Students of Color Deserve Educators of Color
Over the course of the spring we have had the incredible honor of working with the AMAZING students and educators who are involved with the Ethnic Studies program at Holyoke High School's North Campus. It has been inspiring to watch the students organize around issues within the school community such as inequity and discrimination and it's been a pleasure to watch the extraordinary educators in action. So when we at JwJ learned that one of the beloved educators in the Ethnic Studies department would not have her contract renewed for next year, we - like her students and colleagues - were devastated. Support for Ms. Thomas is overwhelming and we are so happy to be pitching in to keep this highly qualified and passionate educator of color where she belongs - at Holyoke High School with her students. One student told us "I've been told administration is doing their best to hire teachers of color but they're not even keeping the teachers of color they already have. It doesn't make sense to students and we do try to have these conversations with administrators but it seems to go nowhere".
Ms. Thomas is not only incredibly qualified (she holds an undergrad degree in Race and Ethnic Studies and Political Science from Westfield State, a Masters of Arts in Race and Ethnic Studies from UCLA, and M.Ed from UMass Boston) but also highly enthusiastic, motivated and dedicated. We can personally attest to her passion and commitment. She encourages her students to stand up against racism and discrimination and develops deep connections with them as they put the practices she teaches into action to fight back. Through organizing the students saw changes to policy and practice throughout the year and were able to have their voices heard. She is a remarkable educator and we can understand why students and colleagues want her to come back to Holyoke High School next year and for years to come. We want her to return next year too!!!
Check out this petition students created to fight back against this problematic decision made by administration. Can you help us show support for the students and solidarity for our union sister and a valuable, dedicated educator by signing?
You can also follow the Facebook Page created by community supporters of Ethnic Studies and Ms. Thomas to stay tuned into this campaign and to learn how you can help!!
As the students said to us “every student of color deserves to have educators of color!” We wholeheartedly agree.