The National Parents Union Testifies at the United Nations Calling for the Establishment of a High-Quality Education as a Civil Right in the U.S. and Globally

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May 31, 2023– New York, NY– Leaders from the National Parents Union testified at the United Nations Second session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent yesterday calling for the establishment of a high-quality education as a civil right both in the United States and globally. 

“This was truly a historic day for the National Parents Union as we took our fight to the United Nations,” said Keri Rodrigues, co-founder and President of the National Parents Union. “The testimony from my courageous brothers and sisters should serve as a stark reminder of the injustices that millions of Black children and families face in the U.S. and the importance of a high-quality education that can pave the way to a better future. After hearing their testimony, one thing is clear, we are ready for this fight, our sons’ and daughters’ lives are in the balance.” 

Testimony Highlights (Prepared remarks in full can be found here)

Bernita Bradley, Director of Parent Voice, National Parents Union

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 an 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.

Tafshier Cosby, Senior Director of Organizing, National Parents Union

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.

Khulia Pringle, State Director, Minnesota, National Parents Union

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 to the nation’s report card. This is a violation of their Human Rights and their Right to Read, and some will read and some will die.

Rep. Jennifer Bacon, Member of the National Parents Union Delegation

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 hole 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.

Sharif El-Mekki, Founding Delegate, National Parents Union

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 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.

Nehemiah Frank, Member, National Parents Union Family Advisory Council

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.





With more than 1,000 affiliated parent organizations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, the National Parents Union is the united, independent voice of modern American families. We channel the power of parents into powerful policies that improve the lives of children, families and communities across the United States.