It’s been months, possibly, since the last school walkout in Oakland. For those of you concerned that the city’s young activists were increasingly pushing for change outside of school hours (or inside their respective school campuses), you have nothing to worry about.
Tomorrow, in observance of May Day, middle and high school students will leave their schools and march to Oakland City Hall to demand passage of the federal DREAM Act – and for an end to “police harrassment and violence against Oakland youth,” according to a news release from BAMN, the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.
For Immediate Release:
OAKLAND STUDENTS BOYCOTT SCHOOL AND MARCH MAY 1st TO DEMAND THE DREAM ACT AND JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT
NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION FRIDAY, MAY 1, 2009 Students gather 10:00AM to at International + High St. to march to Oakland City Hall (14th + Broadway)
Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) =================================
Oakland high school and middle school students, a number of whom are undocumented immigrants and would obtain legal status and college financial aid if the newly-reintroduced DREAM Act were passed, will boycott and/or walk out from school on Friday morning, May 1st to demand passage of the California and Federal DREAM Acts. They will gather at International Blvd. and High St. at 10:00AM to march down to City Hall. They will also demand an end to police harassment and violence against Oakland youth by demanding justice for Oscar Grant and the conviction of his murderer, ex-BART Officer Johannes Mehserle.
“This is a new era of hope, and Oakland students will no longer accept racist, second-class treatment in our schools and in our lives,” said Brenda Onofre, a Skyline High School junior and organizer with the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).
“Every year, tens of thousands of undocumented students are unjustly denied their right to college financial aid and pursue their dreams,” said Ronald Cruz, Berkeley Law student and BAMN organizer. “Students are tired of being treated separate and inferior–we demand that President Obama to act on his stated support for the Federal DREAM Act and act on the sweeping mandate for change from November.”
“Oscar Grant could have been any one of us,” said Tanisha West, Oakland Technical High School junior and BAMN organizer. “As a black student I am proud to say I will unite with Latina/o students on May 1 to demand an end to the racism and violence that we face. By fighting together, we cannot be defeated.”
In March, the Federal and California DREAM Acts were reintroduced in the U.S. Congress and California Legislature, respectively.
Tribune file photo by Jane Tyska