Subira Gordon was born and raised in Jamaica, in a small rural community with a 2 percent literacy rate. Her mother was one of the few people who could read, and Subira quickly realized the value of schooling, as her mother was often asked to assist neighbors with undertakings that required more than a first-grade education.
Upon graduation from high school, Subira attended Bates College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history, and spent years afterward organizing workers in Connecticut to advocate for their rights. This was her passageway to political mobilization, policy change and the ins-and-outs of the legislative process, culminating with her role as Executive Director of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Commission on Equity and Opportunity.
At the Capitol, Subira worked closely with grassroots advocates and legislators to create equitable solutions for communities of color. Since joining ConnCAN, Subira has led numerous legislative victories focusing on educational equity. Some highlights include minority teacher recruitment and retention, education funding reform and working to ensure that Connecticut’s education system is responsive to the needs of students now and into the future.
I aspire to be like Serena Williams. Here is why:
Serena has defined what it means to be an athlete. Not a female athlete, but an athlete. She shines in the face of adversity and has not lost herself along the way. Born in Compton, Serena epitomizes what it means to be a mom and a woman of color in a space that continues to try to limit her greatness. In my life and career, I aim to be the best at what I do: not the best because I am a woman of color, but the best period. I want to harness that drive—and my commitment to excellence—to lead ConnCAN and create a movement that demands we address educational equity in our state.
Why I love my job:
My job allows me to challenge the idea that public education is a one-size-fits-all solution. America was built from diverse perspectives and unique experiences that we should embrace today. Every child can succeed when given tools that foster success, and education is that tool: the great equalizer. But as long as we are comfortable with a system that creates winners and losers, our country will not reach its full potential. As the executive director of ConnCAN, I’m poised to reimagine our public school system to recreate a better one that reflects the America of today—and tomorrow.
My connection to public schools:
As a mom of two living in an urban area, I navigate my city’s education system first-hand. In that journey, I’ve come to understand the options that exist for families—in many cases, none. Public schools can truly make America great. Yet for too many communities, the promise of a free, high-quality public school has been broken, and I am committed to changing that story, so that every child can attend a great public school regardless of their zip code.
What I am bad at:
Singing—although in today’s world of auto-tune, I could probably put out a hit record! But I am not the person you want leading the happy birthday song at a kids’ party.
This image represents why I work at 50CAN: