Tonya Bah transcript of testimony before School Board on July 9, 2018

Click on timestamp 54:33 to view Tonya’s testimony.

People of color are held captive within the modern day Willie Lynch format in Philadelphia.

We are continuously expected to ignore the disproportionate profiling, criminalization of our brown skin and our shouts for assistance with our trauma, poverty and mental illness. In 2018 we experience the updated, subtle and effective continuation of 1712’s method used to control slaves. The Lynch method is as alive today as it ever was and it is perpetuated brilliantly by way of our Public Education system.

Unborn babies, 2,3 and 4year olds are counted amongst future earnings and seen as useful production for someone else’s business and pleasure. Tax dollars initially earmarked for Education slide conveniently into legislative pervue with little to zero input from the very taxpayers required to provide a means for the illusion of choice. Countless families are made to accept the narrative that Educators, not legislators have failed us, allowing for the criminalization of poverty through ill conceived programs involving school uniforms, segregation of students using special admit schools and the furthering of the prison pipeline budgeting for truancy guidelines instead of an overhaul of an oppressive, fictitious history that further humiliates the struggles people of color endure.

Strawberry Mansion, our newest victim amongst the for-profit, pile up this administration can’t seem to get enough of. Millions of tax paid dollars handed over to Vendors that will now move to “save” over-aged Students in an accelerated program for youth previously failed by the School District. Sounds good, not so fast, while providing millions to vendors, our dilapidated buildings, allowed to deteriorated steadily will face another even greater blow in a community struggling to meet its daily obligations. This blow is so blatant and intentional in its efforts to fully destroy the schools future. So, it’s been turned around and when that didn’t seem to totally dismantle it. The Superintendent made an Executive decision to cut the heart out and eliminate the ninth grade altogether. Because he can. No outcry or protest will stop this order. Dr. Hite has spoken and once again tax payers get the full opportunity to watch on of their city’s most impoverished sections reduced.

While Parents and Educators struggle to find understanding behind the disappearing budget for physical school improvements, we do get to watch our legislators sit idly by as future generations born into poverty become stripped of the equalizer, the tax paid institution of education. Technology as a base not an asset. The merging of grades and elimination of school buildings to balance the budget. We elected a Mayor that ran on Education and Ending Stop and frisk. We still have a Superintendent that finds little value in Public school buildings that are safe and open to all families without lotteries, hoops and corporate ties. Willie Lynch is alive and well and operating in the city of Philadelphia. If you listen close enough you can hear him laughing in the halls of our schools and the center of our city. Strawberry Mansion is his next victim, first the school, then the community. Alan Butkovitz requested access to the School district entire financial operation. What will you request as the first appointed School Board? How will you stop the lynching of Public Education in Philadelphia? What will be your position?

Tonya Bah
Parent of Autistic Twins
Public School Graduate and Social Justice Activist

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