Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Students demand King's Holiday off

Pictured above are: Julia Rosales, 16, Tony Nevarez, 16, Alex Saenz, 18, Leticia Ruvalcaba, 20, and Cecilia Leal, 20.

Gabriel Coronado, a Horlick High School student, told school board members that he believes it is unfair that the Milwaukee Public School Districts and the Chicago School Districts have Martin Luther King Day off. “And we ask why not Racine,” said Coronado.

Coronado and about 20 other students from Students United for Immigrant Rights and Black Students in the Struggle, protest in favor of closing schools outside before Monday’s Unified School Board meeting.

“Why should Latino students want Dr. Martin Luther King’s day off?” he suggested to board members. His answer to them was to the point. “Because we face discrimination in education, and in racism. We also struggle for justice,” he said.

Coronado asked the board to remember because, “If it wasn’t for Dr. King, we would still be separated by race to this day. We would still be in separate schools, drinking from separate fountains, eating at separate restaurants, and sitting in the balcony of movies.

Rev. Melvin Hargrove, a member of Racine Unified’s Board of Directors, said that the next step for the students is to present their concerns to the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jim Shaw and the REA union. “It’s the right timing because the District and the union are near the time to enter into negotiations. A holiday paid by the District would have to be a part of that negotiation,” said Hargrove.

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