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Answering the Call
One Brave Teacher Speaks for All
Have you ever felt “called”?
If you have, you know exactly what I mean.
For me, it happened in February 2021, on a Wednesday evening. I had attended my first Board of Education meeting that Monday prior. The Board abruptly cancelled our meeting, due to “capacity limitations”, because they had limited the permissible attendance at 100 parents, and our crowd exceeded the limit of the large gymnasium arranged “safely” to meet Covid spacing guidelines.
While our children were primarily receiving their education remotely, the BOE couldn’t accommodate parents by offering a remote option. The hypocrisy emboldened me.
A reporter snapped a few photos of my outrage. The article was published online in the “Medford Sun” shortly thereafter. I looked frumpy , and I was slightly embarrassed: is this the end of my political anonymity?
After my initial embarrassment wore off, I felt an undeniable pull. A call of duty. I must advocate.
The rest is history.
And as I have learned over this last year, as I meet so many other brave, outspoken advocates, there is a common thread among us. We felt a call to speak out, act, help, sacrifice and give, for such a time as this.
Jennifer. She rose up amount thousands of educational professionals being pushed to their limits. She felt a call to organize, advocate and ultimately, to be the lamb in a lawsuit against the tyrannical mandates that have gripped our State under the reign of Governor Phil Murphy.
With the courage of her lawyer, Dana Wefer, Esquire, buoyed by her strong faith, Jennifer Mess has answered the call to lead our State back to a place of American freedom from medical mandates.
Kristen: Tell us about yourself, how you came to be such an outspoken, brave voice for the teacher community?
Jennifer: I grew up in Northern NJ (that's where the outspoken comes from) and moved south when I attended Monmouth University. One of my closest friends introduced me to her cousin 25 years ago and that man is my husband. He has stood by me, work wise, through the famous Middletown strike of 2001/2002, tons of musical set builds, late night class trip set ups, gaga pit builds, and really a ton of things that teachers may understand but a non-teacher husband does not have to. Yet he is there every step of the way.
We have four amazing children and we have learned that the most important way to teach your children is through experience. I want them to have the courage to stand up for what's right. I spent months speaking with my family about strategies I felt God was showing me. I kept saying "somebody needs to..."
Finally, God told me you are somebody, so I did it. I think that's why this nation is so great. God chooses the nobodies of the world to confound the "wise." I am a God pleaser rather than a people pleaser and so I have no time for petty things. If we are loving those around us, supporting the school staff where they are and showing them that people are here to support them, then we can work with parents for the children.
Once Freedom Loving Teachers of NJ was created, I said, "well, not sure what this is but if you want it, Lord, it will need to be created." It has been on a steady incline since its inception. It is a place for school staff to ask the questions that are being left unanswered by unions amongst many other things.
It is now an outreach of Mess to Message Ministries, a Private Member Association and as I walk in obedience, I have the honor to meet tons of brave educators, mama and papa bears, as well as learn things about our Country that decades in School never taught.
Kristen: The union leadership tells its version of the voices of its membership. Do you think their commentary accurately conveys ALL the voices of your union members?
Jennifer: Union leadership is created in a stealthy manner. Some districts have great local unions and that creates this link to them where an educator feels wrong for leaving. It is set up like an abusive relationship. The national sector and the upper echelon of the unions are political machines. We can only imagine the backroom deals that take place all while touting how much they want to help support the Teachers. Yes, there are many people who believe in their optics. However, there are also many who do not and the union is supposed to support all members.
I was willing to go to jail with my union in 2002. Would I do that now? I don't trust them enough to even remain. The union has become another weapon and they certainly do not represent my beliefs. However, just like myself, many didn't know that they could leave the union. It is not mandatory.
Kristen: What do you want us to know about the stress and pressures facing teachers and educational professionals? How can parents and members of the public convey their support?
Jennifer: Educational professionals have already dealt with tons of pressures such as curriculum changes that go against beliefs, micromanagement, overcrowding, lack of resources, & tons of red tape to be able to bring normalcy to the students. Now add the contact tracing, seating charts, mask breaks (don't even get me started) hybrid, quarantine, oh my. Now worst of all, mandates!
It is overreach in its most blatant form. The attitudes, the invasiveness not only into our bodies but into our personal lives are just pure evil. Should a teacher be spending all weekend to find a store that will test so that the results are in before Monday or lose his or her job? Should that Educational professional have to pay for that test 2x a week? How is this fair?
Every little bit of support helps. A kind email, support at the rally on Monday, a rally outside of the school in support of a teacher if they get fired. I am sure I will have more ideas but for now, that is a good start.
Kristen: How did you come to work with Dana, and where do you draw strength from to be a leader for your groups?
Jennifer: I reached out to Dana before she filed the TCNJ case. We spoke at length and I just knew that God called her for such a time as this. She not only felt called to do it but has a degree in Bio Technology where her focus was on mRNA gene therapy. And that was back in 2010. I mean, can you get any more specific?
She has a vision and it is clear, focused, sound and she really needs our support. She, like me, is a wife and a mommy. I was looking for a lawyer that was more concerned about making history than money and her heart has been that way since I first met her. She is not even charging for this case. She accepts donations but has never charged any of us. That shows you her heart.
My strength comes from Jesus. I take Him at His word and I trust Him. He walked with the sinners and outcasts. He called the Pharisees on the carpet for the hypocrisy they walked in. He chose to love us as not only king but a servant. I have chosen to lose my safe bubble and put it on display, with all my imperfections to also be a servant. If I can help just one person, it is worth it.
I was always content to run the shows at my school from the sidelines, help my students shine. Why He is having me go public, I am not sure. I am willing to do it though because we are living in a time where we have to find our voice, know who the enemy is, and respond instead of react. Moves and counter moves. I believe, with my friends and family interceding for me, God has given me a clarity on what is happening. I just want to be a good steward of it. I encourage everyone who believes in Freedom to go to the Rally against mandates in Trenton on Monday, October 18, 2021 from 11AM-1PM.
Come to support Dana, the plaintiffs, the LEO's, Firefighters, Healthcare Workers, Teachers, and all "We the People".
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Jennifer and Dana, and all of the Plaintiffs putting their personal privacy and professional reputations on the line, to stand for us all.
To learn more about Dana Wefer, Esquire, visit her website.
Freedom Speaking LLC and Shielding Liberty LLC have partnered with the Child Advocate Coalition LLC to highlight stories of freedom all across NJ, from candidates local Board of Education candidates through the gubernatorial candidates, lawyers and advocates pursuing an end to mandates and any helpers we find along the way. Views expressed by the interviewed parties may or may not represent the views of the entities referenced above, however the entities are proud to provide a platform for free speech. Featured interviewed parties are invited to submit responses to our interview questions, link their candidate, business and fundraising sites, and showcase their chosen photographs.