May 17, 2014 marked the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Broad of Education. There were rallies, marches and workshops organized across the country to not only celebrate this victory, but to highlight the ongoing struggle to provide each student with the equal opportunity to a quality education. A YOI member, Sanyu, was fortunate enough to be among the crowd of students, teachers, parents and family members of the original plaintiffs in the Landmark case. They gathered on May 13th on the steps of the National Supreme Court to hear from people of all corners of the US including New Orleans, North Carolina, Chicago and the DC area.
This rally kicked off the week of action and set the tone for the rest of the week. The speakers highlighted the racial disparities that still exist in our community such as underfunding black and Latino schools and leaving them with very limited resources. A few students from Chicago brought a chart that compared the resources at their predominantly black high school to that of a predominantly white school in their area. Compared to the predominantly white schools, the black schools lacked a myriad of resources ranging from lack of Honors/AP classes and to lack of a functioning gym. In fact, their gym classes are taught online.
After the rally, we marched to the Department of Justice to deliver a report released by the Journey for Justice Alliance called Death by a Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures and Public School Sabotage, Voices from America’s Affected Communities of Color. The report illustrates the racial disparities that this exist school systems across the country. Later that week, Sousa Middle School hosted a series of workshops about the School to Prison Pipeline, bilingual education and school closure. Sousa was also one of the schools involved in the Brown v. Brown of Education case. The Week of Action for the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Broad of education reminded everyone that although our nation has come a long way, the fight for equal opportunity to a quality education rages on.