From April 22-24 Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) members from across the country convened in Los Angeles for our sixth Annual Membership Meeting to strategize on upcoming campaign initiatives, attend skill-building workshops and vote on major campaign decisions.
The weekend kicked off with members attending pre-meeting sessions on youth organizing, implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, addressing structural racism and implicit bias in schools, and recommendations for ending policing in schools. Sessions were facilitated by the Youth Justice Coalition (CA), NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (DC), National Economic and Social Rights Initiative(NY), Racial Justice NOW! (OH),Youth Organizing Institute (NC), ACLU of Pennsylvania and Public Counsel(CA).
Leaders from across the country then joined our member Labor Community Strategy Center and the Fight for the Soul of the Cities for a public action calling on the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to give a public apology for their involvement in the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, which gave military grade weapons to the Los Angeles School Police Department, and to pay reparations to the community by investing in restorative and transformative justice practices in LA schools. One LAUSD board member, Monica Garcia, issued a letter of apology that was read at the action. Over 300 youth, parents, educators and community members attended the action, including DSC members from 16 states and Washington, DC representing 34 organizations.
Throughout the weekend at the Annual Meeting, members led skill-building workshops on restorative justice implementation, parent organizing, the impact of school pushout on students with special needs, gender justice, institutional bullying, community monitoring of policy wins, an introduction to human rights, and using a phone app to monitor students’ rights in discipline. Members also discussed state-level strategies around the Every Student Succeeds Act, participated in a School-to-Prison Pipeline Game of Life, and participated in our Coordinating Committee election.
Member facilitators included COFI/POWER-PAC and Women of God’s Design (IL), NSA Parent Action Committee (NY),Advocates for Equity in Schools-Henrico Coalition (VA), Teachers Unite (NY), Girls for Gender Equity (NY), Soul Sisters Leadership Collective (FL), Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM, NY), Coleman Advocates (CA), CADRE (CA), Youth on Board/BSAC (MA), Boston Youth Organizing Project, Power U Center for Social Change and Student Advocacy Center of Michigan.
The weekend closed with discussions about the role of police in schools and plans for our upcoming National Week of Action Against School Pushout taking place this fall from October 15th to 23rd.
You can also see pictures of our powerful weekend here.