Help Us Stand Up to Racism in New York in the People’s March for Education Justice

Written By Alicia Arrington

New York State has continuously decided to neglect the educational opportunities it provides to students in Black, Brown, and low-income neighborhoods. With tyrant Trump around, we need a state government that will decide to not only stand up for our most vulnerable communities, but to finally right it’s wrongs.

New York has a history of compromising whether or not students receive an adequate education and it is in fact a violation of their constitutional obligation, and of those students’ rights. Yet, like many other forms of oppression, the quality of education New York provides for children falls along the lines of race and class.

In New York, children of color continue to receive lackluster educational investments that fail to acknowledge their humanity and as such deserving of a high-quality education. Whether it is zero-tolerance disciplinary practices, or curriculum entrenched in racism, or not receiving the funding necessary to implement change, students of color across this state are being oppressed, period.

We are all very well aware of the opportunity education brings. It is also supposed to bring the liberty to be free-thinking, fully aware beings with the tools necessary for social mobility. However, in NY our education system, it seems, seeks to continue the cycle of generational poverty and strain the potential of students born into circumstance (whether that circumstance is simply being born a person of color, or a person living below the poverty line).

In New York City, we are plagued with overcrowded classrooms, lack of supports for special needs students and English Language learners, inadequate access to Advanced Placement courses, and the list – unfortunately – goes on.

How could it be that the self-proclaimed center of the world is failing at providing a decent education to their children?  The answer is simply racism.

When there is a lawsuit that in clear language declares that New York is failing to meet it’s constitutional obligation by inadequately funding education for Black, Brown, and poor children, yet a decade later children are still waiting – it is racism. When over 58% of the monies owed to children are owed to Black and Brown children across the state and the Governor threatens to never see to it that this money is delivered – it is racism. When corporations seek to monetize Black and Brown children’s education through privatization – it is racism (and a White Savior Complex). When there is demonstrable data that shows that punitive discipline is harmful and diminishes the value of the whole child yet there remains clear racial bias in the way we discipline students – it is racism. When we continue to fail to acknowledge Black, Brown, and poor children as whole and worthy of an education that reflects that – it is racism.

Racism is a system. On March 4, communities across the state are going to stand up to that system with the People’s March for Education Justice. We are going to stand up and fight back against the system that is failing to oblige to the needs of our children. On March 4, we will be seen. Will you join us? W.E.B DuBois said “Education is the development of power and ideal.” Let’s get our power.