Boston teacher at March for Our Lives: social change, not more police

Boston teacher at March for Our Lives: social change, not more police

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‘Nino’ Brown is a Brooklyn born and raised
child of Jamaican immigrants. He is now a Dorchester resident teaching 5th
grade in his community. Nino is a proud member of the Boston
Teachers Union, which is one of the co-sponsors of today’s event by the way. Teachers are on our side. He is also a activist and an
organizer with the People’s Congress of Resistance. Please welcome Nino Brown. Boston, how yall doing? I need yall to join me for a second, raise
your fists up like this. I need a moment of silence, 20 seconds for
Stephon Clark. Peace, thank you. So again my name is Nino Brown, I’m an organizer
and I teach 5th grade in Dorcester. Peace and blessings, friends, family, thank
you for being here. I teach in Dorchester at the Oliver Wendell
Holmes school. All of
my students come from working class communities that are plagued by gun violence. Me and my people, oppressed people and colonized
people, are sick and tired of being ignored by
those who are in power. We are sick of the rampant violence, the gun
violence, that disproportionately affects communities of color, but we must ask ourselves,
“why? what is the root cause of this terror? We already know that
Black people and people of color, violence is nothing new in this country to us, and
it is unfortunate that it took such a tragic incident
for us to have this dialogue, but now it is our duty
to fight and it is our duty to win – our future depends on it. The Greater Boston area is a highly segregated
area fraught with the racist history of redlining and systematically concentrating poor and
working class people of color into neighborhoods that
are underfunded, over policed, and suffocated systematic racism and white
supremacy. In a word, “we can’t breathe”
The Boston Public School system that I work for has endured decades of systematic under-investments,
despite continued attempts to downplay the under-funding. I have seen schools lose resources
year after year in the form of teachers, paraprofessionals, and librarians, after school programs and
social programs. Schools are supposed to be places where we
go to develop ourselves, but when our schools are
systematically underfunded and robbed year in and year out, we deny our children
access to arts, to enrichment, nurses, school psychologists, and counselors that
they deserve. So like my sister said, arming teachers and
adding more police to our schools will not create security. it will only reinforce the already existent
criminalization of our youth and the militarization of our schools. In this country we invest more in the arms
and tools of oppression and war rather than expression and
human development. As the old saying goes: “they got money
for war, but they can’t feed the poor.” So I’m here to say that from Chicago to Boston
to Detroit to West Virginia, to New York City, to Oklahoma
teachers and community members are rising up and speaking out against this system that
continues to put profits above people. And we know the NRA loves their profits. We the teachers demand that all our children
be able to attend schools that are fully funded with wrap around services. The state continues to fail to adequately
invest our schools. In recent years the state has failed to reimburse
our public schools for the diversion of public funds that go to privately controlled
charter schools. This leads to a lack of resources for social
and emotional supports to 1) help students deal with the trauma of gun violence and 2)
to mitigate that gun violence, including suicide by young people. We are not out here to ask for prayers. We’re not out here to ask for any more rhetoric. We’re not out here to ask for any more pontification
from politicians that are sitting in the pockets of the NRA. Because we understand that all of this is
not going to end in one day. This is not going to end with one protest. This is not going to end with one call to
your Senator, to your Governor or whoever it may be. We need to build a massive movement of millions
of people that are independent of the Democratic Party and the Republican
Party. We need a social force that can force the
government to meet our demands. So I end with this. We must remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. We must remain outraged but we must continue
to build and organize. He says:
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Even a superficial look at history reveals
that no social advance rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. Every step toward the goal of justice
requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern
of dedicated individuals. Without persistent effort, time itself becomes
an ally of the insurgent and primitive forces of irrational emotionalism
and social destruction. This is no time for apathy or
complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” Right now for the third night are people in
Sacramento are out here demonstrating in the thousands, in the thousands, for our brother
Stephon ‘Zoe’ Clark, who was a father, who was a brother, who was shot 20 times. Because if we want to talk about gun violence,
let’s go there. Let’s talk about the 1000 people that are
killed every year by the police. Right? There aint no power like the power of the
people. I’m glad to be here with yall. All power to the people!

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