OUSD Board Resolution Affirms Oakland Schools Are Safe Spaces for All Students

For Immediate Release
December 15, 2016

OUSD Board Passes Post-Election Resolution to Support ALL Students, Families, & Staff

Community-Based Coalition Demanded Resolution to Assure Immigrant and Muslim Students: OUSD Schools Are Safe Spaces

Oakland, CA: Wednesday evening the OUSD Board of Education passed a resolution (#1617-0089) submitted by Directors Shanthi Gonzales and Roseann Torres to support all OUSD students in the wake of the election, re-affirming their support for immigrants (regardless of their status) and Muslim students, as well as students of all races, ethnicities, religions, genders and sexual orientations in our District.

img_20161215_101920The resolution was supported by a broad multi-racial and community-based coalition of student, parent, racial justice, education, faith and labor organizations after Oakland students raised their voices in the days following the election, declaring that Mr. Trump’s policies are not welcome in Oakland.

Trump himself, as well as those who he appoints, will not be in support of public education and youth, especially youth of color,” said Zhihao Guo, a 10th grader at Oakland Technical High School. “As an Asian American and student of color, I deserve the right to a good public education that helps me become aware of what is going on in my community. We must make the Oakland Unified School District a sanctuary district to provide the rightful education that we all deserve.”

The resolution reaffirms that school district’s commitment to keeping Oakland schools as safe spaces, especially important after the presidential election when many families, students and staff were left feeling vulnerable and afraid.

“We need this resolution because families feel equality will not be in their favor once president-elect Donald Trump takes office. Homes will be broken by family separation. Stress has come over children who should be doing school work but are too afraid to leave parents. Children are not getting sleep and not eating worried of being alone here,” said Sandra Wilson, a parent at Elmhurst College Prep.

“Ever since the election, so many people have been on edge! I have heard insults thrown across the room, such as immigrants not belonging here or people of color being responsible for destroying our communities. Because of this atmosphere, I and many other black students have experienced micro aggressions and we all understand that those micro aggressions can turn into full force aggressions. We feel unsafe in our own communities. Young people of color should not feel this way,” said Nailiah Williams a 12th Grader at Gateway to College at Laney.

“The morning after the election, students came to class scared and angry. One student asked while crying, ‘How could Trump win, he is racist and mean. He wants to send my parents back.’ I’m glad my union and all the community organizations came together to defend my community and students,” said Ismael Armendariz, a special education teacher at Edna Brewer Middle School.

“Some of my friends and community were terrified when President-elect Trump won, worried about what’s going to happen. The resolution makes me feel we can have a better future and I’m optimistic that things will change. I feel proud and strong to be a Muslim and an American citizen,” said Zaineb Alomari, a parent at Community United Elementary School.

The resolution was supported by the following organizations:

Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network (PLAN)
BAY-Peace
Black Organizing Project
Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area Office (CAIR-SFBA)
Californians for Justice
Centro Legal de la Raza
East Oakland DREAMers
Oakland Community Organizations
Oakland Education Association (OEA)
Parents United for Public Schools
Public Advocates
Urban Peace Movement
ACCE
67 Sueños
Jorge Lerma, Educational Activist

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