This post is part of The Nation’s biweekly student movement dispatch. As part of the StudentNation blog, each dispatch hosts first-person updates on youth organizing. For recent dispatches, check out April 10 and April 24. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with tips. Edited by James Cersonsky (@cersonsky).
On Monday, April 20, all charges were dismissed in the case of Chicago police officer Dante Servin, who shot and killed 22 year-old black woman Rekia Boyd in 2012. In solidarity with Boyd’s family, a rally outside the Chicago courthouse followed the verdict and, on April 22, Black Lives Matter hosted another rally in New York City’s Union Square. From Chicago to New York, Boyd’s name has been lifted up at larger Baltimore solidarity actions, with activists nationally calling for greater recognition of black women and girls victimized by police violence and often left out of narratives that center black men. Black Youth Project 100 has launched a petition calling for Servin to be fired and, in collaboration with Ferguson Action and Black Lives Matter, is calling for a National Day of Action to End State Violence Against Black Women and Girls on May 21.
2. Opting Out
This spring, students at Brighton Park Elementary School in Chicago joined peers from across the country in organizing a mass refusal of the PARCC standardized test. We selected one student in each class as a leader, who made sure everyone knew their rights and passed out an opt-out form to anyone who wanted one. Before the PARCC, we assembled within our school to turn in all the forms. While the school initially dismissed our efforts, we ultimately got the administration to show us respect—“This was very well organized!” When it came time to take the test, 97 percent of eighth graders and 86 percent of seventh graders opted out, leading to normal classes the following week instead of a second week of testing. While there are many reasons to refuse the test, we, a largely Latina/o school, reject it as racist; it’s given only in English and doesn’t respect our multilingualism. And while the media acts like only whites are opting out, we are showing otherwise.