Webinar: Standing with Puerto Rico: Uniting Diverse Struggles for Education Justice

Grassroots Education Series
Webinar: RSVP Today!

Standing with Puerto Rico:
Uniting Diverse Struggles for Education Justice

Standing with Puerto Rico
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
2:00pm ET

Like flowers blossoming after a storm, deep and widespread social movements in Puerto Rico have emerged to confront the brutal austerity regime imposed by Wall Street and Washington, DC and enforced by the island's own political and economic elites. The summer of 2019 saw over a million Puerto Ricans take to the streets and go on strike against Governor Ricardo Rosselló and all that he represented, culminating in his resignation on August 2nd.

But leading up to the fight against Rosselló were massive waves of education organizing and protest involving educators, students and parents against back-room deals that would have gutted educator benefits and privatization plans to shutter hundreds of public schools all across the island.

Despite a virtual media blackout in the mainland U.S., grassroots groups across the country have built links of mutual solidarity and support with education justice movements in Puerto Rico. Schott grantee partner Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J) has been at the forefront of this work, most recently inviting organizers from Puerto Rico to its conference in Chicago and sending a delegation to witness and support the struggle firsthand. You can listen to an interview with Mercedes Martinez and Lourdes Antebella on J4J's podcast.

This kind of movement cross-pollination is vital to not only seeing the commonality of all our struggles, but also to building the bonds of solidarity to stand up to any challenge confronting us.

Come with questions, insights, and calls to action!
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #GrassrootsEd.

  • Zakiyah Ansari, Advocacy Director & New York City Director, Alliance for Quality Education
  • Jitu Brown, National Organizer, Journey for Justice Alliance
  • Jorge Díaz Ortiz, Executive & Artistic Director, Agitarte
  • Mercedes Martinez, President, Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico)
  • Marianna Islam (moderator), Director of Programs and Advocacy, Schott Foundation for Public Education

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About the Alliance for Quality Education

AQEThe Alliance for Quality Education is a coalition mobilizing communities across the state to keep New York true to its promise of ensuring a high quality public education to all students regardless of zip code. Combining its legislative and policy expertise with grassroots organizing, AQE advances proven-to-work strategies that lead to student success and ultimately create a powerful public demand for a high quality education. Founded in 2000, AQE quickly became New York state’s lead community-based organization in the fight for high quality public education.

About the Journey for Justice Alliance

J4JThe Journey for Justice Alliance was launched in 2012, in response to the growing problem of school privatization (starving of neighborhood schools, school closings, charter and contract school expansion, turnarounds) impacting cities across the United States. Initially starting with Chicago, Detroit, Newark, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, Oakland, Euphora MS and Minneapolis J4J started with monthly conference calls to build connections. From there, in 2013 they organized a 5000-person march from the U.S. Department of Labor to the U.S. Department of Education to advocate for summer jobs and ending the harmful practice of school closings. After this action, the group adopted the name Journey for Justice Alliance and in 2014, first made national news with a 1000-person rally and “Community Hearing” at the U.S. Department of Education where they released our first report “Death by a Thousand Cuts” and made their first national demand for the option of School Improvement Grant resources to be used for sustainable community schools. Now J4J has member organizations in over 30 cities across the country.

About AgitArte

AgitArteAgitArte is an organization of working class artists and cultural organizers who create projects and practices of cultural solidarity with grassroots struggles against oppression, and propose alternatives that generate possibilities for transformations in our world. They initiate and lead community-based educational and arts programs, along with projects that agitate in the struggles for liberation. Agitarte supports the development of cultural workers committed to their art and the social and economic liberation of the people most involved in these struggles, especially those most impacted by the enduring inequalities in the United States and Puerto Rico.

About the Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico

FMPRThe Teachers' Federation of Puerto Rico (Spanish: Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico, FMPR) is a union of teachers in Puerto Rico. The FMPR was formed in 1960s by radical union activists. It currently has 32,000 members, making it one of the largest unions in Puerto Rico. The FMPR defends the rights of educators, students and free public education. The union has been a key leader in the popular struggle against austerity and school closures in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

About the Schott Foundation

Schott Foundation

The Schott Foundation is a national public fund serving as a bridge between philanthropic partners and advocates to build movements to provide all students an opportunity to learn. Our mission is to develop and strengthen a broad-based and representative movement to achieve fully-resourced, quality PreK-12 public education. Schott brings bold, innovative strategies to its pivotal dual role as both a funder and an advocacy partner, creating collaborations with our philanthropic partners and providing funding as well as other necessary strategic resource supports.