Many have said the COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the extent of inequality and racism in our society.
Not to us. We’ve been fighting it all along.
What it has highlighted and exacerbated is the extreme greed and disregard people in power have for our health and well being.
We do not seek a return to business as usual. Business as usual is what got us here.
We imagine a society where true equity becomes the new normal. We’ll settle for nothing less. The Education Justice movement in NYC, through democracy and people power has the blueprint: A Health Justice Agenda for NYC Schools.
It begins with our refusal to return to schools unless our non-negotiable demands for safety, equity, and investment are met.
The U.S. is, and has always been, a racialized state, meaning that the governing apparatus emerged out of white supremacist ideas, and has, thus, functioned to reproduce the structures and systems that benefit whites. Schools have been central players in the construction and transmission of white privilege and power. The differential practice and quality of schooling has served to marginalize our Black and Indigenous youth of color. Furthermore, the classroom has been the place where our youth have been taught silence, conformity, punitive control, and the uncritical mastery of irrelevant and often meaningless tasks.
We actively fight to dismantle structural and institutional racism, and in so doing break with normative U.S. educational practices. We refuse to allow systemic and institutionalized racism to continue to criminalize our Black and Indigenous youth of color and rob them of the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. Instead, we demand socially just, democratic classrooms that embody culturally responsive teaching and transformative justice. These pedagogical principles take the needs and experiences of students, and their communities, as their focus, and, thus, are community-centered and community-led. We also demand that the city and state hire more Black educators and mandate Black Studies and Ethnic Studies, further centering Black voices and histories. We have a collective ability to shift from a white supremacy construct to one that assumes a sustainable global society that honors universal human dignity.
#2 HEALTH JUSTICE
Nothing is greater than living. Our communities are being decimated by the failed leadership of our elected and non-elected officials to put our health over the profits of corporations and the wealthy. We need a paradigm shift. People over profits. Period.
#3 FULL FUNDING FOR OUR SCHOOLS, LIVES AND COMMUNITIES
No budget cuts at the city or state level. Funding cuts will continue to increase the long-term effects of structural racism, primarily lowering health and wellness standards, and directly harming our most marginalized students and families.