Raise Your Hand, a student-led movement is calling for the Sec. of Education to publicly recognize the demands of students of color within the first 100 days of the new administration.
NEW YORK, Dec. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to the detrimental and disproportionate impact of COVID-19 Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, students have organized the Raise Your Hand Student Agenda, a list of demands powered by Our Turn's youth-led campaign for educational justice. Students of color from around the country are calling for the new Secretary of Education to publicly acknowledge these demands and involve student thought leadership during the roll out of Biden's education plan.
President-Elect Joe Biden said that he had a mandate to "achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country," during his victory speech. Our Turn student ambassadors plan to hold him to this promise, calling for Biden's Education cabinet pick to acknowledge that doing so requires swift action and authentic engagement of historically marginalized communities.
Blanca Pallini, an Our Turn student organizer in Los Angeles said, "When trying to achieve racial justice and 'root out' systematic racism, we must, within this country and the new administration, recognize how systemic racism is embedded in our society - rooting from our education. To Joe Biden's Department of Education pick, it is going to take more than reform."
Pallini is one of five-thousand Our Turn leaders who have delivered equity-focused wins in the education system during the pandemic. Pallini notes that, "We must unlearn and rebuild our education system in America. One of the student-demands in the Raise Your Hand campaign is 'Nothing About Us, Without Us.' Educational justice starts by listening to students, particularly students of color, who have consistently been left out of discussions centering on our education."
During protests for educational justice, a Raise Your Hand Virtual Protest Truck went live on the streets in Denver broadcasting students across the country as they laid out a grassroots platform for ensuring opportunity and justice in education. Ranging from the decolonization of school curriculums to equitable funding, the Raise Your Hand Student Agenda reconciles the systemic setbacks BIPOC students have suffered long after the desegregation of schools.
Barrett Griffith, a student organizer of Our Turn, Charlotte, NC, feels that Biden's position on achieving racial justice relates mostly to the campaign for educational justice. "When he says, we must 'achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country,' the first thing I can think of is decolonizing school curriculums," said Griffith.
"How can we battle racial injustice if it is instilled through America's Education System? Is biased education not a pillar of systemic racism itself?"
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Our Turn, a 501(c)(3), elevates the voices of young people in the fight for educational equity. Our Turn Action Network, a 501(c)(4), deploys policy advocacy efforts for the achievement of educational justice.