Meet Pablo Paredes. We have known Pablo since 2011, when he was a central organizer in raising the voices of undocumented DREAMer youth. This week, Pablo let us know about public remarks he made during a recent Berkeley Unified School District board meeting. You see, Pablo’s two daughters attend the middle school at REALM, Berkeley’s only charter school, whose high school is 64% Latino and 22% black. On March 8, advocates for REALM told the BUSD board that they are willing to work with them to help save the school.
At one point, Pablo put all these issues into the context of how so-called “progressive” cities like Berkeley might not come across as being so “progressive” when it comes to communities of color. Watch what Pablo said in the following video. In about four minutes, Pablo framed the debate within the context of the current political climate:
Then there is this:
Our school represents exactly what Berkeley is always bragging to the planet from the highest towers about. We talk sanctuary city, but what does that look like? This is the city that’s too expensive for these families to live in.
Local Berkeley press ran a very detailed story about REALM. You can read it here.
As for Pablo? Here’s to him and all those parents who fight every day for their children’s educations and futures.
UPDATE, 2:13pmET: Pablo sent us this on Thursday afternoon: “Fam, we just got an e-mail that they are now down to negotiate a lease for 2017-18. We won!!!”
Pablo also shared an email from the REALM advocates who were fighting for the school. Here is that email:
Again, we received a lease offer from BUSD for 2017-2018 to use Building A, the outside area, and the gym for one year only. I will need to confer with BFT, parents, leadership, and the Board today before I can respond to the Superintendent’s letter. The Superintendent has communicated that all of the BUSD Board members are in support of this plan. In other words, this will not be a discussion item nor will it need to be ‘voted’ on by the BUSD Board.
Many of you have been spending hours of your own time, class time, and family time to make this happen— including the students. Many of our them wrote letters, gave passionate speeches, and made calls to school leaders. The entire community pulled together to make this happen.
This would have not been possible without everyone’s collective efforts.
I will continue to update you as I get more information.
REALM Family Fund