Updated: Jul 12
Liberate Parker Elementary School in East Oakland! Parker Elementary students & East Oakland youth share with POOR Magazine what motivates them to fight for Parker Elementary.
By East Oakland Youth Skolaz, Jassiona & Samira
Youth Skola Story #1:
“My name is Jassiona and I’ve been at Parker, the liberation, for 23 days. Some people ask me how I got involved in it. Well I used to hear their marches every day and how they were taking over my community school. The first day I got here, I didn't actually believe that people were sleeping in the school. My little sister was the first person to be across the street every day.
“My sister transferred to Parker Elementary, because earlier this year, at Elmhurst Middle School, another student and her mom had an altercation. This mom jumped out her car and started fighting my sister. My mom called OUSD, she called the principal, but nobody ever called her back. And this was why she moved her to Parker. She started coming home every day with a smile on her face. And I went over here and it felt like home.
"Here at the liberation, in our class, I got to learn how to roller skate and I got to see different people and interact with them. There have been some events, like barbecues, a skate day, the Warriors party, and many more. Occupying the school is a good idea for kids because they need it. Where are you going to go if we don't occupy this school? I know a lot of kids around here who aren’t gonna go to school next year, because they don't have anyone to take them. We got to do the liberation, because a lot of other schools in Oakland, not just Parker, are getting closed and we have to fight back. There won't be any public schools in Oakland left, and if they close this one, what will we do? There will only be charter schools. I've been going to a charter school for three years. I do love it, but there's some things I don't like. Even as a black student, I feel like I don't get heard at all. All students should have the right to feel comfortable at school, and that's why I'm here doing this today.
"At some point, I started to give up because I thought they were just going to get our school taken away. But on June 9th, I went to my first board meeting, and I got to see the ugliest person ever inside. They didn't have no sense of humor. They were rude and just didn't care about children. All they care about is taking money away from kids. And the most racist of them all is Josh Daniels. He comes to Parker every week. He takes pictures of little kids, and he locks up our kitchen so we can't eat. He takes all of our funding. He sends 14 people to put chains on our gates. And when I went to the board meeting, it made me not want to give up anymore. I gotta be heard. And all the youth said everything they had to say and everyone got to hear and I liked it.”
Youth Skola Interview #1:
What is your name?
Where are you from?
Why are you here?
Because this is my community school. And I want to keep it open.
What made you want to do this when you don't go to this school?
Because my sister goes here and I want her to have a good opportunity being here.
Youth Skola Interview #2:
What is your name?
And where are you from?
Why are you here today?
I'm here to help support Parker and try to keep it open.
What made you want to be here for days?
Because Parker's a community school that everyone should have.