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07/30/2018 | Civic Engagement, Organizing for Education Justice

Summer of Heroes: CPD Affiliates Advocate to Protect Our Communities

Earlier in May, we joined our sister organization CPD Action (CPDA) to launch our Summer of Heroes in DC campaign, focused on organizing weekly actions led by our affiliates including mobilizations, lobby visits, and other federal fighback advocacy efforts. As Congress was returning from its July 4 recess, CPD/CPDA brought hundreds of grassroots leaders to Washington, DC to raise our voices and take action on issues of critical importance to our communities.

On July 10, CPD/CPDA affiliates and allies came to the DC to demand that the Farm Bill protect Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for low-income families. The version of the Farm Bill passed by the House would reduce or eliminate SNAP benefits (food stamps and other nutrition assistance) for up to two million households. CPD/CPDA affiliates Our Children Our Future and SPACEs, together with allies like the Center for Community Change and the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, brought over a hundred people to DC – many of them families who would be directly impacted by these cuts. Stormy Matlick, for example, is a single working mother of three who boarded a bus in West Virginia at 2am to tell her Congressional representatives that they have no right to decide whose children will or won’t have food to eat. We met with ten Congressional offices and held three accountability actions at the offices of House Speaker Paul Ryan, Representatives Mike Conaway (one of the primary architects of the House bill) and Alex Mooney (who represents many of the West Virginians who had traveled to DC that day.)

On July 12, over a hundred youth came to DC to speak out against the  the school-to-prison-and-deportation pipeline. Youth from CPD/CPDA affiliates Make the Roads New York and Connecticut were joined by allies from the Urban Youth Collaborative, the Advancement Project, and Communities for Just Schools Fund. Since the Federal School Safety Commission formed by the Trump administration in the wake of the Parkland school shooting has shown little interest in actually listening to youth of color, the young people brought their concerns directly to the Department of Education (DOE) in a “People’s Listening Session” outside DOE headquarters. With calls for “counselors not cops,” the youth denounced the presence of police in schools as a misguided approach to school safety, and defended Obama-era guidelines addressing racial bias in school discipline. The young people also held 16 meetings with members of Congress encouraging them to divest from policing and deporting young people, to invest in students and teachers, and to preserve the civil rights of young people. The action was covered by Politico. We urge you to support CPD’s Summer of Heroes program by making a donation today.