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Solidarity Statement in Support of the Successful LA Teacher Strike

White People 4 Black Lives celebrates Los Angeles teachers for the gains they earned for their students.

White People 4 Black Lives celebrates Los Angeles teachers for the gains they earned for their students as a direct result of UTLA’s historic six-day strike. This successful strike should set a precedent for the rest of the country, and we want to call attention to how its goals coincide with the Movement for Black Lives platform of dismantling the white supremacy that infiltrates and corrupts our current education system.

Public schools are in decay because of uncontrolled capitalist greed, which is inextricably linked to white supremacy. Proponents of defunding public schools frame their philosophy in terms of efficiency and competition, advocating for the allegedly benign mathematics of free-market economics. However, there are clear winners and losers in the drive for privatization and charter schools, which inevitably becomes a drive towards racial segregation. Due to the zero-sum scarcity perpetuated by our capitalist system, more funding for private and charter schools usually means less funding for public schools, which tend to be situated in under-resourced communities and serve predominantly children of color. Charter schools run and supported by LAUSD are allowed to pick and choose their students, and do not have to guarantee admission to anyone. This undemocratic process and a relative lack of oversight opens these schools up to corruption from wealthy outside influences. And yet LAUSD continues to fund its small but growing number of charter schools at the expense of neighborhood public schools, leaving them overcrowded and understaffed and funneling students into the underground economy, low-wage work, and the prison system.

These actions directly counter the Movement for Black Lives platform which advocates investing directly in black, poor, and other communities of color, including their education systems, and divesting from systems of racial oppression, such as prisons and militant police presence. The improvements in our public schools that will result from the UTLA strike, which include decreasing class size as well as hiring more nurses, librarians, college counselors, and mental health professionals, will have an outsized positive impact on students of color, and thus this is a clear win in the fight against racism and white supremacy.

Public education is a fundamental human right — not something children and their families should compete for in a free market. While of course the harms of past racism can never be undone, the gains from this strike are a step toward turning the tide and repairing the damage done by centuries of white supremacy.

This is a collective statement written by White People 4 Black Lives. WP4BL is a white anti-racist collective and activist project of the Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere (AWARE-LA) and operates within a national network of white anti-racists called Showing Up for Racial Justice. WP4BL is rooted in acting in solidarity with Black Lives Matter: Los Angeles. Visit www.awarela.org and follow us @WP4BL