Steven Cook, the new president of the San Francisco Board of Education, decided to ax the Pledge of Allegiance during his first meeting. Instead of reciting the pledge, Cook read a quote from poet Maya Angelou: "When you learn, teach. When you get, give."
Cook told the San Francisco Chronicle that he decided to break tradition and eliminate the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance prior to the start of the meeting to highlight the divisive political climate in which the Trump administration “has been attacking our liberties.”
Cook has a history of protesting the pledge. Before he was elected as president of the school board, he would stand, but refused to say the words at meetings.
“We should stand for (the pledge) because those ideals are important to me,” he said. “To speak them is another thing.”
Cook also believes that most people view the pledge as nothing more than a formality and don't know anything about it.
“If you ask 10 Americans who wrote it, or when it was implemented, or why it is how we start our meetings, a lot of us would be hard pressed (to answer),” Cook pointed out.
He explained that he will continue to begin meetings with inspirational quotes from other leaders and activists in lieu of the Pledge of Allegiance.
“I'm not doing it as a way to seek attention,” he said. “I really think that these people are a great testament to our values and who we should aspire to be as Americans.”
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