First “Day of Action” in the new year continues fight for COVID-free schools
CHICAGO, Jan. 11, 2021 — On Tuesday, January 12, thousands of parents, students, teachers' unions, and school staff members will once again organize around the safe reopening of our nation's schools, what they consider part of the greater fight for racial justice in the U.S. public school system.
During this Day of Action, organizers bring a comprehensive set of demands as part of an effort to ensure students, educators, school-related personnel, and community members' safety while on campus. This event follows similar acts of resistance that have taken place since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed millions of lives and exacerbated long-existing inequalities in the U.S. education system.
"For too long, our communities have suffered from racism and disinvestment. At this moment, we have an opportunity to reimagine what a safe reopening and transformative education can be like," Chicago Teachers Union organizer Rebecca Martinez said. Now more than ever, our students deserve more significant investment rooted in the pillars of sustainable community schools: racial Justice and equity, transparency and trusting relationships, self-determination and governance, building from community strength, and wisdom, shared leadership and transformation."
Over the last few weeks, superintendents of the nation's three largest school districts, all of which are primarily composed of Black, Brown, indigenous, and working-class children, have called for a "Marshall Plan" for our schools. President-elect Joe Biden has expressed his support for an infusion of resources and has pledged to tackle that issue within his first 100 days.
"Educators, parents and community members throughout the country have been joining forces to push back against unsafe schools reopening as district leaders continue to ignore the science of the COVID-19 global pandemic,” said Rebecca Garelli, an organizer with Arizona Educators United and National Educators United. "As most of our organizing efforts are focused locally, Arizona Educators United will be joining in the National Day of Resistance on January 12 to uplift our demands to the national level to call upon the new administration to take bold action and invest in our schools by providing a massive infusion of federal money to support a safe reopening of schools.”
Simultaneously, the school systems that serve our marginalized communities have earned our mistrust, time and time again, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, by refusing to address unhealthy and inequitable conditions in our schools and communities. That's why guaranteeing a safe and equitable reopening of our nation's schools relies heavily on parents, educators, and students' organizing efforts.
Day of Action events will occur in Chicago, IL; Boston, MA; Richmond, VA; Atlanta, GA; Phoenix, AZ; Milwaukee, WI; Los Angeles, CA; and Olympia, WA. Across these cities, educators, students, families, and community members will hold rallies, press conferences, and distribute PPE, winter gear, desperately needed food supplies, diapers and basic toiletries.
To learn more about these resistance efforts, please visit DemandSafeSchools.org.
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The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in schools funded by City of Chicago School District 299, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States.