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“It matters to me who becomes the next U.S. Education Secretary…”

Will I see you in New York next week? I’ll be trekking to the East Coast for a day to attend the Journey for Justice conference at SUNY Old Westbury.

After the conference at SUNY, thousands are expected to demonstrate at the Sept. 26th presidential debate in protest of public education cuts in African American and Latino communities across the nation.

Unfortunately, I’ll have to watch the march and debate on my five hour flight back to Sacramento on Jetblue.

The Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J) is a national network of inter-generational, grassroots community organizations led primarily by Black and Brown people in 24 U.S. cities. With more than 40,000 active members, we assert that the lack of equity is one of the major failures of the American education system. Current U.S. education policies have led to states’ policies that lead to school privatization through school closings and charter school expansion which has energized school segregation, the school-to-prison pipeline; and has subjected children to mediocre education interventions that over the past 15 years have not resulted in sustained, improved education outcomes in urban communities.

This from Journey for Justice and Jitu Brown.

CHICAGO – A national coalition of parents, students, teachers and activists have vowed to travel to Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on Monday, September 26th, and join with thousands of other people who will protest the first presidential debate due to cuts in public education and the impact on students of color.  Activists, led by the Journey for Justice Alliance, have demanded Democratic nominee Sec. Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump release their respective K-thru-12 education platforms and meet with school leaders prior squaring off.

A coalition led by the Journey for Justice Alliance (J4JA) with more than 40,000 members from 24 cities across the US is galvanizing. Organizers say they will release a seven-point platform that tackles school privatization, the school-to-prison pipeline, standardized testing and a myriad of other failed education interventions that have led to massive school closings, charter proliferation and other schemes that have not improved education outcomes in urban communities.

“Our voices have been locked out of any discussion about public education during the race to the White House,” said Jitu Brown, national director J4JA. “Both Clinton and Trump have closed their ears to those of us who have protested, boycotted, waged hunger and teacher strikes demanding an end to corporate education interventions that have devastated students and schools.”

“Clinton, Trump and (Green Party candidate) Jill Stein have all been eerily silent on the impact of these bad policies  and school-based cuts that have harmed African American and Latino students the most—yet they continue to campaign in our neighborhoods in search of our support,” said Brown. The award-winning activist gained national attention as the organizer and participant in a 34-day hunger strike to save Dyett High School in Chicago which forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel to abandon his plans to destroy the school.

Added Natasha Capers, public school parent from the New York City Coalition for Education Justice, “We intend to gather that morning in a national forum on what’s been happening to us in our respective communities,” she said. “There is massive charter proliferation in New York despite the fact that research shows charters do not improve education outcomes. It matters to me who becomes the next U.S. Education Secretary.”

The Alliance will release a national public education platform in a forum called “Public Education Nation” co-sponsored by the Network for Public Education Action, which calls for a moratorium on school privatization; federal funding for 10,000 sustainable community schools; an end to zero tolerance policies; national equity in assessments; an end to the attack Black educators  who are being terminated from urban school districts in record numbers; an end of state takeovers of trouble school districts where there is only mayoral control and appointed school boards; and, an elimination of the over reliance on standardized tests in public schools.

Parents and teachers have repeatedly lobbied law makers in their opposition to the destruction of community schools at the expense of publicly-funded, privately operated charter schools and over testing.

“Where do the candidates stand on standardized testing and how those scores are tired to teacher evaluation,” said Nikkisha Napoleon, a public school parent in New Orleans. “Children in New Orleans have been devastated by racist education experimentation—and we’ve also seen a loss of African-American teachers in our city. Why is this happening in places like Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit? I’m angry that people who live in our neighborhoods, have a history with our children and understand our culture are being driving out of our schools. Where do the candidates stand on the loss of veteran Black and Latino teachers?”

Added, Hiram Rivera, a public school parent and director of the Philadelphia Student Union.  “This is a movement for justice and equity in this country. Black and Brown people are united in fighting to make our schools matter, our lives matter and to have our voices heard. We are tired of handshakes and photo ops. We are tired of school closings, privatization schemes and the disinvestment in our neighborhoods. Clinton and Trump need to be held accountable—before they take the oath of office. I’m going to Hempstead because we have to make our voices heard.”

Even if you can’t make it to New York for the conference and/or march, you can conduct social justice activism on social media. The hope is for supporters to tweet leading up to the event. Then, on Sept. 26th please tweet during the event which is all day and through the Presidential Debates to be held at 9 p.m. EST.  The #PresidentialDebates hashtag will be trending, so please add the  #J4JedNation.

Also please support the  Thunderclap with your Twitter Account and Facebook Account.  It is due to go off on the morning of the 26th Support using this link: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/47281-equity-in-public-ed-now The BATs are leading on this. Check out the full social media strategy here.

If you’ll be in New York, I’ll see you soon!

Check out and follow my YouTube channel here.

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Twitter: @ProfessorJVH

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About Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig (689 Articles)
Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State Sacramento.

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