Evette Jones, PFT staffer and PCAPS leader, at yesterday’s rally. Also pictured here from right to left are Rev. Larry Patrick, PA-AFT President Ted Kirsch, PFT President Jerry Jordan and State Rep. James Roebuck
We are here today because 60 years ago the Supreme Court took a giant step forward in the long struggle for racial equality in our country. It struck down the separate but equal doctrine that was the legal foundation for Jim Crow schools in the South. It affirmed the principle that all children are entitled to a quality education.
We are here today because we know the promise of the Brown decision has not been kept. Both nationally and in our city we have witnessed decades of resistance to school desegregation and providing equality of opportunity for children of color.
We are here today because, under a 13 year regime of state control, we are seeing our schools reduced, in the words of Superintendent Hite, to empty shells without the resources that are essential to provide even the bare bones of an education. Our schools threaten to become the shame of the nation, as were the Jim Crow schools of the South in the years before Brown.
We are here today to make clear that we will not accept this outcome and will continue the fight to realize the promise of the Brown decision. We recognize that every gain that has been made in the fight for equality has come from the willingness of ordinary people to stand up and fight. We stand on the shoulders of the Southern freedom movement, the people who tore down the walls of segregation at Girard College, the African American students who stood up to police clubs at the Board of Education to win Black studies, and the many organizations who waged a decades long fight in the courts and in the streets to challenge separate and unequal schooling in our city. We honor those who came before us by continuing their fight.
We are here today because we know, as did Dr. Martin Luther King, that the struggle for racial equality is bound up with the fight for economic justice. The claim that education can somehow deliver the promised land without attacking poverty, without challenging the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few, is a cruel hoax.
Finally, We are here today because this is an election year and we are focused on carrying our fight to the ballot box. We will be organizing voters today and right down to November to use their power to elect people who will support education and economic justice. We need each and every one of you here today to help make this happen. Are you with us?