Fellow panelists at the forum were Taina Vargas-Edmond from the Ella Baker Center, Jason Pfeifle from CALPIRG, Gloria Bruce from East Bay Housing Organizations, me, Jacob Bintliff from Oakland Tenants' Union and Lawrence Briscoe from the Coalition for Police Accountability.
Today I spoke at a Racial Justice Voters Forum at St. Cuthbert's Church, organized by the King Estates/Eastmont Hills Dialogue on Race and White Privilege. I was there to provide some information about Measure G1, the measure for OUSD salary increases and middle school improvement, and to discuss the racial justice implications of the parcel tax.
I believe Measure G1 is related to racial justice for three reasons:
- OUSD students need to have teachers who look like them and speak their languages. This is part of creating schools that feel welcoming and inclusive for our students and families. Many people of color have been, and continue to be, driven out of Oakland by the high cost of living, and this includes our teachers and other school staff. A salary increase will help us to address the challenge of retaining teachers and other school staff of color.
- High teacher and staff turnover disproportionately affects our flatland schools, which are most likely to be the schools attended by low-income students of color. Increasing salaries will bring down turnover and support student success.
- Funds to improve middle school offerings will be allocated according to an equity formula, so that schools with higher needs (more low-income students and English Language Learners) will get more of the additional funding.
I was really impressed with all of the presenters and their analysis of the issues on the ballot with regard to race. I'm glad that my neighbors have taken this on and look forward to their future gatherings, the next of which will be on November 12 (contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details about the group or this event). I hope you will join us there.
Me with two of my favorite D6 constituents, Tina Fleming, left and Kathryn Sterbenc, right. Kathryn is the Chair of the Oakland Library Advisory Commission.