Join the Student Demonstration for Integration this Saturday. You won’t find better inspiration for justice.

Join the Student Demonstration for Integration this Saturday. You won’t find better inspiration for justice.

This time of year, as graduations approach, I always get a little teary-eyed about the power of public education (and this year will be worse than usual, with my kids graduating from middle-school and high-school).

Public education is the foundation of our democracy. We put our tax dollars to work -- the biggest share of our spending in NYC by far -- for the concept that all our kids are created equal, and should have equal opportunity to fulfill their potential.

But persistent school segregation remains the great shame of our public education system. We know that separate is not equal. But we tolerate it anyway.

Over the past few years, a movement has grown up to do something about it. Through community organizing, powerful journalism, action by educators, and some legislation in the City Council, we are finally starting to reckon with reality.  

The most inspirational part of that movement? High school students, from across New York City, who have come together through IntegrateNYC4Me.

This Saturday, at 1 PM on the steps of City Hall, they are holding a Student Demonstration for Integration. I’ll be there, and I hope you’ll join too. RSVP here (and spread the word to students who might be interested).

Here is their call to us:

“The voices of generations of students have finally come together, and they must be heard. Young people all around the city are asking for more equitable public schools—schools that enroll a student population that reflects our city diversity and schools that have both the proper resources and support to allow all students to flourish far regardless of race and class.

As the largest school district in the US located in one of the most diverse cities in the world, we have no excuse to continue facilitating one of the most segregated school systems in the country. We hope that the we will call attention to the necessity of including student voices in the creation of the policies that will affect us the most.”

I don’t mean to be patronizing, but I really mean it when I say that these students are the most inspiring thing I’ve seen in my time on the New York City Council. They are smart, clear-eyed, insistent, and as diverse as our city. They give me hope that change is possible.

Need some evidence? Check out the video & profiles at Or watch the trailer for the documentary film “Teach Us All.”

Then come out to support them on Saturday.

RSVP here.


P.S. Thanks to everyone who supported the Brooklyn PTA 5K Fun for Public Schools on May 13th. Despite a driving rain, hundreds of students, parents, and educators came out to run, and over 1,500 people contributed. Together, we raised over $20,000 for our public schools.  

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