[act-ma] 6/3-Demonstration Against the Racist Resegregation of Boston Public Schools

Bail Out the People Movement - Boston bopmboston at gmail.com
Tue Jun 2 19:02:54 PDT 2009

In this email:

1) 6/3 - Demonstration Against the Racist Resegregation of Boston Public 
2) Community Summit says NO to Racist School Resegregation

*Wednesday, June 3 - 5:30 pm
**Demonstration: Boston School Committee*
*26 Court St., Boston*

*Vote NO on the 5 Zone Plan
Demand Equal Quality Education
Equity & Access to a Quality Education is a Civil Right*

*download English flyer 
<http://equalqualityeducation.org/060309flyer.pdf>   download Spanish 
flyer <http://equalqualityeducation.org/060309-spn.pdf>*

    * *Our Children Deserve the Best*
    * *Excellence and equity for all students in all schools*
    * *STOP the further segregation of Boston Schools*
    * *Funding for programs & staff (no layoffs)*
    * *Limit choice - limit access - limit dreams*

*Coalition for Equal Quality Education*
EqualQualityEducation at gmail.com <mailto:EqualQualityEducation at gmail.com> 
. 617-427-8100 . www.equalqualityeducation.org 

Black Educators' Alliance of Massachusetts (BEAM); Work-4-Quality 
Schools; Boston Parents Organizing Network (BPON); USW L. 8751 Boston 
School Bus Drivers; Councilors Chuck Turner, Charles Yancey, and Sam 
Yoon; Minister Don Muhammad; Bail Out the People Movement; Women's 
Fightback Network; New England Human Rights Organization for Haiti; 
Bishop Felipe Teixeira, OFSJC; Community Change; Fight Imperialism, 
Stand Together (FIST); Union of Minority Neighborhoods
*Community summit says NO to racist school resegregation*
By Frank Neisser

About 200 parents, teachers, students and community activists 
participated in a spirited community summit at Roxbury Community College 
in Boston May 14. They said no to Mayor Thomas Menino and the Boston 
School Committee's racist plan to return the city to segregated, 
"neighborhood" schools.

The event was chaired by Sandra McIntosh of Work for Quality, Fight for 
Equity (WQFE). Jose Lopez of the newly-formed Coalition for Equal 
Quality Education (CEQE) gave a graphic presentation of "before and 
after" maps showing how the new five-zone assignment plan would limit 
parents' and students' access to quality schools and programs. He cited 
figures showing that 58 percent of the schools in the zones including 
the African-American community were listed as underperforming, compared 
to only 16 percent of the schools in the majority-white Allston-Brighton 
neighborhood's zone.

City Councilor Chuck Turner cited a community victory in a similar 
mobilization in 2004, when Menino last launched a "task force" to revise 
student assignment and transportation plans to return to neighborhood 
schools. At that time, parents packed a community meeting at a Roxbury 
church and made it completely clear to the City Council, School 
Committee and the mayor that the plan was unacceptable as long as there 
were no quality schools available in the communities of color. The mayor 
and School Committee agreed then that there would be no change in the 
student assignment plan until the issues of equity and of quality 
schools in all communities were addressed.

It is now five years later and nothing has been done.

Miriam Ortiz of the Boston Parents Organizing Network explained at the 
May 14 summit how the plan would deprive special education students of 
access to inclusion programs they need. The plan would also leave East 
Boston, the neighborhood with the largest Latina/o student population, 
without access to any two-way bilingual program.

Mary Jo Hetzel of WQFE accused the mayor of using the budget crisis as a 
pretext to push his racist political agenda of a return to "neighborhood 

Nora Toney of Black Educators Alliance of Massachusetts (BEAM) spoke of 
the history of the struggle for access to quality educational programs 
for the Black community, going back to the founding of BEAM in 1966.

City Councilor Charles Yancey rallied the crowd, saying, "We can't turn 
back. We won't go back to racist resegregation of the Boston schools." 
City Councilor Sam Yoon, a mayoral candidate, also spoke against the 
five-zone plan.

A wide array of parents, teachers and students participated in the open 
discussion, including parents and teachers from the Hernandez School. 
This is currently a citywide school with a very successful two-way 
bilingual program. Under the new plan---which would only allow students 
in the zone to access it---over 55 percent of those who access the 
school today would no longer be eligible for transportation to the 
school, and no new students outside the zone could apply.

Kervin Voyard, leader of Powerful Students at the Community Academy of 
Science and Health (CASH), described the students' walkout and 
demonstration at school headquarters in early May to save teachers at 
their school from being laid off and to fight for equal, fair treatment 
for Haitian students.

Andre Francois of Boston School Bus Drivers, Steelworkers Local 8751, 
said this coalition was the beginning of the fightback against racism 
and bigotry in the city, and called on all to take it to the streets. 
The union had contributed to the struggle by printing thousands of May 
14 flyers and distributing them to the students on buses to bring to 
their parents. The union, which includes a large number of Haitian 
drivers, provided translation for a sizeable group of Haitian parents 
who attended the May 14 summit.

The event was organized by the CEQE, including BEAM; Work 4 Quality, 
Fight for Equity; Boston Parents Organizing Network; Boston School Bus 
Drivers; Chuck Turner and Charles Yancey; Minister Don Muhammad, Nation 
of Islam; Bail Out the People Movement; Women's Fightback Network; New 
England Human Rights for Haiti; Bishop Felipe Teixeira, OFSJC; Community 
Change; Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) youth; the Powerful 
Students of CASH; and Union of Minority Neighborhoods.

The coalition called on everyone to march with the Hernandez parents, 
teachers and students on May 18, and to demonstrate at the School 
Committee headquarters at 26 Court St. in Boston at 5:30 p.m. on June 3, 
when the superintendent will present the final recommendation on the 
five-zone plan.

Boston has been a battleground against racism in the schools since 1974, 

African-American parents demanded equal education 20 years after the 
Supreme Court ruled segregation unconstitutional. It took a mass march 
of 25,000 against racism in Boston on Dec. 14, 1974, to turn the corner 
against the racist attacks on school buses transporting African-American 
students to schools in predominantly white neighborhoods. Activists see 
the need to take it to the streets again to prevent a return to the 
racist, bigoted past.
Bail Out The People Movement
bopmboston at gmail.com
<mailto:bopmboston at gmail.com>http://bopm-boston.blogspot.com

*National Office
bailoutpeople at safewebmail.com
<mailto:bailoutpeople at safewebmail.com>http://www.BailOutPeople.org
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