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Friday, July 10, 2015

This 10 miles is for our young giants the Newark Students Union

Catching up to my dedications and thanks you today from Delaware for my Walking to DC blog.

Day 15 on July 1, 2015 I dedicated 10 miles to my heroes the Newark Students Union > <

I first met members of the Newark Student Union last July at the the BAT March on Washington in DC. They were amazing back then, and they told me you haven’t seen anything yet walking Man. Far too often the Newark Students Union is mistakenly considered by Governor Christie, education policy makers, and many other political leaders as kids acting out. 
But those of us who have taken the time to know them, see them for what they really are. The Newark Students Union is a remarkable on the ground organization, in your face, got the research, defenders of Newark's communities, children, parents, teachers and their public schools. They have earned the respect of activists all across the nation.  Earning that respect by gathering the facts, demanding justice and equity in our public schools, followed by intense dramatic on the ground based actions.  Such as speaking up at every board of education meeting, chaining themselves to the Newark Superintendent offices, occupying the superintendent's office, by organizing 2000 of their fellow students to walk out of their schools to protest State control of the Newark Public Schools.

I had the pleasure of meeting them once again personally at New Jersey TV news Community room meeting with save all schools in New Jersey, Communities United, Dr. Monica Taylor Montclair State University, Workers Caucus, and East Side high school teachers on to 30th. I found myself amazed, inspired, empowered, and lifted up my their words and presents at that meeting.  Everyone present in that room felt the deepest respect for these incredible activists fighting for justice in the Newark Public Schools.          
My thinking is that these young activists are not just role models for young activists in Newark, but for activists of all ages all across the nation. They have tempered their actions with in in-depth  research on the issues, and have time and time again reached out to leadership of the Newark Public Schools, the governor’s office, and every of the stakeholder involved in the Newark Public schools community.  They never blindly rush into action; they seriously study all sides of every issue before they act. Much like the civil rights leaders of old these young activists have followed the 4-steps of peaceful non-violence resistance outlined by Dr. Martin Luther King in his "Letter From A Birmingham Jail".
1.     Gather the facts (They have gather the facts, and found State Control to be deeply rooted in injustice).
2.     Negotiation (They have appealed repeatedly for over three years to the Superintendent, the Governor, and to the NJ Department of education to return the Newark Public Schools back over to the community).
3.     Purification (They have prepared and trained themselves to peacefully resist injustices against Newark Public Schools, Students, Parents, and teachers).
4.     Action (They are actively engaged in a historic struggle for justice, sanity, and democracy against the state of New Jersey).

Trust me, these are not kids playing activists.  They are worthy activists fighting for justice in their city, schools, and communities. Activists whose actions make them role models for not only young people, but for people of all ages.
There is no doubt in my mind that these young people are the future in the state of New Jersey. They will become New Jersey’s mayors, legislators, governors, CEOs, and judges. What I remember most about our meeting was when Terrence Moore from Save Our Schools March asked a question about what impact does the Common Core and Testing have on your learning. 
Student union member after student union member stated that these test measure nothing. The Common Core doesn't teach us anything meaningful. So Mr. Moore asked what would you like to learn in school?
Their reply:  we want to learn about what’s relevant to the lives we live. We should be learning about race, social justice, civil rights, and what it means to be an active citizen living in a democracy. At every stop on my walk to DC young people have echoed their reply. Our young want to learn what is relevant to their lives. They reject fixed knowledge measures of proficiency levels. They want a knowledge that lives and grows with them.   

Ring every bell,
Whisper it on the corners of every hamlet and village,
Shout it on every street corner, and
Tell it from every mountaintop that these young people get it, and they are our future of hope.

They are located in Newark, NJ. The Newark Students Union is an organization founded by and for Newark students. They fight for every student in Newark to have equal educational opportunities.
Their mantra is deeply rooted in democratic action:
"Educate yourself"
"Speak Your Voice"
"Take Action."

Let everyone know that these young people:
Inspire me to walk for justice,
Call us all to action against injustice,
And lift us all.
Let the whole world know that was the greatest of humility that this Walking man is tipping his hat to these miraculous young activist giants.
On bended knee I give thank and praise to the Lord for sending us these incredible warriors for justice.
I was sincerely honored to be in their presence in Newark, and I look forward to the future they are building for us all.
Walking to DC,  
If you want to know what the walking listened to on the day after he met these inspiring young giants.
It's Mans Zelmerlow "Heroes" Sweden's 2015 Euro vision song.



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