In advance of a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision that led to the desegregation of Americaâ€™s schools, Milwaukeeâ€™s School & Communities United â€“ a coalition of community, teacher, student, labor, civic and religious organizations â€“ has issued a report on education in Milwaukee.
The 30-page report â€“ "Fulfill the Promise: The Schools and Communities Our Children Deserve" â€“ is a manifesto that declares, "On this, the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, we honor the promise of equal opportunity. We commit ourselves to a revitalized civil rights movement, recognizing the inherent links between strong public schools, healthy communities and a multiracial democracy."
The report was released three days before an eponymous event, slated for Saturday, May 17, that includes a 10 a.m. unity parade that begins at Martin Luther King Park on 14th and Vliet Streets, a keynote speaker at 11 a.m. at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, on 23rd and Highland, and a 12:30 p.m. working lunch and organizing session that aims to pull together a group of community members and leaders, elected officials, parents and educators in order to craft a call to action.
The keynote speaker, Donna Brazile, is vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and a contributor and commentator on CNN's "The Situation Room" and "American Morning."
Among the 19 organizations that make up Schools and Communities United are the ACLU Wisconsin, NAACP-Milwaukee Chapter, Centro Hispano, LGBT Community Center and Parents for Public Schools.
"Education is a civil right and public responsibility," the report declares. "A strong public education system is the foundation of our democracy, of equal opportunity, and of an economy that works for all."
In order to ensure that right, SCU argues, segregation, economic inequality and the effort to privatize public schools must be addressed.
"We all know that our public schools can, and must, do a better job educating all children," reads a letter accompanying the report. "But we must never forget that the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) remains the only education institution in this city with the capacity, the commitment and the legal obligation to educate all children.
"To move forward, we must reaffirm the inherent link between strong public schools, healthy communities and a multiracial democracy. We must also break down the division between rich and poor, white and non-white, city and suburban. Segregation an inequities undermine the common good throughout our metropolitan area."
For more information on the report and the events, visit SchoolsAndCommunitiesUnited.org. The entire report can be found at the same link.
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