North Carolina activists protest Republican policies. (Credit: The Daily Courier)
E-mail questions, tips or proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org. For earlier dispatches, check out posts from January 18, February 1, February 15, March 1, March 15, April 2, April 15 and April 26.
1. North Carolina Students Blockade State Republicans
The North Carolina General Assembly is passing an avalanche of regressive policies, including deep cuts to unemployment insurance and public education, restrictions to Medicaid eligibility, racist voter suppression laws and raising taxes on 900,000 working North Carolinians while cutting taxes for the richest twenty-three families. Now, students are standing in resistance with people from across the state. On April 29, seventeen people were arrested for blocking the doors to the State Senate, including two students from NC Student Power Union. On May Day, 350 students from ten different campuses marched to the General Assembly, and five students were arrested for trying to enter the building. On May 6, another group of thirty-one people were arrested—including grandmothers, students, professors and preachers. Mobilizations are planned each Monday until the end of the legislative session.
—NC Student Power Union
2. Florida Youth Rise Up to Defend Pushed-Out High Schooler
On April 22, 16-year-old Kiera Wilmot was arrested at her Polk County high school for conducting an explosive science experiment. The teen, who has no criminal history and maintained good grades, suddenly found herself trapped in Florida’s insidious school-to-prison pipeline, which has continually funneled mostly youth of color out of Florida’s schools and into the criminal justice system. Polk County Superintendent John Stewart has made the decision to place Kiera in an “alternative school” as he considers expulsion proceedings. Dream Defenders finds these actions by Superintendent Stewart reprehensible. We demand that Stewart drop all expulsion proceedings against Kiera Wilmot and allow her to return to her enrollment at Bartow High School. We are calling on concerned individuals to sign this petition, organizations in solidarity to sign this organizational petition and for everyone to contact Polk County Superintendent directly at 863-534-0521 to let him know we will not stand for this in Kiera’s case—or for this kind of treatment for youth in any case.