60th anniversary of Brown v Board aims to light fire
“Our schools have become high-stakes testing factories, and corporate America is trying to privatize them,” Williams said. “We say: no more. We are reclaiming our public schools, and we are demanding that the promise of Brown v. Board of Education be fulfilled.”
Many speakers at the May 13 demonstrations asked that all community members rally behind their local schools not break them down further by pulling support.
The 1954 desegregation ruling was followed by 30 years of slow integration, which was followed by another 30 years of steady resegregation along the lines of socioeconomics and race.
“Today in America, African-American children and Latino children are much more likely to attend segregated schools, and schools that segregate on bases of race and class, than they were in the 1970s,” Noguera said. “So the country without declaring an end has in effect started a process of retrenching and reverting back to segregated schooling.”
The subject is largely an uncomfortable one for legislators, Noguera explained, partly because the courts have put up new barriers and partly because no one wants to revisit the controversies of the past.
Lighting the fire of change
“We’re fighting a battle for our children that was legally won before we were born,” Angelica Smith, a parent-leader in Philadelphia’s Journey for Justice group, said. “Everyone would love if the problem had actually been fixed 60 years ago, but it wasn’t. Now is the time for our law makers to make it happen.”
Smith and the other Journey to Justice parents ask that all parents contact their state’s representatives, asking them to put equity education legislation into place.
“It’s time we lit a fire under them,” Smith said. “It’s time for America to become that promised land.”
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