Current Areas of Civil Rights Advocacy
Advocacy for Education: It is sad that the school system though no longer 100% separate is not yet 100% equal. Recently, we fought for more counselors in the schools to give much needed guidance to our youth. Our abiding interest in quality education for all youth makes it disappointing when it appears that a certain milieu of children, teachers, parents, and schools are denied adequate resources pertinent for a world-class 21st century education on the basis of ethnic differences.
Matching our advocacy with action the Education Committee under the leadership of Seth Stuart sent twelve students of different races to Latin America, Asia, and Europe through exchange programs. Also, we have been successful in getting African American administrators in Central Office who had not been there before in decision making positions. As we address the issue like the over-criminalization and incarceration of African Americans, particularly males, our insistence on a quality education for ALL children is of utmost importance. As Victor Hugo said, “[We] who [open] a school door, closes a prison.”
Advocacy for Decriminalization, Rehabilitation and Tolerance: While pursuing better education for our children and youth, we do not cease to campaign for more immediate justice for our youth at juvenile hall and in the criminal justice system. The numbers of prisoners on the rise threaten to surpass the state’s physical capacity to further incarcerate, the prospects of “re-entry,” - the process through which certain inmates will receive an early release from prison and will thus re-enter society - are high. This can be a great opportunity! Thus, we are seriously advocating through direct dialogue with the SF District Attorney, along with Secretary Kate, of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to ensure that there are programs arranged to make the reentry facilitate safe and productive for both individual and society to which he/she returns.
We submitted a statement that has been approved by the National Board to become the official statement of the National body on the matter of ridding our country of the religious bigotry which continues to be so viciously expressed toward the Muslim community in their efforts to build a mosque near Ground Zero by politicians and others who view the impartment of fear as their only chance at governing the country.
Advocacy for Community: We successfully advocated for the enhancement of the Marcus Garvey Housing Development and also for the Ship Yard Development in Bay View Hunter’s Point. We plan to stay on top of the Migration Task Force to ensure that they provide equal opportunity for jobs, business contracts and even more developments. Also, we commenced, organized, and led the effort to change the name of the Peter Burnett School to the Leola M. Havard Child Development Center, thereby continuing our fight to remove the symbols of disenfranchisement and bigotry for which likes of Peter Burnett are unrepentantly guilty.