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News :: Education : Human Rights : Organizing : Politics : Race
53 Protesters from Boston Defend Voluntary Integration
11 Dec 2006
On Monday, December 4, 53 people from Cambridge and Boston attended a national demonstration at the Supreme Court sponsored by BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) in order to defend equal schooling for all children. The trip, sponsored by the Student Coalition for Justice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), was initiated by students in Gary Orfield’s “Desegregation and the Possibility of Integration” class.
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53 protesters from Boston defend voluntary integration
The students first heard of the two cases that the Supreme Court heard on Monday, which threaten to dismantle voluntary integration plans in Louisville and Seattle, in this class. The cases involve two different choice plans which use race as a tiebreaker to maintain racial balances in schools which would otherwise be segregated because of residential housing patterns. The coalition which traveled to DC included members of Harvard College, HGSE, the Harvard Law School, Tufts University, a former Swarthmore professor, and organizers from Education Action, a network of teacher activists created by author Jonathan Kozol.

As the cases began at 9 am, the group chanted with the few thousand other people who had traveled from as far away as California. They then marched to the Lincoln Memorial, where high school and college students and members of groups such as the NAACP, BAMN, and NOW spoke about the importance of maintaining the ruling in Brown v. Board. A ruling on the case is expected in May or June.

The trip, which began with an invocation using a Langston Hughes poem, and included movies such as “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Hitch,” ended with a very tired group of people holding hands and singing, “We Shall Overcome.” The coalition hopes to continue to work on a variety of social justice issues in the spring. Photographer Ty Sassaman chronicled the trip and a few of his photos are included.
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53 protesters from Boston defend voluntary integration
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53 protesters from Boston defend voluntary integration
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53 protesters from Boston defend voluntary integration
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53 protesters from Boston defend voluntary integration

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Math Time
11 Dec 2006
That's only an average of five people from each local college. Hardly anybody. Besides, it's not voluntary for the students who have to be discriminated against in their application.
Ok, let's do the math
11 Dec 2006
It's voluntary because the school boards who are elected by people in those cities approved the process, and research shows that the people in both towns--who were initially skeptical of integration efforts--are now in favor of the program.

If it's math time, look up how many people actually don't end up getting their first choice because race is used as a tie breaker--it is miniscule.

Most of the protesters were actually from HGSE. Even if there were only five people from each school, that wouldn't diminish the validity of our opinions.

If you really cherished the values of integration, I think we all would value the sacrifice of a child not going to his/her first choice. It seems to me that a lot of people are more concerned with white children not getting their first choice than minority children who would be relegated to go to a subpar school if schools were allowed to resegregate. Children from one race schools that are white, black, or a member of any race suffer when they are not exposed to members of our diverse society that they have to get along with in today's workforce.

Beyond economics, I think integration is just the right thing to do. I grew up in integrated schools am always surprised when I hear about people who didn't.

Do the math. Segregated neighborhoods +neighborhood schools=segregated schools. It's pretty simple.
My point stands.
11 Dec 2006
As I said, It is not voluntary to the people who get discriminated against in their application process. Your reply was that they should prefer it, and that they aren't many people anyway. As I pointed out, your group are not many people. You also questioned the value I place on integration. I grew up in an integrated town, and went to integrated schools. Actually, all schools were integrated after Plessy vs Ferguson was overturned by Brown vs Board of Education. What your small group advocates is racial engineering by discriminatory admissions practice, and yes, I am against that.
Where's the love Thinker?
11 Dec 2006
Well Thinker, I guess we could disagree for a long time, so I'll end my responses here. All schools were definitely not integrated after Brown v. Board. Just check out any urban school system now! There are only eight percent of white folks left in Houston attending public schools where I was raised. And they didn't magically integrate after Brown. You can check out the Civil Rights Project on this point--there are five hundred and fifty three social scientists who signed their amicus brief.

And if you want to call it racial engineering to require people of different backgrounds to be schooled together in what I feel is a more equitable manner than the results of segregated environments, than call it that. That's what I believe in.

As for us being a small group, I really can't say how many people agree or disagree with me, and furthermore I don't care: "It ain't the size of the dog in the fight. It's the size of the fight in the dog." I respect your opinion and respectfully disagree.
Best,
Anita