Durham Educators: Be Proud, Keep Pushing
Durham educators: be proud.
In the last two weeks and two days, you have organized your co-workers, families, and communities in ways that are inspiring and paradigm-changing. 791 of you put in for leave because you are going to go see school-privatizing politicians in Raleigh on the opening day of the General Assembly. You want to let them know that we take the poverty our students live in personally. You want them to know that the health and stability of our students’ families is personal for us. You want to stand tall, with your co-workers from across the state, rather than allowing them to beat us into submission or drive us out of the profession we love so dearly.
We want to draw a line in the sand: are you a legislator committed to giving our young people a shot at a future, or will you prioritize giving away more tax breaks to the wealthiest North Carolinians? We want them on record. It’s personal for us. And when you take something personally, you fight for it.
Durham educators, you’ve spent the last week fighting for your students, in addition to teaching them and caring for their needs in the ways that you do every day. You’ve had small group meetings. You’ve discussed important questions while standing together at the copier. You came out of your classrooms, found each other, and committed to linking arms and stepping up, together, for our kids. Just imagine if believing in ourselves and each other like we have in these last two weeks was the norm. What if we always knew how powerful we actually are? What could possibly stop us?
Tonight, at the School Board meeting, we stood with our parents and our students and our community supporters. We asked that the Board announce that schools would be closed for students on May 16. We asserted that they couldn’t hold school without us. The majority of the Board agreed that it was already impossible to hold regular classes that day and asked for a Special School Board meeting next Wednesday, May 2, to hear the administration’s plan for how to handle the day.
Durham educators, keep pushing.
We’ve got a busy couple of weeks ahead of us. Here’s what that looks like:
- Thursday night through Wednesday afternoon–> 2 tasks:
- Get every single person in your building to put in leave for Wednesday, May 16. The Board was clear that Principals should not deny anyone the ability to submit leave.
- Get 5-10 people from your building to commit to coming to the Special School Board meeting on Wednesday, May 2 at 5:30 at the Fuller Building
- Saturday, April 28–> Community Support Meeting from 10-12 at E.K. Powe Elementary
- Please join us for a meeting to plan and coordinate community support for May 16. We need all community allies and partners to come to the table. If you have space where students could be fed on May 16, offer it. If you have resources that you’d like to contribute, come share them. If you have transportation, or tutoring, or child care skills and resources, come to the meeting.
- Wednesday, May 2–> Special School Board Meeting at 5:30 at the Fuller Building
- Come on out. Bring your co-workers. Bring your students’ families. Bring your pastors. Bring your community organizations. Bring your businesses that want to donate. Be there. It’s going to be the kind of special we’ve worked so hard to build here in the Bull City
- Saturday, May 5–> Issue Forum and March to the Polls from 10:00 to 1:00 (starting at CAARE Inc (214 Broadway) and ending with music, games, and fun at the Board of Elections (201 N. Roxboro)
- As is our tradition, we’ll be marching to the polls together to vote in elections for: School Board, Sheriff, District Attorney, State Legislature, and Congress. This year, however, we’ve been invited to host a forum with Durham 4 All, starting at 10. We will share our thoughts on the School Board race, and we’ll have the opportunity to hear about their work on the Sheriff and DA campaigns.
- Voting is important. Voting together is powerful and fun.
- Tuesday, May 8–> Durham Association of Educators Monthly Meeting (5-7 at the Staff Development Center)
- Our monthly meetings, like our organization, are growing. Please join us as we plan the last stages of our work towards May 16.
- All are welcome and childcare and food will be provided. All who are not yet dues paying members will be encouraged to join. 😊
- Wednesday, May 16–> Be in Raleigh to greet the General Assembly, starting at 10:00 A.M.
- More details soon
No one ever said that leading a movement to defend and transform public schools was going to be easy. The changes our students, our co-workers, and our families deserve is going to take hard work and deep commitment to one another. There are powerful forces aligned to steal our joy and snatch our students’ futures. Basta. Enough. We’re in this together. We can’t be beat.
And we’ll see y’all on Wednesday.