Keep Our Schools Safe: Support Anthony Perry

The Youth Organizing Institute is sharing the following petition on behalf of Melissa Reynolds and her son, Anthony Perry — a Black 5th grader at Conn Elementary School in Raleigh, NC who was violently dragged out of his classroom. 

Sign now: Petition to Wake County Public School System’s School Board Members

October 20, 2016

    This is a letter to our friends, family, and community to ask for your support.

    My name is Melissa Reynolds. My son, Anthony, told me that on October 5, at Conn Elementary in Raleigh, NC, a White 5th grade teacher got so angry after arguing with him that she pulled a chair out from under him, he hit his head and neck when he fell out of the chair, and then she dragged him by one wrist across the classroom floor and out the door. Anthony is biracial boy who is perceived as Black.

    Anthony is traumatized. He has signs of PTSD because of this incident and other serious challenges in his life right now. He has slept in my bed every night since she did this to him. Anthony was left in the teacher’s classroom for two and a half school days after the incident. I insisted that Anthony be placed in another teacher’s classroom while human resources at Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) continues the investigation, but as of October 20, I have received nothing in writing and the teacher remains in the same building with my son. I am scared for all the children.

    The school did not even call me until the day after this was reported to the school by my friend, Bridgette Burge, because even though her daughter was scared and upset, she was brave enough to tell her mom what she saw. Human resources is telling me that the investigation is challenging because, at first, Anthony did not tell school leadership what happened when he was questioned, and he didn’t say that he was hurt. Anthony said he did tell the principal that the teacher dragged him but he didn’t say anything else because he said he was afraid that he was in trouble. Anthony did tell them more details about what happened when he was questioned two other times, once when I was with him in the room. The HR person also told me that Anthony made the investigation problematic because he asked other kids to tell their parents what happened, he continued to talk about it, and by he asked his classmates to tell what they saw. I want justice for my son and I don’t want a teacher to ever do this to another child.

    My name is Bridgette Burge. My daughter, Ella June, is Anthony’s friend. She was sitting beside him when the teacher did this. She was scared, upset, and afraid of retribution from the teacher because she told me what happened. Ella June said Anthony was crying during recess the afternoon this happened and other times for the rest of that week.

    Melissa and I have repeatedly told the school’s principal that the teacher should, at the very least, be placed on leave during the investigation, and we insisted that our children be moved to another teacher’s classroom. We also asked that every parent of students who witnessed this be informed by the school. Some parents tried to reach others who have yet to be notified, but were told to back off and let HR handle the process.

    This is not just about Anthony. Out of all WCPSS elementary schools, Conn gave out the sixth highest number of short-term suspensions in 2014-15. What is worse, Black students with disabilities were 39% of those suspended even though they are only 8% of the school’s student body.[i]

    How different would this situation be if the child had been White? And what if the teacher was Black and the child was White? What would you do if this was happening to your child?

    Our children, and all children, have the right to be treated with dignity by their teachers. They have the right to be free from harm and to attend safe schools. The teacher has the right to due process, and we respect and support that. In the meantime, please sign this letter if you support the requests below. We will send it to the school’s principal and the school board.

Or if you prefer, please share your thoughts with the superintendent, Dr. James Merrill and school board members.

Thank you for helping us try to get justice for Anthony, to heal from this, and to make changes so our children are never harmed by a teacher again.

[i] Advocates for Children’s Services of Legal Aid of NC factsheet, “Conn Elementary School Discipline Fact Sheet 2014-15 School Year”

We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who ask that:

  1. The WCPSS school system pay for Anthony’s professional counseling and therapy.

  2. WCPSS inform the parents and guardians of students that witnessed of this incident.

  3. The students who were upset by what they saw receive individual counseling if they need it, and the opportunity to process this in a professionally facilitated group with their peers and parents and guardians if they choose to.

  4. The school engage in racial equity training to reduce the disproportionate institutional harm being done to students of color and those with disabilities.

  5. The school improve the training for teachers in regard to student safety and respect, practice restorative justice processes, and implement trauma-informed school approaches, such as the Compassionate School Model.

Sign now: Petition to Wake County Public School System’s School Board Members

No More Strange Fruit! Call to Action from Charlotte Uprising

On September 20th, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police killed Keith Lamont Scott, a disabled Black father who deserved to live. People have taken to the streets of Charlotte every day and every night to demand an end to the war on Black lives and Black communities. People on the ground continue to be met with police repression from the police murder of Justin Carr in the protests to the use of tear gas in crowds to the issuing of warrants for the arrests of people who have livestreamed from the frontlines.

Led by Black, queer & trans organizers & accomplices, the Charlotte Uprising has tirelessly inspired people to resist state violence and dream of new possibilities beyond the current conditions we live in. Freedom fighters in Charlotte are now calling on freedom fighters everywhere to host coordinated actions on Tuesday, October 4, which will mark two weeks since Keith’s murder.

Eleven days into the Uprising and Charlotte is still bubbling with righteous rage and energy. We see this rage and energy connecting cities across the country–from Tulsa, OK to San Diego, CA where communities are lifting up the names of Terrence Crutcher and Alfred Olango, both Black men killed by police. Black people are being criminalized, killed, and abused by the police state everywhere. We raise Charlotte’s struggle and demands alongside those of Black communities across the country fighting against the structure whose murderous shootings are what we deem modern day lynchings. Let our actions show solidarity with the resistance in Charlotte, as well as demanding an end to the anti-Black, classist, gender-policing system of police and prisons that holds so much power over our lives everywhere.

While recent uprisings have immediately followed the murders of Black men, it must not be lost on us that our resistance is in response to the same system that is killing Black women and femmes via police violence, criminalization of Black motherhood & self-defense, and the perpetuation of sexual violence. We must say the names of Korryn Gaines, Sandra Bland, Mya Hall, and the countless Black women and femmes whose deaths must invoke outrage and responsibility.

For folks in North Carolina, come to Charlotte! For folks elsewhere, organize an action–whether it be a rally, march, street theater performance, or turn up–to pull out your communities in solidarity with Charlotte, with Tulsa, with San Diego, with every city where Black folks are rising up and demanding strange fruit no more!

Follow this event page for specific details for Charlotte and actions in other cities. Submit information about your city’s action by sending an email to

Buffalo, NY:
Columbia University (NYC):
Washington, DC:
Philadelphia, PA:
Roanoke, VA:
Silverdale, WA:
Iowa City, Iowa:

Black Lives Matter! Durham Rally Against Police Terror

Black Lives Matter! Durham Rally Against Police Terror

Almost 600 people have been killed by the police in the United States just since the beginning of this year. This month we witness the senseless, horrific killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, and Alva Braziel in Houston. In our own state, earlier this year police killed Akiel Denkins in Raleigh, Deriante Miller in Kinston, and Jai “Jerry” Williams in Asheville less than two weeks ago.

We have seen the murder of Black people at the hands of police over, and over, and over. Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Mya Hall, Mike Brown, Rekia Boyd, John Crawford. It is time for us to unapologetically speak this truth: Cops and prisons do not keep us safe. Police regularlyharass and kill Black and Brown people with little to no repercussions or arrest them so prisons and jails can make massive profits.

We say enough is enough.

Across the country community members are dreaming and implementing community based solutions that do not include police or prisons. We demand a Durham Beyond Policing.

We say NO to a new $71 million police palace scheduled to be built in Durham this year

We say NO to an annual police budget of nearly $60 million when the Durham police department has demonstrated to be racist and violent.

We say NO to any local complicity or cooperation with ICE: ripping immigrant families apart and violently detaining and deporting children.

We demand meaningful investment in restorative justice programs, and community needs that actually keep people safe like jobs, healthcare, and housing.

We demand the City Council disarm, defund, and disempower the police, and instead fund Black futures!

From Baton Rouge to Oakland, people are mobilizing across the country. It is necessary that we stand together in struggle against the state-sanctioned murder of Black people as we organize our communities.


1st day of Raleigh Freedom School

It’s Day 1 of Freedom School in Raleigh! This morning we soul mapped with Carly, then did radical journaling with Des. Now Babette and Bryan are leading a workshop on dismantling oppression.

What are the roots of oppression? Check out our tree: colonialism, patriarchy, and capitalism!

Thanks to everyone who has helped make this happen!

Free Wildin!

We are writing as members of the Durham Association of Educators in NC. As teachers, it is our job to make sure our students can learn and grow. And when they can’t, it is our duty to fight for that to change. We have received disturbing news regarding one of our students, Wilden Guillen Acosta (206 799 049), who is being held in Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. On Tuesday, June 7th, he was placed into solitary confinement for minor administrative violations, the last of which occurred while Wildin was helping a fellow inmate translate a letter from Spanish to English. Along with Wildin, we are unsure why he was issued this third citation for an act of kindness and sharing knowledge- something we highly encourage in our classrooms.

More troubling is the fact that this sentence occurred the day before his high school graduation from Riverside High School- something we know was on his mind after working so diligently in our classes to ensure his graduation before he was detained and repeatedly requesting his school work while in detention. The psychological effects of solitary confinement are debilitating and we worry about the impact on Wildin as he faces such a long time alone, especially after just having missed his high school graduation. The timing couldn’t be worse.

We are disturbed to learn from Wildin that on his first day in “the hole,” all of the restricted housing units were full and so Wildin was placed in a cell with a detainee who was mentally unstable and violent. In addition to the threat this posed to Wildin’s safety and well-being, it is troubling to see evidence that suggests solitary confinement is being used in the absence of mental health support for inmates.

Moreover, the sequence of events leading to this disproportionate sentence lead us to believe that Wildin is facing retaliation from CCA and ICE for being a high profile detainee who is an outspoken advocate about the conditions of confinement in Stewart and his own prolonged detention. These citations come after Rep Butterfield’s visit to Stewart and during a week of action for Wildin. Furthermore, these citations are very minor and punishment in solitary confinement is grossly disproportionate. We do not believe that community support should result in mistreatment, and as teachers, we are committed to continue fighting for the safety and rights of our student until his release.

We are concerned that this sentence was originally for 45 days in restricted housing, and that it was only reduced to 15 days due to the advocacy of our Congressman Butterfield. The severity of Wildin’s initial sentence leads us to believe that he will continue to be targeted for retaliation by CCA personnel and ICE. As a result we are calling for his immediate release. Wildin is clearly not safe in this jail and retaliation will continue as long as he is detained. We are also calling for the immediate release of the 12+ other young people currently detained at Stewart and Irwin Detention Centers, as we believe they are facing similar conditions and their mental well-being is at risk.

To Wildin and all the youth in detention: We see you, we see what is happening, and we will fight until all of you are back in our classrooms and communities where you belong.

Durham Association of Educators

Solidarity with Orlando!

We send our condolences and solidarity to all LGBTQ people impacted by the mass shooting in Orlando, Fl.

To the LGBTQ youth for whom this tragedy is another confirmation that the world is not made in your image; for the Muslim youth for whom this tragedy offers no room for mourning because the Islamophobic hysteria has already begun; for the LGBTQ Muslim youth for whom this tragedy feels like you must choose between different parts of who you are: we see you, we love you, we will fight for and with you, and we believe that a different world is possible.

We fight back against this anti-LGBTQ violence, against racism, and against Islamophobia. We have nothing to lose but our chains!