On Monday, January 15, St. Stephen's Youth Programs leaders and volunteers led our 8th Annual MLK Day of Action at not one but TWO schools!
With the help of close to 210 volunteers, the Blackstone Innovation School and the Josiah Quincy Upper School have clean halls and classrooms, bright murals showing school pride, and new academic materials ready for student learning. Volunteers representing thirty community and faith-based organizations came together to reflect on the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. By working side-by-side, we took action to create a more equitable public education system. After lunch at the Blackstone School, we were joined by Jessica Tang, President of the Boston Teacher's Union Local 66, who inspired us to understand that working for educational equity is one of the most important ways to create racial equity.
As we know, action days and service projects are just the start. Students in Boston (and across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) need and deserve a fully-funded and equitable public education system. The current state funding formula for public education has not been updated since 1993 (back when AOL was the email server used by most people!)!
It is time for to bring public school funding into the 21st century. Fortunately, State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz has proposed a bill to do just this. Please call your State Senator and Representative, tell them why you care about high-quality, fully-funded public education, and ask them to move Bill S.223 and Bill S.220 out of committee! SSYP's intergenerational team of organizers are also working on a campaign to increase PILOT from local colleges and universities; this increased revenue will help bridge the gap in funding for Boston's public schools.
To get involved at the Blackstone, either as a library or classroom volunteer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
By Maureen Burns, Senior Manager of School and Community Partnerships