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Blog Campaign, Guest Posts, Leadership and Activism, Learning at its Best, Student Voices

Let Our Voices be Heard (Guest Post by SWDFS student Raychel Gafford)

Reposted with permission from Southwest Detroit Freedom School. Originally posted at Let Our Voices Be Heard! 
Originally recited by Raychel Gafford during a walk out and protest at Western International School in Detroit 
Wednesday April 25, 2012. See video of the speech below! Her speech starts at 3:46!

Hi my name is  Raychel Gafford. I’m 17 years old and I am in the 11th grade. We are the students of Western International standing in solidarity with the students of southwestern. We are here not only in solidarity with southwestern but to draw the line and take a stand for our education.

We are walking out to fight for quality education and to protect our public school system. We are here demanding better education and that our voices be heard. Our school system should work WITH US not against us. I’m sick and tired of being pushed around. WHAT ABOUT YOU??

All I hear when I hear about DPS schools is closings, chartering, MONEY MONEY MONEY and LACK OF MONEY! To be honest, I don’t think our education should have a price tag. I thought schools are supposed to be about educating students so we can be the best members of the community and grow to be successful adults.

Schools are assets to the community. What’s going to happen when all our assets are privatized?? 80% of charter schools are for profit. THAT’S NOT WHAT OUR COMMUNITY NEEDS. Schools are not supposed to be ran as businesses, education is a long term investment. We should not be making money off of our students. We are children, WE ARE PEOPLE! NOT—DOLLAR SIGNS!

The solution is not to close public schools. It’s not a quick fix. It only does long term damage to our neighborhoods. (When schools close, our families, and our neighbors leave the community so that their kids can have access to quality schools and opportunities elsewhere.) We need to improve the public school system here, not shrink it down or sell if off to charters until it disappears completely.

Our community thrives off of public education. Without our proper education we are less prepared for life. We are the future! WE ARE THE NEXT GENERATION OF ADULTS! WE’RE HERE TELLING YOU THAT THERE IS A PROBLEM! We’re done choosing the lesser of two evils, or accepting solutions that are not good for our communities. This time we’re leading the way. We are demanding respect!


2 thoughts on “Let Our Voices be Heard (Guest Post by SWDFS student Raychel Gafford)

  1. Rachel – the courage of your classmates and you to stand for what you deserve, what every young person deserves is inspirational. For those of us who are older and working to bring your voices into the forefront of the movement to re-imagine education, your stance for your selves and in solidarity with other classmates in Detroit is the exactly what the movement needs. But you must keep at it. The media coverage fades quickly and organizing a sustained effort is where real progress is made, but you must make your case without blame or judgement. Stay vocal and don’t give up! You all deserve to be heard.

    Posted by charles kouns | May 1, 2012, 10:39 pm
  2. Let your voice be heard Raychel! Fist in the air for you!

    Posted by Kirsten Olson | May 2, 2012, 8:40 am

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