BAMN February 27, 2012 Public Education Comments Off on SAVE OUR SCHOOLS, SAVE OUR CITY!

Join BAMN and organize youth-led direct mass action:

• Use State Surplus Funds to restore DPS
• Restore Doctor King’s Dream for America in Detroit
• Defend our Dignity – Equal, quality education for all Black, Latino/a other minority and poor white students

When We Fight We Win!

This is a call to everyone who is ready to fight to defend our schools and our city from the racist attacks we constantly face as Detroiters. At the very moment that Gov. Snyder is ballyhooing the state’s budget surplus and promising to protect public education from new cuts, Detroit is facing a new wave of school closings. The schools facing closure include top ranked schools with unique and successful programs. These schools, created by the struggles of the last civil rights movement, give some of Detroit’s most vulnerable students the opportunity to learn and flourish as students, and grow into confidant and proud adults who refuse to be mistreated or held back by a disability or language barrier.

BAMN has proven again and again that when we organize and fight these attacks with direct action, we win. Students at Southeastern walked out to save their school and win back their fine and performing arts program, and won! At the Catherine Ferguson Academy for Young Women, students sat-in, marched out, and rallied to save their school and won! We kept CFA and many other schools open with our direct action campaign. When four library branches were closed in December, we occupied one and have gotten two branches re-opened – so far.

The Students Must Lead!

These fights were successful because of the courage and determination of the young people who made the decision to join BAMN and fight for what is rightfully theirs and refused to accept all the excuses and lies – the biggest one of all being that the only people with power are those in offices and board rooms. Just like in the Civil Rights movement of the last century, it is the students and youth who must take the lead and organize mass action to save our schools, and ignore the bad advice of anyone who tells us it is the wrong thing to do.

Parents, principals, priests, preachers, and politicians who say they will handle things are wrong. This is what we were told again and again at CFA and Southeastern, but we knew the only way to save our schools and programs was to take direct to mass action and simply refuse to take no for an answer because no appeals to any of the powers that be through letters, phone calls, or petitions would win.

We followed the example of the black students in the south who organized mass walk outs in the 1950s that led to the end of legal segregation and the thousands of Latino/Latina students who walked out of Los Angeles high schools in 1968 to improve conditions and win important gains like Chicano Studies programs. Like them, we knew that we had to act first, even without the support of almost every adult around us. In the end, our supporters were won over and our enemies were forced to do what we wanted.

The mass walkouts of 2006 showed the power of the Latina community in Detroit and across the nation.

In Southwest Detroit, schools and businesses shutdown as proud Latino/Latina immigrants, documented and undocumented, took to the streets to defeat racist anti-immigrant legislation. We need to remember that pride and power now and use it once again. But this time we must not let anyone convince us to stop marching until we win all of our demands.

Detroit students and youth must lead the fight to stop the school closing. Students are the most powerful force in public education. We must organize in all Detroit schools because each closure affects all of us. When we fight for one school, we fight for all the schools. The battle for our schools is the battle for our dignity, our futures, and our lives. No one else can fight it for us. We must organize and assert our power with more marches, walkouts, and occupations. If we do this, we will win!

Demonstrators Protest Downsizing Detroit Public Schools:

Detroit Schools proposed for closure

Detroit City High – Credit recovery and vocational training for students at risk of dropping out

Day School for the Deaf – Only school of its kind in the region, specially designed for deaf students.

Jemison – School of Choice focused on math & science

Kettering High and West Wing – Houses special education program for severely disabled students

Ludington – Beloved magnet middle school program

Mason – Only elementary school left in a neighborhood where 90% of students walk to school

Maybury, Logan, Parker, Barton, and O.W. Holmes – All neighborhood elementary schools in Southwest where most students walk to school, critical bilingual programs for immigrant students

Southwestern – Pride of southwest Detroit, most integrated neighborhood high school in the city

Robeson Early Learning Center – Only early childhood program in the neighborhood

Crockett – Specialized technology and career programs

Finney – Robotics, Fine Arts students participate in annual DIA student exhibition than any school

Join the Fight to Defend Public Education!

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About The Author

BAMN is a mass, democratic, integrated, national organization dedicated to building a new mass civil rights movement to defend affirmative action,integration, and the other gains of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and to advance the struggle for equality in American society by any means necessary.

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