In the past weeks, I have taken a part in the teacher’s strike, making it out to mostly the morning actions and the student-led sit-ins at the Davis Center. Though there were no classrooms for us, students, I have learned so much. Returning to school being greeted by my teachers cheering, matching all in union blue made me so happy. I come out of all this feeling an enormous amount of love and respect for my teachers. I’m also so proud of my friends and peers who were out on the line mobilizing bodies; their friends and classmates, boosting important information because they knew it was our fight too. With students at the Davis center, I found myself looking around at a room filled with seventeen and eighteen-year-olds and in my head saying, “I hope that we remember this”
Thinking back on the last three years, I’ve thought this a lot. Just hoping that our generation is taking a second while it seems the world is ending every day to soak in the lessons of what we’re living through and can carry these experiences with us beyond graduation. I hope we never stop being loud. I hope we never stop taking up space.
I hope that we remember our high school years, this strike and as we become voters and taxpayers we know that public education matters, and we look at the people in power, look beyond their words to their actions and see where their true priorities lie.
It was so powerful too to hear from students from South and North at the sit-ins at Davis, those schools having a higher percentage of low-income students and whose communities have been greatly impacted by the death of Floyd/ police brutality. It put things into perspective, as though our school needs funds and support, we must fight for EVERY school’s funding acknowledging the extreme inequities that disproportionately impact others.
I knew a few of the student leaders from past activism work and reuniting made me realize the stuff we’re learning as student activists is not specific to one injustice. We’re learning how to use our voices, how to lift each other up. That’s universal.
It’s clear the work isn’t done, with many teachers feeling a range of emotions about how negotiations concluded. Additionally, the district’s move to ratify the extended days and added time seems extremely punitive and out of touch with the realities of many student, teacher, parent lives, not to mention the impact on the greater southwest community and metro area. It makes me frustrated and angry and tired. Yet it’s impossible to not see the beauty, through all the chaos, that comes from fighting for change.
Maddie Tatum (junior)