As 2020 comes to a close, we’re proud of the ways we’ve come together as a community and the progress we’ve made in supporting Oregonians through such a turbulent year. To the thousands of you who stood with us in 2020 to make that impact – thank you! I’d like to share how we plan to continue what you’ve started, and why we need your further support and advocacy to get there.
In support of our mission, please watch the video below or read on to learn more.
While we’ve made a very significant impact this year thanks to your support, we clearly need to do far more to address the stark racial inequities that permeate our society and negatively affect the odds of success for students of color.
Here’s an excerpt from the scrapbook of a Black student who was up against those odds, and graduated high school just a few years ago - in 2011.
“Graduating this year on time is so important to me, because I’ll be the first of my family to accomplish this. My mother wasn’t able to finish high school on time and get her diploma. So, I know how much my getting mine means to her. To have my entire family expecting me to graduate and set a good example for the younger ones is one of the biggest responsibilities I’ve ever had...But I refuse to let anyone down, regardless of the amount of pressure I have on my shoulders. I want to be the one who finally breaks the cycle of my family’s educational history. I want to be the one to finally make a difference. I want to be the one that everybody can look up to with smiles on their faces, telling me how proud of me they are, the one they can finally say, ‘You did it,’ to. I want that to be me… Breonna Shaquelle Taylor.”
As Breonna Taylor’s tragic story exemplifies, if we want a racially just society, one where Black Lives Matter, we all need to stand up for it. Here at Stand for Children, that means continuing to take leadership in addressing racial disparities within Oregon’s education system while advocating for important racial justice priorities beyond education.
In 2021, with your support, we will advocate for the following:
- Economic justice – We’ll partner with organizations, lending our support and resources to ensure more Oregonians are receiving the benefits that they are already eligible for. This will help ensure adults have enough to cover the bills, put food on the table, keep the lights on, and save for a rainy day.
- Inequities in our Justice System – We must ensure our justice system is more just. Each Oregonian, regardless of their race or where they live in this state, should have the same experience within our justice system. We’re going to lend our support to pass legislation that removes crippling fees imposed by the youth justice system. These fees bring in almost no profit for the state and have a disproportionate impact on Black and Brown families. We’re also going to help advocate for clearing a path for our kids to expunge their records so that they can move forward and lead a life that has options.
- Equity and Justice in Education – We will continue our work to make sure schools provide kids with the tools they need to graduate. To date, we have secured over $470 million for Measure 98 and $150 million for the Student Success Act; we will continue to press towards full funding for both efforts. And, we are turbo-charging our focus on racial equity and outcomes in education on two fronts: who’s in front of our children and where the dollars are spent.
Like many of you, we believe that our educators should better reflect the children they serve. In 2018, only 10 percent of educators were people of color, compared to nearly 40 percent of Oregon students. Recently, the state has hired teachers of color at four times the rate they used to. We must protect those educators in the event of future layoffs. To do so, we will change the law known as “last in, first out” to keep those recent hires in our classrooms. We’re also going to take a hard look at the state school fund. It is a $9 billion allocation that accounts for the majority of the state’s education budget. The most recent changes to the state school fund were made over 30 years ago. A lot has changed since 1990, and we must update our systems to better serve students today. We’ll advocate to remake the state school fund to account for racial disparities in education, support our families, and move our state forward.
Together, with a thirst for justice, we will build the systems that our kids and families deserve.