Spring Break Education for All: What Death and Seclusion have in Common

So last week for Spring Break I had so many items on my To-Do list, including Spring cleaning, but instead I was roped into this public school re-zoning debate thing.  This was the primer: Educate Don’t Segregate, and here’s the latest news: Why wealthy D.C. suburb shouldn’t reverse socioeconomic school integration – Wash Post 3/28/16.

I’m convinced it was the energy of my Stepdad Moises (who passed away 3 yrs. ago last week – 3/22/16) who channeled the passion and got things done (through me and all the dedicated families working on this issue).  Here he is back in 2011 at the nursing home with my daughter Madeleine and son Darren (he was 94 years young here):

CA San Mateo Aug 2011 005

It’s no coincidence that the Community Meeting at Rust Library in Leesburg, held on the date of my Stepdad’s death (3/22/16), had almost 200 people in attendance (and I would say about 25% were Latinos). Here is the proof: Educate Don’t Segregate & Community Mtg. 3/22/16.   Univision has been a strong supporter in spreading the word, or as we say, “pasando la voz.”  View more here:

Mon. 3/21/16 11:00pm Newscast

Tues. 3/22/16 11:00pm Newscast

The Washington Post has also served a significant role in garnering national attention with their front page story – Separate but Equal Wash Post 3/20-3/21/16.  The Century Foundation, Loudoun Times-Mirror, and Loudoun Now, all came out of the woodwork.  Even Kojo Nnamdi aired a broadcast on the debate last week (albeit a bit one-sided).

I haven’t seen this much attention to Leesburg and Loudoun County’s Spanish-speaking and low-income populations since the disgraceful behavior of the previous Sterling, VA district Loudoun County Board of Supervisors representative (who somehow kept getting re-elected for over a decade).  Well, that, and the immigration backlash of 2007 caused by a resolution passed by a previous Loudoun County Board of Supervisors – Loudoun Approves Measure Targeting Illegal Immigrants Wash Post 7/18/07.  There’s more where that came from, but let’s not dwell in the past.  Instead, let’s focus on current events.  There’s a ton of research out there to support school integration efforts, but here is some of the most salient right now:

The Myth of the “Natural Neighborhood – Century Fdn. 3/23/16

The Benefits of Socioeconomically and Racially Integrated Schools and Classrooms – Century Fdn. 2/10/16

Activist Group Rallies Support Ahead of Leesburg School Boundary Vote – Loudoun Now 3/22/16

‘Educate Don’t Segregate’ Group Forms in Response to School Boundaries Debate – Loudoun Now 3/21/16

Research Briefs – National Coalition on School Diversity

WAMU Kojo Nnamdi Show 3/23/16

Yes, my Stepdad had a particular stubbornness about him and extraordinary love for children, which still has its advantages, even from the heavens above.  After death, a soul still has that fighting spirit, just as those who are “separate but equal” on this earth raise their voices to be heard, finally.  Some of the twelve plans that have been presented by the Loudoun County School Board appear to mimic the seclusion that our most vulnerable populations feel today.

I am eternally grateful that Moises was a great father to me and always stressed the importance of a good education to “defend myself well” – para “defenderme bien” (Note: he was only able to make it to the third grade in his native El Salvador).  Tomorrow, March 29, 2016, will be a big day for the Leesburg/Loudoun community.  I hope Leesburg/Loudoun County residents and all those affected by this boundary debate will show their courage and stand up for justice.  We owe it to the community to allow everyone to receive the best education possible to “defend” themselves, too.

Here’s the information you need, in English AND Spanish: Lo. Co. School Board Mtg. 3/29 English – Lo. Co. School Board Mtg. 3/29/16 Spanish.  Just a note for those who are not aware – there will also be a demonstration from 4:00pm-6:00pm prior to the 6:30pm School Board meeting.   I will always miss you my dear Moises; but when my community’s future is at stake, you give me the strength to persevere, and it is all worth it in the end…


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