For the past month, I’ve been helping to lead a fight to stop elementary schools from closing in Black neighborhoods.
This fight strikes at the very core of why I am running for office.
There is just no way that every resident will be safer, healthier or wealthier if we pull elementary schools out of our neighborhoods.
The recreation centers are already closed. They largely have been throughout the pandemic. On Monday, more than 57 schools returned temporarily to virtual learning.
There is nothing for children to do in so many neighborhoods. I know that because I’ve been walking the streets knocking on every door.
In December, after testifying at a public hearing against school closure, I was fortunate to be on Two Way Talk with Mr. Anthony McCarthy calling for allies to help keep our school open. Check out the show here: https://www.weaa.org/show/two-way-talk/2021-12-16/impact-of-school-closures-on-baltimore-communities
With the work of a coalition that I was proud to help build, allies raised their voices.
I organized a press conference yesterday, where we had three of Baltimore’s four news stations present and, with the power of our partners, about 50 to 80 supporters in near freezing weather.
The public heard the Baltimore Teachers Union, BUILD (Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development), parents, families, community advocates and leaders reject the proposal to close yet another wave of schools in Black neighborhoods.
I was on Two Way Talk again yesterday at 4:30 pm ratcheting up the pressure and calling for funding. Our team will share the link as soon as it’s ready.
CALL TO ACTION: Sign the petition.
Support Baltimore Schools: https://change.org/SaveBaltimoreSchools
In upper middle class communities, the economic promise of the neighborhood is built around its schools. In working class communities, the same should also be true.
While Baltimore’s working class families have scrambled furiously over the holidays to understand what schools will be available to them next year, it’s upper-middle class families celebrated the opening of a brand new $16 million park. The contrast stuns me.
If these schools close, then within months we will be adding at least nine acres of vacancy to Black neighborhoods (nine acres at a minimum—there would most definitely be a ripple effect).
No child will be in a better position.
Every child will walk by more boarded up blocks on sidewalks strewn with broken glass. Every person in the community will be less safe. Those vacancies will last a decade or more.
My vision now, and once I am elected, is that the foundation of every neighborhood must be a strong school.
I am asking for your financial support today to win my election for Delegate. We have a deadline TOMORROW to show our financial strength. Anything you can give TODAY is for the win. https://chinaterrell.com/donate
We need legislation to say that a school cannot be closed without a fully funded plan for an alternative. The government should not be allowed to abandon property. It must bear the market price of its choice, not force that burden on those who work the hardest.
We need significantly longer timelines for community discussion, engagement and planning. The eight weeks during which closure can be decided are woefully inadequate.
And we need money. We need tens of millions of dollars to continue building, repairing, and maintaining schools in Black neighborhoods as a way to attract and keep our families.
But in truth, we cannot force vision on leaders. We have to elect leaders who already have it. And we need more elected officials with vision and with the grit to lead. Reactionary leadership is not enough.
Day in and day out, I am proving with results that I am that servant-leader.
My next reporting deadline is January 12. Please take two minutes to give today. Every dollar matters.