For days, hundreds of thousands of people have filled the streets of 160 cities across the country, even during the coronavirus pandemic, expressing their outrage and grief at the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Two Black leaders of the CFT, with long histories of fighting for racial equity, say they could not help being profoundly moved by the murder itself, and the outpouring of rage in response.
UPDATE: On April 1, delegates to CFT
Convention unanimously passed Resolution 14 titled “Reclaim the
promise of racial equity for Black males in California,” which
called for adoption of the report written by the Racial Equity
“When we say Black Lives Matter, we’re saying that we need an
agenda that puts our lives right up there with everyone else’s,”
said Christopher Wilson, from Alliance San Diego, a group
mobilizing for change in low-income communities and communities
Wilson spoke at the Classified Conference on October 8, before
attending the funeral for Alfredo Olango, a black man killed by
police in nearby El Cajon.
Whenever we see inequalities in our society we need to remember
one thing, antiracist activist Tim Wise told attendees — there
are no accidents, just precedents.
Wise, who has written seven books, most recently Under the
Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing
the Future of America, talked about how the inherent injustice of
the educational system must be transformed — the system was never
meant to bring equity.
If an African American male student is suspended, there’s a 90
percent chance he’ll end up in prison some time in his life. In
2013-14, there were half a million suspensions in California
schools, many those of black and brown children. These statistics
make equity in education one of the great civil rights struggles
of our time, said Ali Cooper, the executive director of the
Restorative Schools Vision Project.
In the nation’s first school desegregation case, on February 13,
1931, in Lemon Grove, California, the Mexican parents of Roberto
Alvarez went to court to stop the Lemon Grove Grammar School from
denying access to Mexican children. A victory for Roberto in the
local court stopped the case from reaching the U.S. Supreme
Court. But the same issue did reach the U.S. Supreme Court almost
twenty-two years later (1953) when the Black parents of
ten-year-old Linda Brown sued the Topeka (Kansas) School Board,
demanding that skin color (and race) not be used to deny her
access to her neighborhood public school. Unlike the Lemon Grove
court, Topeka courts did rule that skin color could be used to
deny Linda’s entrance to the nearby public school and, thus, the
case was appealed to the Supreme Court. Her local public school,
she said, was her gateway to opportunity, and thus, that gateway
should not be blocked by segregationist policies. She won.