This May 17th marked the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and kicked off a series of events and actions around the country that will continue over the next year to commemorate the historic decision. The Dignity in Schools Campaign, a coalition of 80 organizations across the country anchored by NESRI, held an on-line live steaming discussion with DSC members from California, Mississippi, Ohio and Washington, DC to reflect on the impacts of Brown v. Board of Education sixty years later.
Professor Vernellia Randall from Racial Justice Now shared her experiences attending public schools at the time of Brown vs. Board and discussed the continued segregation and lack of quality education in public schools today. She was joined by Jasmine Jones and Misha Cornelius from Black Organizing Project and Joyce Parker from Citizens for a Better Greenville who discussed the ongoing discrimination and inequity in our school system, including the closing of neighborhood schools, the loss of teachers of color, the low expectations and placement of students of color into lower academic tracks, and the inequitable funding and lack of supports in schools.
The discussion, moderated by Rebecca Arnold from the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, also spurred ideas for where we need to go from here, including promoting more recognition of human rights in our work, exploring introduction of a national Human Rights Act, integrating more diverse curriculum into schools and confronting implicit and explicit bias.
Throughout the month of May, DSC members continued discussions and actions to reflect on the anniversary. During the week of May 19-25, DSC member organization Save the Kids held its second annual National Week of Action Against Incarcerating Youth tied to the anniversary of Brown v. Board. DSC member organizations in Chicago, New Orleans, St. Paul-MN, Greenville-MS and other cities held rallies, community meetings, radio shows and other actions to demand an end to the criminalization of youth and to support positive approaches to school climate and discipline.
You can visit http://savethekidsgroup.org/ to watch videos from the Week of Action, visit the DSC Youtube channel to watch our on-line discussion about Brown v. Board, and view a DSC powerpoint presentation on Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline through Human Rights here.