Yes, this is something different! The 100 Days Initiative is a creative, collaborative, and civic action-minded project out of Bard College, comprising not just students but interested community members and partner organizations as well. Through local action and multimedia resources, the collective efforts of working groups and media fellows will disseminate factual information, as well as provide opportunities for civic action on a regular basis.
And guess what? I'm one of those media fellows! For the next few months, regular Girl Unaffiliated content will be a bit more rare as I write and work as a media fellow for the 100 Days Initiative, but worry not: I will post my writing here as well as on the 100 Days website!
Though my posts will be slightly more political, the Girl Unaffiliated voice all three of you, my devoted followers, have come to know and love will still be as present and angsty as ever. So sit back, buckle in your seat belts, and enjoy the wild ride! (However, if you're not a ride-person and kind of scared of the drops and twists and stuff, all of my other stuff is still totally available-- just click on the pink Categories titles on the right that AREN'T called "100 Days Initiative.")
Defend Public Education! On March 4, we need YOU to join students, teachers, parents and community members across New York State as we come together for the People’s March for Education Justice. Black, Brown, immigrant, refugee, low-income, LGBTQIA students, English Language Learners, homeless students and students with special needs are all facing a direct threat from our federal government and from Governor Cuomo. We are marching to protect our youth and demand the New York Legislature do the same. March with us. Follow the hashtag #March4EducationNY for updates! (http://www.aqeny.org/march/)
What is the People's March for Education Justice about?
Significant changes are coming to this nation's public education system under the new administration, and students, teachers, parents, and community members everywhere are already feeling the negative effects.
The exceptionally unqualified Betsy DeVos was nominated and confirmed as Education Secretary in an unprecedented tiebreaker vote. Representative Thomas Massie introduced a brief and inexplicable bill which reads, in its entireity, "The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018." And just this past Wednesday, the president rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. (Articles elaborating on all three of these disastrous measures forthcoming.)
Whether or not these changes will be enforced or are just examples of political posturing, the thought of their outcomes is catalyzing advocates of equality and opportuntiy in public education throughout the United States to fight back.
One major response is the People's March for Education Justice, happening all over New York on March 4, 2017. The march is being herladed by The Alliance for Quality Education, a New York based coalition dedicated to ensuring high qualityeducation to all students regardless of location within this highly socioeconomically diverse state. Through a combination of grassroots organization and legislative skill, the AQE intends to hold New York state government fast to its promises for public education, while also honoring all of the incredible strides made in public schools every day.
Why should I march? What would I be marching for?
The AQE has developed a platform comprising several demands, the purpose of which is to ensure racial justice in public education, fully funded public schools, access to higher education, and positive school climates for all. The following list is a thorough description of each demand as well as how everyone, not just students or children, would be affected.
The People's March for Education Justice demands:
What can I do if I can't make it to the march?
If you can't make it to the march, there are a plethora of local action steps you can take to tell your local representatives how the constituents feel about public education. Though writing letters is an effective method, calling your local representative and showing up at town meetings and other local government events are the most powerful ways of making sure your voice is heard. This Friday, March 3, the 100 Days Initiative will be holding a phone bank event, making calls to Representative John Faso to oppose a bill that would allow conceal-carry in all fifty states, a bill that would inevitably affect our schools. Check the Facebook page (facebook.com/100daysteam) to see the script and tell us you made the call!
The 100 Days Initiative is also hosting a de-brief on March 8 at Bard College's Weis Cinema starting at 1:30. Together with faculty, students, and community members, the de-brief will be an opportunity for those who attended the march as well as those who didn't to organize and brainstorm solutions to the issues raised by the march's coordinators.