Buffalo Public Schools staffers, teachers and administrators are pushing for more African American history in what the district teaches, as well as pushing young people and their parents to vote and permanently change things.
The event at the pool in MLK Park Thursday was sponsored by school district unions and New York State United Teachers. Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore said teachers have long pushed for recognition of the ethnic diversity of schools and a more diverse view of American history.
It is clearly an issue now, and has long been an issue in developing curricula and choosing teaching materials to be used in classrooms for a student body that is overwhelmingly minority. New Hutch-Tech High School graduate Windy Singo said the May 25 death of George Floyd changed everything.
"It was the day that American civilians had reached their breaking point. It was the day that the straw broke the camel's back," Singo said. "We have been fighting a system that was never built to include everyone and now we're demanding that it exclude no one."
Rumore said there are active talks underway with the school system.
"One of the things that we're also going to start to do is working with the district to make sure that we talk about in our classes, and as part of the curriculum, to celebrate everybody," Rumore said. "We have so many different races in our district, to be able to celebrate them and have our students share, and we're already starting to discuss that with the district so it becomes a necessary part of the curriculum."
Under the general slogan "Remember November," the unions will be pushing voter turnout, not just for the primary election June 23, but also the general election in November. They hope to replace President Trump, the subject of numerous attacks during the rally.
McKinley High School and Administrators Union President Crystal Barton said racism suffuses our society.
"Insitutional racism. Let me ask you, How many of you know about institutional racism? All right? It's alive and well. It's been alive and well for a long, long period of time," Barton said. "At my age, I've come through what was it, the Civil Rights Movement, and then I got the right to vote."