Here’s One Thing You Can Do Right Now to Defend the Rights of Black Families in California

May 21, 2019 12:00:00 AM


I don’t know about you, but I can’t just sit by and watch. It’s time for action.

The latest battleground in the national war on charter schools is California, where elected officials have decided they needn’t concern themselves with the majority of Black kids who are falling behind in California’s traditional public schools, and instead they should focus on attacking charter schools.

Worse, the guy who is pushing for the harshest legislation against charter schools, Kevin McCarty from Sacramento, is a member of the state’s Congressional Black Caucus. (More about him in a second.)

But wait, Tanesha, you say. I thought that in seven out of eight major school districts in California, Black charter school students are academically outperforming their peers in traditional district schools. I thought Black families were more likely to choose charter schools for their children than any other ethnic group in California. Why would representatives of the Black community want to fight against the interests of Black families?


So after I finish writing this to you, I’m headed to the airport to fly to Sacramento and talk with parents who are frustrated with the distractions, the injustices and the audacity of these people and their disregard for parent voice and choice.

I’m taking my ass halfway across the country because I’m tired of these politicians trying to limit the options of Black and Brown families in favor of their privilege.

Alongside me will be families, educators and community leaders who oppose these ridiculous bills. And we’ll be cheering on The Urban League, National Action Network and local NAACP chapters who chose the needs of Black communities over politics.

Do Something

Here’s the part where you can do something too. That guy, Rep. McCarty, who is pushing hard to limit school options for his own Black constituents, refuses to even meet with the civil rights groups who wish to educate him on the truth about charter schools in the Black community.

So we've got a letter right here that you can sign your name to and send to him now.

[contact-form-7 id="14569" title="Contact McCarty"]

Just click that "send" button and you can get a letter directly to McCarty himself. He needs to hear from all of us. Then maybe he and others will start listening.

Now, some of you may be thinking, “Well, that sounds like a California problem.” It’s not.

As a matter of fact, during National Charter School Week and on the 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board, Bernie Sanders announced that he would push for moratorium on any new charter schools if he’s elected as president.

Look, I don’t care how liberal Bernie is—a rich, White man from Vermont who doesn’t even have a clear stance on reparations for Black people can’t tell me anything about what poor, underserved communities of color need—especially without offering any condemnation or even recognition of a public school system that’s failed us for generations.

But, I digress.

The point is, this is the culmination of a national attack on access to an equitable and quality education for Black and Latino students and families. Whether you’re a charter school supporter or not, I ask you to look beyond the smoke and mirrors and see that these politicians don’t care about and aren’t trying to fix education for our kids. And to keep our eyes off the prize of education liberation, they throw stupid obstacles in our way like this.

I’d like to leave you with this—I think we can all agree that Thurgood Marshall was a true freedom fighter. And while Brown v. Board caused some unintended consequences, his efforts were dedicated to ensuring Black kids have equal access to good schools.

My friend, Erika Sanzi, asked if the honorable Mr. Marshall would appreciate having his name attached to Bernie’s plan.

And my other friend, Vesia Hawkins, responded brilliantly with this tweet saying she can’t speak to what Thurgood Marshall would do.

Honestly, none of us knows what he would do. But based off his work, we can guess that Thurgood Marshall would not stand for a plan that limits school options for Black families.

And if you believed in Thurgood Marshall, his mission and legacy, neither would you. It’s time to fight for better schools for our kids, regardless of the model.

You can start here:

CLICK HERE to tell Kevin McCarty to Listen to the Civil Rights Community in His Own State

Tanesha Peeples

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work—“If not me, then who?” As the former Deputy Director of Activist Development for brightbeam, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for change in the public education system. Her passion for community and relentless mission for justice and liberation drive her in uplifting and amplifying the voices and advocacy of those that are often ignored. Tanesha wholeheartedly believes that education is the foundation for success. Her grand vision is one where everyone—regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender or ZIP code—can have access to a comfortable quality of life and enjoy the freedoms and liberties promised to all Americans. And that's what she works towards every day.

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