Today, May 30th, 2023, the National Parents Union called for the establishment of high quality education as a civil right both in the United States and globally! Read their powerful testimonies below.
Director of Parent Voice National Parents Union
Good Day, I am Bernita Bradley, Mother, Grandmother, Community Advocate and Director of Parent Voice w the National Parents Union. I bring you greetings from Detroit Michigan where only 5% of eighth graders and 12% of Third graders are proficient in reading.
Historically education for Children of African Decent in America has failed, added to the poverty we see in our communities and made our sons and daughters feel as if they are the problem and not the broken systems that govern the schools. School leaders and legislators see our children as dollars in seats with no regard for their future outcomes.
Until policies and systemic racism is addressed, schools will continue to miss the mark and fail.
We the National Parents Union ask the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent to join us in calling on the US Dept. of Education to assure Children of African Decent receive and Equitable right to a High Quality Education in every community now.
We no longer have time to wait when our children’s mental health, economical stability and the very breath they breathe are at risk. Education for African American children remains just as broken as when it was illegal for us to read and write.
Parents now are walking away from schools and turning to old yet revised models of educating in their own homes. Like my great uncle Eli Glover who started a school in his living room in 1924 Tired of his children walking 2 towns over to the closest school in North Carolina.
100 years later Parents like myself have determined that If school leaders won’t reinvent schools, we will do it ourselves.
The Children of African Descent in America greatly appreciate everyone here for seeing into our flawed and intentionally broken schools system and calling them out for what they are broken, inequitable and unjust. We ask that everytime you meet an American dignitary ask them” why are your schools not serving children of African Decent in your own country?
What do you plan to change now to correct harm done to families?
And remind them that Our local Government is no Better than the Education It Gives Its Most Vulnerable Children.
Thank you for this time and Bless you all.
Newark, New Jersey
Senior Director of Organizing
National Parents Union
Good day. I stand before you as Tafshier Cosby, a mother, grandmother, advocate, and Senior Director of Organizing and Partnership for the National Parents Union, as well as the CEO of Parent Impact. It is an immense honor to address this esteemed gathering today.
From the vibrant city of Newark, New Jersey, I bring forth an urgent plea to the Permanent Forum of the People of African Descent. I urge you to champion the inclusion of education as a civil right in your respective country’s constitutions.
In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 26 declared that every individual possesses the right to education. It emphasized that education should be directed towards the full development of the human personality and the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Regrettably, the United States has fallen short of upholding this declaration, perpetuating systemic injustice within our education system, disproportionately affecting racially minoritized groups. Children of African descent and those from disadvantaged backgrounds consistently face opportunity gaps and endure disparate outcomes, hindering their quality of life and upward mobility.
Now, more than ever, we must unite to address these deeply rooted issues. The National Parents Union is firmly committed to collaborating with this forum, working together to rectify the glaring inequities within our education system.
Education is the key to unlocking a brighter future. By championing education as a civil right, we can break the cycle of disadvantage faced by marginalized communities. Every child, regardless of their background, deserves unfettered access to high-quality education that empowers them to reach their full potential.
Education is not just essential; it is the catalyst for progress and prosperity. When countries adopt education as a civil right, they foster citizens who can actively participate in democracy, contribute to the economy, and shape their own lives. It leads to higher incomes, better health outcomes, increased political engagement, and a more equitable society.
I implore each and every one of you to harness your voices, influence, and advocacy to propel the adoption of education as a civil right in your country’s constitution. Let us stand united in this noble cause, striving to create a more inclusive and equitable educational landscape.
In closing, I extend my heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering attention and the privilege of addressing this esteemed gathering. Together, we can pave the way for a brighter, more just future where education becomes an inalienable right for all. Thank you.
State Director, Minnesota
National Parents Union
Greetings from Minnesota via Wadadli Antigua
My name is Khulia Pringle, and I am MN State Director for the National Parents Union, Where we aim to transform pre K-12 education policies and practices on a school. district, state, and national level so that All children have access to a quality education, especially those of African Descent who face the worse disparities in the nation from birth to death.
We are on the heels of a 3 year anniversary of George Floyd, which sparked uprisings in my state and across the country, and an international awareness to the continued struggle of Black people in America who are under siege by those who want ro keep us as Second class citizens..
My mentor El Hajj Malik aka Malcolm X, spoke about the racism in America experienced by those who are descendants of enslavement, and wanted to bring the struggles of Black people in America to the United Nations; he never got that opportunity. Today I bring him and countless others of Black liberators to this session.
There is a phenomenon in America that needs immediate attention, known as the School To Prison Pipeline, happening to Black children across the United States. 56% of all Black children in the United States did not reach the reading Benchmark for literacy, according the nation’s report card This is a violation of their Human Rights and their Right Read, and some will read and some will die.
Representative Jennifer Bacon
Member of the National Parents Union Delegation
My name is Jennifer Bacon – from Denver Colorado – American Black – raised in the South Florida by parents whose roots hail from Mississippi.
I have had the privilege of serving my community as a local and state elected official for 6 years now as a member of our school board and now as a state legislator where I am also the Assistant Majority Leader. Today I share my observations and experience as a Black policy leader trying to reshape Black outcomes.
I have found my Blackness is at the center of what I do because it is at the center of how people place who I am and my power.
Black people have always served as a permanent/regenerating mirror to this country, reflecting in our experience what Americans will and will not tolerate when it comes to the human condition – what Americans do and do not fundamentally believe when it comes to our American ideals.
Often when they look they do not see that ‘these truths are self-evident,’ that all people are created equal, or the unmitigated freedom to pursue life liberty or the pursuit of happiness.
The Black experience is a reminder of how close we are to revealing our country’s white dominant culture’s true identity or rather abandoning or revealing our country’s true nature – that is one of seeking power and privilege – or comfort- not constantly striving to live the ideals enshrined at our nation’s founding.
I have been told that in the few short years since the term Black Lives Matter came to prominence, white people are tired of hearing they have privilege because they do not. This comes an avoidance of understanding what it is – which is just making the world work comfortably for who you are.
But they do understand privilege, because they are fighting so hard to keep it – even at the expense of hallowed American ideals.
When whiteness looks in the mirror that is American Black, they turn away, try to cover it or smash the mirror.
That is why today in America –the global beacon for free speech and freedom of expression – they are banning books and ‘race based’ history. They’d want coffee, diamonds, chocolate, gold from the world but to learn nothing about where and who it comes from… To be clear there is no such thing as a non-race based education – without anyone of color it is simply white.
They are belittling our word of consciousness and awareness – Woke –and suppressing into a word of weakness.
They would punish anyone for protesting in their Blackness – even though that is how this country was founded – calling those who take a knee or have the temerity to say their lives matter thugs – While they’d call themselves patriots as they storm the White House, defecate in it, and cause people to lose their lives.
The strides you see Black policy leaders making are coming at great costs – the comfort seeking has become more insidious and rooted in racism than we have seen since the Civil Rights Movement Era. Because of my policy decisions I have been stereotyped into committing an action I did not even do. As I speak today I am receiving hate calls and threats telling me to go back to Africa, that police will not come if I call, and that I should be looking over my shoulders at all times. It has been made plain to me that the highly polarized opposition was simply looking for an opportunity to blame me and Blackness for police deaths, all crimes, the “proliferation” of the LGBTQ community, or the lack of godliness in schools. They seek for all Black people who are vocal about changing policing and disparate outcomes in education, health, and housing to know they will be punished like this for having the temerity to say our lives matter… Based on the vitriol I have received and seen – if this were another time I’m sure I would not be alive and standing before you.
My Blackness makes drives finding parody in outcomes with our numbers. If we are only 4% of the population we should not be 20% of the incarcerated population or 30% of the unemployed population. As a legislator I passed law to seal certain criminal records for college, housing, and employment opportunities; I’ve changed police suspect identification protocols and prohibited law enforcement from lying to children – a practice that convicted the Central Park 5.
In 2020 I wrote and passed the Black Excellence Resolution for Denver Public Schools. It held that Black children’s underperformance was the responsibility of the school system, that implicit bias is real and we must train to undo its harm. Further it set goals to increase student performance, decrease their presence in discipline and special education – and that the Black community is included in defining excellence for its children.
As Black leader I have learned that we must be deliberate in rectifying these wrongs- they will not naturally correct. Our Solutions must be deliberate in action. Must be deliberate in filling in the whole that was dug to put us in, then creating tools and expectations that can launch us into the world that has moved on while we were indisposed. Solutions must be fortified with policy anchors of accountability that counter the default notions of others’ comfort.
Through the tribulations, I’ve also learned that these oppressive systems are not natural – they are not like the sun rises or that water is wet – they were man made… which means this woman can un make them… If I can do it, then so can we all. It is necessary and it is worth it.
Thank you for your time.
Center for Black Educator Development
Founding Delegate, National Parents Union
My name is Sharif El-Mekki. My mother and I are proud members of the Founding Delegates of the National Parents’ Union. I’m also the father of six children.
Thank you for welcoming us to share our experiences.
Even as an educator who taught and led schools for a quarter of a century, I have never been immune from the imminent threat posed by our educational system. Nor have I been able to fully protect my children or others from these negative, undermining experiences. My mother, who was a career educator, wasn’t able to fully protect me when I was a student either.
The pervasive anti-Black, anti-Brown mindsets and the pro-discriminatory and pro-bias tendencies and postures that pervade our curricula, educational policies, educator preparatory programming, is damaging and our schools are rank with the stench and residue of racial biases and discriminatory practices.
We see it in the disciplinary policies, where children of color are far more likely to be excluded from school for subjectivity that align with racial biases. We see it in how Black students experience racism from their teachers as early as 3- and 4- years old.
We see it when 80% of our children’s teachers are white and when almost 80% of them say they are unprepared to teach students who have a different background than them.
We want to send our children to school without fear. The legendary Nina Simone said that true freedom is living without fear. I’d say that’s especially true as parents with school-aged children.
Black Wall Street Times
National Parents Union Family Advisory Council
Today, on the eve of the 102nd anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States, Race Massacre, I sit before you to share a poignant chapter from our history.
Imagine a time when my family and community faced unimaginable horrors. Bullets rained down upon us, as a seething White mob, numbering in the thousands, sought to unleash their anger. When the gunfire ceased, our homes and businesses were looted and set ablaze. As the smoke cleared, a momentary relief washed over us, only to be shattered by the sight of planes dropping bombs from above. Our promised-land became an inferno. It’s crucial to understand that we were only two generations removed from the shackles of institutional slavery. In just 18 hours, racial hatred destroyed what had taken 56 years to build. We found ourselves back at square one, stripped of our generational wealth, starting anew.
For decades, the massacre was concealed, driven by white fragility that prevented its teaching in schools. While White children escaped the burden of collective guilt, Black children were denied the opportunity to learn about their cultural excellence. They were denied the knowledge that people who resembled them had become doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, pilots, and successful business owners—all within a mere two generations of emancipation. I was one of those Black children, unaware of the tremendous legacy I carried until a Black scholar in college enlightened me about my roots.
Now, every day, I strive to become the best version of myself, aiming to reach the heights set by my ancestors. However, today I stand here, troubled by the closing doors for other Black children. In America, states are banning books featuring Black authors, reminiscent of a dark era in Nazi Germany. How can Black children learn the invaluable lessons of resilience and persistence, if they are deprived of the knowledge that they too can rise above adversity?
It is my hope that the nations of the world will exert pressure on our government to fight harder for our children’s right to learn, to be represented in the pages of history. Let us ensure that the story of Greenwood and the triumphs of Black communities are not erased nor forgotten. Thank you.