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Thursday, December 8, 2022

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News + PoliticsEducationFighting the Oakland school closures

Fighting the Oakland school closures

If I hadn’t had a school to go to with teachers and free breakfast as a houseless child, I literally couldn’t have made it through my life.


Education gentriFication-

Thur institutional disguises 

stealing our poor communities homes, schools and lives 

paper work, poltricks and back room deals 

hidden from our eyes- 

This is budget genocide—claiming Deficits—and Blood-stained Paper Trailed LIES  

Save our skools! 

Cuz u may try to stand in the way Politrickster fools 

but  no matta what  our Black and Brown/Poor people skools  wIll not  DIE  

“This is a family school, they are tearing families apart. We have to make sure this school stays open for K-8 students. The School Board didn’t do an equity analysis on these schools before they put them on a list for closure,” said Misty, a warrior known for her work with Moms4Housing as she stood outside Parker Elementary School, a powerful comeUnity school located in Deep East (Occupied Huchuin) Oakland, which along with so many more schools in majority Black and Brown neighborhoods are facing the insanity of sudden closure . 

“How is it that schools like Hillcrest, which are predominantly white schools, get another year and schools like Parker and Markham get 10 days before their schools are closed?” asked Malaysia Williams, a Castlemont High School graduate who along with her mama was at the corner of Ritchie and BlackArthur (MacArthur Bl) in Deep East Oakland.

Protesters demand an end to school closures.

POOR Magazine houseless and formerly houseless family of mamaz, youth and uncles from Homefulness, showed up to report and support on Parker elementary school, which is our neighbor, our folks, the school that has been there for our barrio for years, a school  to over 50 percent of the housing insecure or houseless families who are part of Homefulness family and who come thru weekly to Sliding Scale Cafe for medicine, food, and diapers and now face yet another part of their/our community being stolen out from under us by poltrickster agendas and the ever-hungry desire for more land to steal for privatization, charter schools and scarcity models. 

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education announced suddenly in February a “proposal” to close more than 19 schools with a majority of Black, Brown and very-low and no-income students in Oakland. This violent act of what I am calling Education GentriFUKation and Budget Genocide  prompted two warrior teachers from WestLake Middle School Andres Sanchez and Moses Amolade to go on a hunger strike. 

They have since ended the strike.

These two warriors’ act of fierceness was followed six days later by OUSD narrowly approving a measure to close or merge nearly a dozen schools during a contentious meeting that began Tuesday night, February 8 and lasted into the early morning hours Wednesday and had more than 2,000 people in attendance. 

The reason they have given for these acts of budget genocide against already underfunded schools and communities is to confront an expected budget deficit.

From Moses and Andre- Hunger Strikers on Feb. 18:

It has been 21 days since the initial leak of school closures across the district. We are feeling strong in spirit & mind and also weak in body & flesh. During this time we have been educated on how wide this issue reaches but also how divested the state and district are in providing safe space for our Black and Brown students. Not only has awareness been brought to the issues that plague our city and schools, our community has shown up so fearlessly, city officials have stopped by for more humane conversations, and more importantly there has been some traction in having our demands met. 

Being that everyday beyond today is medically critical for us, we are starting to sit with the realities of what impact our voice has in this movement. Many elders and wise council have poured into us about the importance of being alive for the longevity of this movement and battle. We listen and honor their voices. Simultaneously, we listen to our community and honor their voices as well. At this junction–our demands have refocused. Since day 1, our goal has always been to humanize the process.

Through this whole process, the hunger strikes have been reminded of the joys and sweet pleasantries of fighting alongside our community. We desire to live and do just that. That’s why we are sharing these very achievable demands to end our hunger strike, NOW! We want Freedom Friday to be a celebration for Oakland, a celebration for our communities and a celebration of this district.

Meanwhile Parker, La Escuelita, Grass Valley and many more schools in majority Black and Brown neighborhoods, with very-low and no-income and houseless students face immediate closure.   

At the same time as all this violent education gentriFUKation, warriors from Black Organizing Project have been fighting for reparations for Black Students, because of the scarcity models already in a city that has been dominated by politicians taking the dime from the developers. 

Right here on BlackArthur, Homefulness, a homeless, landless peoples solution to homelessness,  is struggling to open the homes we have spent the last 11 years building for fellow houseless youth and families and have completely been blocked at every turn, while at the same time luxury condos pop up all over the Bay like a chia pet. 

We have a liberation homeschool here on-site at Homefulness (DeeColonize Academy) filled with youth and families who have struggled with homelessness, violence and housing insecurity and are very upset by these closures and have shown up and written reports and spoken up in all our media to resist this violence, in solidarity with all the OUSD students—read their reports here  

For this formerly houseless mama and daughter, this entire horrible situation is extremely triggering. If I hadn’t had a school to go to with teachers and free breakfast as a houseless child, I literally couldn’t have made it through my life with mama when we were living in tents and on the street. School for poor and houseless children is not only food and love; its sanity, when everything else around us is insane, 

“This is a community and neighborhood school, said Juanita C. “Our children often time have no other way of getting from this neighborhood to other schools, making them travel miles to school will probably mean they don’t go at all.”

Juanita is one of our Sliding Scale Cafe family, and she was talking about her own children, as she worried about the status of La Estrellita, another school planned for closure. 

“Do Not let OUSD shut our schools down,” Rochelle Williams, (Malaysia’s Mama) shouted out to all cars, people, bicycles and folks walking by on BlackArthur. “Do not let OUSD bully our students out of their education,” she concluded as a car, one of several, who honked in support of these baadass mamaz and students in resistance. 

“We will be here on strike as long as it takes,” concluded Malaysia, while raising her sign to the sky. 

And so will we at POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE/Homefulness. Join us at BlackArthur and Ritchie Streets in Deep East Oakland:

Check out this podcast.

Here’s what else you can do to help:
Write your district board director and urge them to postpone all school closures until the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

Continue to tag @gavinnewsom in all your posts about school closures in Oakland.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

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