken, so communication and understanding requires some thinking. Having said that, I don’t understand what Ed M has said. John T

  • This is something a Chicago poet my mother’s age wrote that I bet you’ll cotton-to and I feel close to you in age and history as if you might be a brother as my brother David Mycue was: A Poet Is Not A Jukebox Poem by Dudley Randall

    A poet is not a jukebox, so don’t tell me what to write.
    I read a dear friend a poem about love, and she said,
    “You’re in to that bag now, for whatever it’s worth,
    But why don’t you write about the riot in Miami?”

    I didn’t write about Miami because I didn’t know about Miami.
    I’ve been so busy working for the Census, and listening to music all night,
    and making new poems
    That I’ve broken my habit of watching TV and reading newspapers.
    So it wasn’t absence of Black Pride that caused me not to write about Miami,
    But simple ignorance.

    Telling a Black poet what he ought to write
    Is like some Commissar of Culture in Russia telling a poet
    He’d better write about the new steel furnaces in the Novobigorsk region,
    Or the heroic feats of Soviet labor in digging the trans-Caucausus Canal,
    Or the unprecedented achievement of workers in the sugar beet industry
    who exceeded their quota by 400 percent (it was later discovered to
    be a typist’s error).

    Maybe the Russian poet is watching his mother die of cancer,
    Or is bleeding from an unhappy love affair,
    Or is bursting with happiness and wants to sing of wine, roses, and nightingales.

    I’ll bet that in a hundred years the poems the Russian people will read, sing and love
    Will be the poems about his mother’s death, his unfaithful mistress, or his
    wine, roses and nightingales,
    Not the poems about steel furnaces, the trans-Caucasus Canal, or the sugar
    beet industry.
    A poet writes about what he feels, what agitates his heart and sets his pen in motion.
    Not what some apparatchnik dictates, to promote his own career or theories.

    Yeah, maybe I’ll write about Miami, as I wrote about Birmingham,
    But it’ll be because I want to write about Miami, not because somebody
    says I ought to.

    Yeah, I write about love. What’s wrong with love?
    If we had more loving, we’d have more Black babies to become Black brothers and
    sisters and build the Black family.

    When people love, they bathe with sweet-smelling soap, splash their bodies
    with perfume or cologne,
    Shave, and comb their hair, and put on gleaming silken garments,
    Speak softly and kindly and study their beloved to anticipate and satisfy her
    every desire.
    After loving they’re relaxed and happy and friends with all the world.
    What’s wrong with love, beauty, joy and peace?

    If Josephine had given Napoleon more loving, he wouldn’t have sown the
    meadows of Europe with skulls.
    If Hitler had been happy in love, he wouldn’t have baked people in ovens.
    So don’t tell me it’s trivial and a cop-out to write about love and not about Miami.

    A poet is not a jukebox.
    A poet is not a jukebox.
    I repeat, A poet is not a jukebox for someone to shove a quarter in his ear
    and get the tune they want to hear,
    Or to pat on the head and call “a good little Revolutionary,”
    Or to give a Kuumba Liberation Award.

    A poet is not a jukebox.
    A poet is not a jukebox.
    A poet is not a jukebox.

    So don’t tell me what to write.

    Dudley Randall

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Copyright © 2016. Peace Corps Worldwide.