Progress In Education Justice

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Blog for the Week of July 20
On Monday, the BEJA Youth Organizers the Boston student Advisory Council interviewed City Councilor Tito Jackson. We introduced our three main campaigns: Equitable Funding, Charter School Issues, and Less Testing More Learning. The meeting went well because Tito Jackson’s beliefs about public education aligned with ours. He even asked us to be his personal student advisors and keep him updated about things that are happening in our education. Later that day, I attended a power mapping workshop. I learned more about how power and personal interests are related. Then, we went to meet with the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation (CSNDC). They introduced the project that they were working on, the Talbot/Norfolk Triangle. This project is focused on bringing solar panels and economic innovation to a low income area. I was excited to learn more about all the work that they are doing around the community and see the potential they saw in all the abandoned areas in their neighborhood.

I learned about how to create a workshop with the teens at BSAC. By the end of the week, I started to create our Share Your Story workshop with the other Youth Organizers. We are creating this workshop to raise awareness about the issues in our schools and encourage students to “share their stories”. I was excited to be creating a workshop but also nervous that I would soon have to speak in front of large groups of people.

Blog for the Week of July 27
This week, we finished creating the Share Your Story workshop. We practiced for hours because we needed to become more confident in the things we were saying and memorize the workshop. Later that day, I went to a workshop about how money is split up in Boston Public Schools. This workshop provided me with important information to cite while blogging about students I have interviewed for the Share Your Story Project. We practiced our workshop and revised it so that we were being as clear as possible about all the issues in the education system and the importance of people sharing their stories. Then, we made protest signs with JWJ for their rally on Thursday for Verizon workers who wanted health benefits. We were interviewed by Jennifer Berkshire about the experiences we’ve had working at BEJA and the things we’ve learned. I thought that was fun because it was a reminder of all the things we have accomplished this summer and how much we have learned.

We facilitated our first workshop on Thursday at the Mass Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (Masscosh). It went well, for the most part, but some people kept talking over us and we had to learn how to take control of a room of people. I felt accomplished after the workshop. There was something empowering about encouraging students to share their opinions and let their voices be heard.

Blog for the Week of August 3
This week, we did our second workshop together at Project RIGHT. The workshop went well but there were some kids who actually liked their Charter Schools, which was unexpected. This changed the tone of the discussions in the workshop because the Charter School students felt like they were being attacked which was not the point of the workshop. We did a lot better the second time because we had practiced more and became more confident in what we were saying. I like doing the workshops because it is important that student voices are heard. Later that day, I went to a communication workshop and learned more about the power of people communicating the same idea together.

On Tuesday, we practiced our workshop and prepared for the National Night Out at Academy Homes. By the end of the week I felt better about doing the workshop because I knew that I had gotten better with practice.