Another Day Off

I have always loved Martin Luther King Day. Yes, Martin Luther King will always be a great man for leading the civil rights movement and achieving much needed change in this nation, but I feel it is equally true that the day of remembrance gives us a perfect three-day weekend for relaxation and recuperation. It's exactly what we need after two long and unendurable weeks back at school just when we had a beautiful winter break. However, this Martin Luther King Day, I did not feel as fatigued as I have in previous years because I’ve been relaxing and recuperating every single day for the past week in my house. I could have gone to school, but I wanted to respect the picket line and I didn’t want to give the administration my $15 for showing up. But between you and me, I feel I could be so much more productive in my bed fake studying for an hour and then feeling so accomplished that I watch a movie or two to reward myself. Award season is in full swing and I really need to know if Roma is as good as people say.

But in all seriousness, as I was doing nothing in my room my amazing teachers and all LAUSD teachers were striking in the rain last week for us. They are fighting for smaller class sizes, more nurses, counselors, and librarians; more charter and co-location regulations (which we all know about from last year); wage increases, and other things that all help LAUSD teachers and us, the students, in our journey for exceptional public education. When one hears our teacher Mr. Bradbury say things like, “when I walked towards campus on Monday morning, in the darkness and in the rain, for the first time in my teaching career of 19 years I cried... because on that day for the first time in my career I chose not to teach” you begin to understand what this means to our teachers. They have decided to go on strike, decided to not do what they love because they see our education system is broken. It's broken because you see inadequate amounts of funding and staffing going to our public schools, when private school parents with more money are able to get smaller class sizes, more teachers and plumbing that works. I thank our teachers from the bottom of my heart for trying to improve the futures and livelihoods of the more than 640,000 students in LAUSD and the thousands more that will enroll in our schools for decades to come.

I think Martin Luther King would be very proud to see all our teachers and students on that picket line and I think he would also be proud to see the 800,000 government workers living without pay because our racist president wants a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants. The change and progress Dr. King fought for and all civil rights changes that followed him are being undermined by our current White House administration. While our schools are out of session the government of the United States has been out of session for a month and counting. I’m loving the strength and passion coming out of the new House and a seasoned veteran, Nancy Pelosi, leading the charge against the Trump shutdown, since we all know he is the reason for this shutdown, right?

Trump has a new hostage deal where he wants $5.7 billion for the wall in exchange for prolonged protection of the dreamers. Trump again going after the dreamers is a bad idea and you can look at some of our articles in the past that explain why. None of us know why Trump cares about the wall so much and why he’s taking such a hard stance on it two years after he first made it. A stance that leaves economic uncertainty and 800,000 Americans not getting paid. In Trump’s address to the nation last week, he painted a picture of Mexican cartels pumping in “vast quantities of illegal drugs” into our country and illegal immigrants threatening American stability and families. According to the New York Times, Trump’s speech had several claims that were completely false or “it needs context.” When Trump began the speech with, “My fellow Americans” along the backdrop of the Oval Office where truly great presidents have addressed the public, I cringed harder than when an old movie scrolls “Executive Producer - Harvey Weinstein” in the credits. Some day relatively soon Trump will have his day of judgment against Almighty Special Counsel Bob Mueller, and I would like to leave you with a Dr. King quote about a different wall, the Berlin wall. “For here on either side of the wall are God’s children and no man-made barrier can obliterate that fact.” Until then with workers not working, teachers not teaching, and students not learning, we can take a day off to remember our struggles, relax, and relish all of the hard work we’ve accomplished; tomorrow some go back to the good fight and some go back to doing nothing.