The People’s Inauguration

Emilie McKiernan Blanton

We remembered in November and educators were front and center at the Inauguration of Governor Andy Beshear and Lt Governor Jacqueline Coleman. Educators were granted access with special badges for the day as we led the Inaugural Parade and sat in special seats at the Inauguration. December 10th was truly the start of a new day in Kentucky.

After years of insults, attacks, and obfuscation, all Kentuckians were welcomed to join in the celebration as Andy took his oath of office. Being among the crowd of educators and supporters is a thrill I will never forget. My children spent months helping with the campaign and were able to spend time in Frankfort watching educators and Kentucky be celebrated by our chosen governor.

There was an extraordinary sense of camaraderie among the sea of red as we moved through the streets. There were hugs and cheers as we celebrated. Some of us have only known each other through social media posts and seeing each other in person was like old friends reuniting. It has been a long, hard-fought battle that has ignited a passion for activism across the state. In between events, educators were able to gather in the home of our union at the Kentucky Educators Association building. Educators from across the state shared food and laughs in between the parade and the Inauguration. In the home of our union, there was no rural-urban divide. We were all educators together celebrating a new day in Kentucky, regardless of our zipcode. 

It was stunning to be loud and proud as we celebrated in Frankfort instead of descending on Frankfort to fight. As we move into these four years with Andy Beshear at the helm of our state, we have to remember that we can always be loud and proud. We have found our voice and it’s important that we keep that voice. We worked so hard to help shape our democracy, but that fight doesn’t end when we win the election. The work is just now getting started. 

We have an amazing voice and advocate in our Capitol and it’s important that we follow his lead. We have to believe that Andy will do what is best for us and work to ensure that all students have an equitable, public education in our state. Andy and Jacqueline are the voices that we want to lead us and we need to give them the opportunity to move our state in the right direction.

We need to take the energy and enthusiasm we gained over the last few years and continue to work. We have to keep talking with elected officials. We have to keep talking to neighbors, family, and the public about the needs of our students and our profession. The connections we’ve made across the state during this fight will be invaluable. Regardless of where we live, we are all working for the future of Kentucky which sits in our classrooms. There has been a slow, deliberate attempt to dismantle public education. The fixes that we need to help our students won’t happen overnight, but it’s important that we continue to move in the right direction. That takes all of us staying engaged and informed as we work with our new governor. 

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