Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The People’s March for Public Education and Social Justice
By Marla Kilfoyle, Executive Director, The Badass Teachers Association

In November of 2015 I received a call from Bob George.  Bob is the national director for Save our Schools March.  Anyone who knows Bob George knows that to say “no” to him is a hard thing to do.  I have a mountain of respect for Bob.  He is a true progressive, a true social justice warrior, and a kind man.  The call I received from him in November of 2015 went something like this…

“Hi Marla, its Bob.”
“Hi Bob, how are you?”
“I’m good.  Marla I want to talk to you about a March this summer in DC.  We want to create a coalition to return to DC.”

Frankly, he had me at "March this summer in DC!"

When the idea was pitched to the BAT Board of Directors, the vote was overwhelmingly - YES!

BATs became part of the Save our Schools Coalition for Action.

Twice a week, since November of 2015, BATs have been involved in an amazing coalition with grassroots groups, union groups, and organizations from around the country in the planning of this powerful weekend.

We are beyond honored that we have the ability to continue to bring education and social justice issues to the streets of Washington, D.C. (Update) - WE also have the amazing opportunity to bring Journey 4 Justice Alliance members to DC. The vision of this weekend was to make sure we shine a light on the families and communities most impacted by corporate education reform. If you wish to help sponsor a bus for a J4J alliance please email Bob George at See the Journey for Justice Alliance members here Who has funded this March and Rally? To date here are the supporters: BATs, BATs NEA Caucus, NPE, SOS, AFT, State and Local Union groups, 31 individuals.

So, what will the weekend look like?

First book your room!  The rates are super cheap at the beautiful Omni Shoreham (this will be the hub hotel for the event)

Second, get your transportation done to get you to DC!  Planes, trains, and automobiles!

We specifically picked this weekend because it is the weekend AFTER the NEA RA.  Our hope is that many of the delegates will extend their stay and join us in front of the Lincoln Memorial on July 8th and at Howard University for the activists conference on July 9th.  

July 8th we will meet at the Lincoln Memorial beginning with a pre-rally at 10:30. Bring the WHOLE family as this will be a family friendly event!  There will be music by Barry Lane, Michelle Gunderson, Jeremy Dudley, The BAT Band, The Family von BATs, Terry Moore, DC Labor Chorus, crafts, and lots to do.  Come get settled and get your spot for the rally.  At 12:00 the Rally will begin.  Our Master of Ceremonies will be three amazing individuals:  Thomas Byrd of Education Town Hall Radio, Motivational Speaker Troy Grant, and NEA Director for North Carolina Tripp Jeffers.   We are honored to have as our keynote Rev. Dr. William Barber from the Moral Mondays movement.  We have lined up amazing speakers we are sure will inspire you -  Diane Ravitch,  Yohuru Williams; Newark Student Union (Tanaisa Brown); Mercedes Martinez (Pres. Teachers Union Puerto Rico);  Brett Bigham (NEA LGBT Caucus); Youth Dreamers; NCUEA/ NEA Ethnic Caucuses; United Opt Out; Jesse Hagopian; Denisha Jones; Gus Morales; Lisa Rudley/Jamaal Bowman NYSAPE ; Dr. Sam Anderson ; Barbara Madeloni; Mike Klonsky; Julian Vasquez Heilig; Bishop John Selders; Jonathan Kozol; Matt Damon Video message; Dyett Hunger Strikers (Jitu Brown).

There will also be jumbotron messages from Yong Zhao and Matt Damon!!

After the Rally we will hit the streets of DC and march to the White House and end up at The Ellipse!  At The Ellipse we will listen to an inspiring message from Jitu Brown, the music of Terry Moore, perhaps a Flashmob, and leave with an action plan!  We will also be meeting back at the Omni Shoreham for a social!  To learn more about the rally/march go here

If you are interested in tabling as an organization or individual at the July 8th Rally/March please fill out this survey

July 9th will be the new and experienced activist conference at historic Howard University.  YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS CONFERENCE!  Register NOW so that you don’t lose the reduced rate (it ends June 8th) and the first 100 children to register are FREE - go here

This will be a family friendly event, so bring the entire family!  A light breakfast and lunch are included in the day.   There will be workshops for everyone.  Jitu Brown, national director for the Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J), and Right Reverend Doctor John L. Selders, Jr. an ordained minister serving in the United Church of Christ, the Organizing Pastor of Amistad United Church of Christ, Hartford, CT, Associate College Chaplain, Trinity College, Hartford, CT and one of the leaders of Moral Monday CT. For 15 years, will be our keynotes for the day.  Here are some of the workshops scheduled for the 9th!   
  • The Need For Black & Latino Community Control – Sam Anderson, NYC Coalition for Public Education, & Ruth Rodriguez
  • Using the Power of Your Voice to Promote Social Justice & Unionism – Sonya Romero
  • The Struggle for Democratic Schools with Deb Meier, Jonathan Kozol, & Mike Klonsky
  • Youth Organizing Youth – Tanaisa Brown & the Newark Students Union
  • Moving the Opt Out/Test Refusal Movement Forward – Melissa Tomlinson & Cindy Hamilton
  • Special Education Advocacy – Julie Borst, Nancy Bailey, & Terry Kalb
  • The Dyett Hunger Strikers
  • Lessons Learned from Dreaming The Youth Dreamers
  • NEW LENS – The Student Led Film Group from Baltimore
  • Collaborative Community Fighting & Winning Against Privatization Michelle Fine
  • TFA 5 Years Later David Greene, Chad Sommer, Emma Howland-Bolton, Julian Vasquez Heilig, & Tina Andres
  • Broadening the Aims of Opt OutUnited Opt Out National Admins
  • Testing, Assessment, and Accountability – Monty Neill from FairTest
  • Activist School Board Members and Unionists Working Together for Social Justice in Schools and CommunitiesBess Altwerger& Erika Strauss Chavarria
  • Black Lives Are More Than a Score Jesse Hagopian
  • Global Education Reform – Mercedes Martinez, Jose Soler, and Alto Al SIMCE
  • History Lessons for High Impact Actions – Troy Grant
  • Social Media and the Education Revolution BATs Admins
  • Social Justice TeachingMichelle Bollinger
  • Equal Opportunity Now: Fighting to Defend Public Education in Detroit and Across the Nation – Nicole Conaway & Tania Kappner
  • Hip Hop Advocacy – Jeremy Dudley (Dudley aka Origin)

TEACHERS, you will get a certificate of completion if you attend.  See if your district will allow you to apply this certificate to professional development hours.

July 10th will be a Coalition Breakfast at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.  Times were still being ironed out for that and will be coming soon on the event website!

I look back on November of 2015 and that phone call from Bob George.  Seven months later I am so proud of what the entire group has done, so grateful for all of the amazing people I have met in advocacy for education and social justice, and so excited to see you all at……..


You can find full event details at  
Follow the event on twitter @SOSDC2016  #PeoplesMarch16

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