In Actions, Bus Riders Union, School to Prison Pipeline, Strategy & Soul, The Labor Community Strategy Center

The Strategy Center challenges anti-Black culture and practice at Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA)—and the pervasive anti-Black policies still operative throughout the Los Angeles Unified School System

For the past month, the Labor/Community Strategy Center, and its representative, co-director Eric Mann, in the context of systematic anti-Black policies and the Black Student Achievement Program, has brought to the attention of the school board and superintendent an egregious incident of anti-Black policies at the Girls Academic Leadership Academy. Eric documented a situation at GALA where 2 two Black young women students have been subjected to systematic racial profiling. And then, when their parents protested, they suffered retaliation including a threat of criminal charges. This letter from GALA principal Dr. Hicks includes the following language:

“In addition, visitors who defy the school administrator’s authority can be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and may be subject to criminal charges under California Penal Code Sections 626.6 and 626.8 of Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 63.94. The District intends to enforce the Board Rules and seeks your cooperation.”

We call on GALA Principal Dr. Liz Hicks to cease and desist any further anti-Black racial profiling of the Black students and stop her threats and retaliation against their parents. We ask her to work with BSAP to do a full inventory of the problems at GALA, which we know are system wide, and to apologize to the students and parents. We also ask her to agree that the letter she sent should be eliminated from any further use to any parents or students.

We also have called on Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and BSAP staff to do a full investigation of the incident and the broader pattern of anti-Blackness at GALA and throughout the LAUSD system.

We have indications that the administration has begun such a process but we as Strategy Center and BSAP have not been brought into that process as we should have been from the outset. We look forward to consultation with district staff and BSAP staff as to the process and recommendations immediately to make sure this respects the formal procedures we have spent 3 years establishing.

The Strategy Center and the entire BSAP Steering Committee along with sympathetic board members voted to cut the Los Angeles School Police Budget by 35 percent ($25 million) and invest $100 million in Black students and schools.  This was a very important first step. Now we are calling for an additional  $1 billion in public funding for Black students and schools to compensate for a century of anti-Black educational and cultural policies and to end all funding for police on campus.

We have worked constructively with LAUSD School board members Kelley Gonez, Monica Garcia, Nick Melvoin, and Jackie Goldberg for their positive leadership in the reduction of the LA School Police budget and their support of the BSAP motion. We welcome the additional leadership of Board member Tanya Ortiz Franklin and her important motion on “Community Based Safety.” We urgently need their leadership to help us resolve these problems.

Please join us in taking these actions to support this work

Call or Email Dr. Hicks

We call on Dr. Hicks to apologize to the students and parents who made the initial complaints, to agree to never use such a letter again while the LAUSD board moves to outlaw it, and to acknowledge a systematic problem of anti-Blackness at GALA, We urge her to work with BSAP, parents, and students to come up with structural remedies. Please call Dr. Hicks at 323-900-3542 and email her at ela9670 (at) lausd (dot) net to indicate support for our proposals and to engage her as to solutions.

Email the LAUSD Board

Please join us in emailing LAUSD board members to rescind the attached letter as a tactic by school administrators in its entirety, a tactic against parents who protest anti-Blackness, anti-Latinx behavior, or any abuses of the system that must be addressed. boardmembers (at) lausd (dot) net Urge them to continue the work to reduce and eliminate anti-Blackness as public policy including dramatic expansion of funding for Black students and schools and dramatic reduction in police and policing. We ask them to enthusiastically support the Community-based Safety Pilot Programs

Email Superintendent Carvalho

We appreciate the support of Superintendent Carvalho and his staff for taking our concerns seriously. We ask him to assure that any LAUSD staff who are doing any investigation of the problems at GALA reach back to the BSAP steering committee and the grassroots groups who have driven this process—Strategy Center, Students Deserve, Inner City Struggle, Community Coalition, UTLA, and SEIU 99. Please email him ask him to work with the BSAP Steering Committee. On the GALA and other school problems. We ask him to rescind any use of the threatening letter and to fully support the Community Based Safety Program. superintendent (at) lausd (dot) net