Why We’re Marching in the People’s March for Education

Written By Alicia Arrington

Existing as a human, yet using every tool in your capacity to consistently fight back narratives, practices, and systems that fail to recognize your humanity is exhausting. This is what advocates that are members of marginalized groups do daily.

We (the collective we refers to members of marginalized groups) are constantly attempting to shift the cultural paradigm of the United States whose policies and practices are the driving force working towards denying our human dignity.

Education is supposed to provide a space to explore what is and curate the minds of the youth to think about what could be. Public education as a public service is supposed to work towards ensuring all children have access to learning opportunities that will nurture and guide them into reaching their full potential. However, within the education sphere exists vast inequities in the willingness of States to ensure that this is true for all students.

In New York Black and Brown children face oppression in every aspect of their public education experience.

Parents of color are struggling to find adequate, affordable early child care. Schools in Black and Brown communities are ridiculously underfunded, with the state owing upwards of $2 billion in education funding to Black and Latino communities alone.

Schools reinforce community police states with metal detectors, police officers, and more safety agents than guidance counselors and support staff. English language learners and special needs students overwhelmingly do not receive adequate resources or access to learning that meets their specific needs.

High stakes testing and the competition introduced into what is now being aptly named the education “market”, gives way to corporate entities attempting to privatize our education by monetizing Black and Brown bodies.

Higher education costs impede on students access to greater opportunity, whether through initial costs or the heaping debt most students are left with when they graduate.

The odds are stacked against us, but our government determines the odds.

The fight for equity in education is really an issue of the violation of human rights. It is a collective plea for the state to acknowledge that oppressed groups are whole beings. It is saying, “We deserve access. We deserve opportunity. We deserve to learn with dignity.”

Fund our public schools adequately. Provide an education that is true and reflective of our substantial contributions to the building of this nation. End the criminalization of our youth. Make the attainment of a college education feasible for all. Stop attempting to capitalize on the historical narrative that we’re hard to educate in order to further your privatization agenda.

To deny an entire population the access to an adequate form of the very education that we claim is the foundation for social mobility is a form of violence against those communities. It is a mechanism used to continue the status quo of racial and economic oppression.

That’s why we’re marching in the People’s March for Education. Regardless of how exhausting it is to still fight to affirm “I am a man”, we are. We deserve more. We deserve to be seen for our humanity. We deserve to be acknowledged. Our children deserve a chance at an education that will allow them to live without fighting every day. We must end systemic racism in public schools.