The members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools stand in solidarity with the African-American community in protest of the police murder of George Floyd. This murder, and the many brutal murders of Black people at the hands of the police preceding it, screams out for an end to police brutality and an end to the criminalization and mass incarceration of African-Americans. The shocking tear-gassing and physical assaults by police on peaceful protestors and journalists offer a glimpse into the treatment of African-Americans and other people of color every day.
We can no longer delay a structural reform in America, in public education, housing, and community resources. We must create an equal system of justice. COVID-19’s out-sized fatalities in communities of color leaves no doubt about the need for basic health care.
APPS is a grass-roots community organization fighting to save public education from the well-funded forces of privatization. Philadelphia and other cities–Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit, Newark, and others–have had their education budgets cut while private companies have exploited public schools for their own profit. Over 25 Philadelphia public schools, almost all in economically struggling African-American communities, have been closed over the past ten years.
The protests and ensuing devastation mirror the corporate looting that the governing bodies of school districts have imposed on communities against their will in cities across the country, including Philadelphia. This is the looting that APPS has and will speak out against as we fight for the public schools in which we have worked and our children have learned. We call on the School District of Philadelphia and the Board of Education to change course and increase–not decrease– opportunities for students, staff, parents and community to speak out against the racism faced by most of our students and the need for adequate funding so that Philadelphia’s students can face a more equitable future.