Sunday’s youth-focused webinar “Learning Together: Economic Justice in Education” was so, so good! We have the full video here if you missed it, and you can read on for our main takeaways. Big kudos to our head presenters Bennet Vining and Juan Bocanegra, our panel leader Chardonnay Beaver, and our talented panel members:
- Jesse Hagopian, Garfield High School teacher and activist
- Maya Manus, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
- Ileyana Taylor-Mabone, student leader
- Emijah Smith, community queen and parent
Our main takeaways from the webinar:
- Our BIPOC communities are feeling the effects of historical economic injustice even more keenly in this recession.
Ileyana - “My mom’s a teacher and if we hadn’t saved up money for a few months, definitely we would have had to figure out what to do when it came to rent. One stimulus check is not going to cut it, especially when we live in a place that has high rent and high cost of living. I’ve had multiple neighbors move out of our apartment complex just because they couldn’t pay anymore.”
Hagopian - “We have Bezos, who's projected to be the first trillionaire in world history while we’ve got 150 homeless kids at Garfield High School...Seattle has two of the richest people in the world, but many schools don’t have a school nurse in the middle of a pandemic...I mean this is the kind of obscene hoarding of wealth that is destroying our society, and finally there is a rebellion kicking off that is looking at where the wealth is being invested.”
Maya - “It is on purpose that Amazon and Microsoft and Boeing are here. It is on purpose that Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos live here. It is on purpose why the Central District and Hilltop don't look the same. Reinvestment in community for me is to have our tax dollars come back to us and see them work to help us thrive.”
- You can’t talk about racial justice without talking about economic justice.
Hagopian - “The real legacy of many of the black leaders throughout history was that there is no black liberation without economic freedom as well, and without [black people] being put towards the center of the economic system.”
- To empower our young people to fight for economic justice, we have to promote community organizing, comprehensive financial and civic education, and common-sense policy changes.
Maya [on the need for civic education] - “[Young people] could see that the Central District is changing, that their schools aren’t getting food in the first month. They see all these things, but they don’t see how they connect to the Office of Instruction, or Governor, or Lieutenant Governor. But these all have a huge part in how their schools and communities run.”
Emijah - “I speak truth to power and speak about injustices - if that makes me a community organizer so be it. We all should be charged with this. We should all be outraged at what’s happening in the community and what’s historically happened to Black, Indigenous, Latinx and people of color. If we talk about a policy, the investment needs to make sure the policy makes sense and touches back to the communities that are most impacted. Those are Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities.”
Maya - “Reinvestment in community means to me that no one would have the thought of sleeping in their car, no one would have to go a day without eating, if they've fallen under addiction they're not be criminalized for it, where my tax dollars are not going to black and brown bodies being murdered, where the richest people in the world don’t feel like there is an opportunity to thrive here because they know of all the tax breaks we have here in Washington state.”
Full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QL95wVYrik
What can you do to promote economic justice?
- Fill out the Census 2020 (https://2020census.gov/en.html)
- Register to vote (https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/register.aspx)
- Call legislators and tell them to not cut services and fight for progressive revenue
- Support the Recovery Rebate and Working Families Tax Credit!
- Bennet - Lead Organizer - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Boca - Director - email@example.com