Books for ARThouse Kids

Remember our Manchester Miracle? Two years ago we helped engage literally thousands of people all over the world in a book drive that wound up completely renovating the library at Pittsburgh Manchester preK-8. [For original story, see “Library Books and Equity”] It’s time for another miracle.

Our friend, the amazing artist Vanessa German, is opening a reading room in the new ARThouse. This art-making space for children in Homewood literally started on Vanessa’s front porch as neighborhood kids gathered to watch her paint and make sculptures. The Love Front Porch project outgrew the porch and moved into a nearby house that Vanessa purchased with support from the community. It’s a beautiful place where young people gather after school to feed their creative souls, make art, eat snacks, do homework – and read.

ArtHouse

ArtHouseBoy

Vanessa explains, “we are building a reading room at the new ARThouse because i noticed this year that kids would come right after school not going to their homes or homework programs and they’d sit right down in the midst of the paint and scramble and attempt to find 5 equations that equal 132. with, not surprisingly, great frustration. also the reading room because it is going to be soft and quiet and comfortable and, hopefully, filled with reams and reams of adventures.”

ArtHouseKids

The architect of our Manchester Miracle, children’s librarian extraordinaire Sheila May-Stein, has hand-picked a list of books for the ARThouse. You can purchase new books from this Amazon Wishlist she has compiled and they will be sent directly to the ARThouse. (If you have books shipped from another source, please send them c/o Vanessa German, 7803 Hamilton Ave., Pittsburgh PA 15208.) You may also drop off gently used children’s and teen books on the porches of Yinzercation steering committee members Kathy Newman (Squirrel Hill: 5353 Beeler Street) or Tara McElfresh (Morningside: 1001 Chislett St).

As many in our community already know, Sheila is having major surgery tomorrow and has asked that folks send books to the ARThouse along with their healing thoughts for her extended recovery. What an amazing thing Ms. Sheila has started. And it’s already taking off:

  • In the past 48 hours, over 150 books have been purchased from the list.
  • Writer Katha Pollitt from The Nation, who supported our Manchester Miracle, got actress Salli Richardson of “I Am Legend” to retweet and rapper Missy Elliot to favorite her tweet about the project.
  • Children’s author Arnold Adoff put our message out on his Facebook page.
  • Homewood native Robin Walker Williams, is arranging for Vanessa to be on early morning TV shows to discuss the reading room project.
  • The founder of Awesome Pittsburgh bought 7 books and is sharing the message. (And Tara McElfresh is going to write a $1,000 grant to Awesome Pittsburgh for the ARThouse!)
  • The Homeless Children’s Education Fund is sending books.
  • The Homewood Children’s Village has 100 books they are donating.

Sheila asks, “What can you say when people all over Pittsburgh decide to take time out of their day to send biographies of Handel and Mozart to children in Homewood? When Lakota origin tales and giant coffee table books with full color plates of Basqiat’s work are on their way to wondering eyes and little hands? Each book a message straight from a heart to a child: you matter. you have value. you belong on this earth.” These children are all of our children. They belong to all of us:

Vanessa German: “we made books and ate pizza last week. we were the writers, publishers and makers. we are so bold.”

“we made books and ate pizza last week. we were the writers, publishers and makers. we are so bold.” – Vanessa German

“Miyah made a great journal last week. high design if you'd have asked me. yesterday she came in. pulled last week's journal from her book bag. with the pages filled. she then went into production on a new journal.i remarked. you could be an entrepenuer. a young book maker. i went outside to work with some of the younger artists. when i came back in at the end of the evening. she had 5 new books laid out. creating masterful, colorfilled covers. and she is SOOOO quiet. she moves like a light wind from the east. remarkable.” – Vanessa German

“Miyah made a great journal last week. high design if you’d have asked me. yesterday she came in. pulled last week’s journal from her book bag. with the pages filled. she then went into production on a new journal.i remarked. you could be an entrepenuer. a young book maker. i went outside to work with some of the younger artists. when i came back in at the end of the evening. she had 5 new books laid out. creating masterful, colorfilled covers. and she is SOOOO quiet. she moves like a light wind from the east. remarkable.” – Vanessa German

Vanessa posted this poem on October 9th, when we had lost three African-American teenagers in one week to violence:

don’t think that it isn’t heartbreaking that our children are being killed and left for useless and worthless in a world that all too often neither celebrates, acknowledges or even considers their inherent, immutable, wisdom and beauty. don’t think that we don’t grieve them all. because we do. and every child we love. is every child we love. and we love the children we love as we love ALL the children whose names and places we know and do not know. and we celebrate them. in art and dancing and joy and food. and we celebrate them as the celebration in and of itself is an honoring of their remarkable remarkable-ness, is an honoring of their profound and mysterious and glorious humanity. we honor them as we honor and celebrate ourselves. and every joy we share in. is a healing. every ounce of paint and glue and water, every seed of glitter every juice box every t-shirt every over-crowded classroom Arthouse and city park is a healing. and we grieve. and the grief is an honoring. and we celebrate them in our humanity, in the courage of our human commitment and political will– we stand for us all. Love.

Can you send a book from the Amazon Wishlist and then help spread the word? Vanessa German, the ARThouse, and the children of Homewood need our help. Let’s make another miracle.

Vanessa German

Vanessa German performing at our Rally for Public Education, February 2013.

Go, Go, Go GOTV!

OK, I’ll admit the first time I saw the acronym “GOTV” I thought Go-TV was some kind of new television. Or that we were supposed to be cheering for TVs. Then I realized it stands for “Get Out the Vote!” And nothing could be more important right now. With just three weeks left in this gubernatorial race, we need to be cheering on voters to get to the polls.

Our friend Susan Spicka, a mom who leads a volunteer group of parents much like ours in central PA, has been out knocking on doors for the Wolf campaign in Franklin County. She reports that even though she isn’t seeing Corbett yard signs or bumper stickers in that normally heavily Republican part of the state, “Anyone who wants to see Tom Corbett get booted out of office this year needs to vote on November 4. Polls don’t win elections, voter turnout does. A whole lot of Republicans will hold their noses and vote for Corbett. Voters who support Wolf need to make sure to vote for him.”

Research confirms her point. Kristin Kanthak, as associate professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh, explains that Tom Wolf’s large lead in the polls is starting to close as more Corbett-leaning voters become willing to express their support for him: “This kind of tightening is really pretty common with someone where their positive numbers aren’t very high.” In other words, while the incumbent has had dismal approval ratings and his supporters were not lining up early on to cheer for him, they are more willing now. And Dr. Kanthak points out that Corbett is “the most endangered Republican in the country right now,” so millions of dollars in out of state contributions have been pouring into his campaign coffers. [Public Source, 10-14-14]

Back to Susan Spicka’s point: voter turnout is what will win this race. That means getting people to the polls. What can you do? Here are two easy ways to help GOTV!

Our colleagues at the statewide Education Voters Action Fund (which is separate from Education Voters PA, which cannot endorse candidates) will be running a virtual phone bank. You can make calls from home on the next three Thursdays, starting tomorrow – October 16, 23 & 30th – between 6 and 8PM to help reach voters directly in the districts that matter the most in the upcoming election. Everyone will be phoning for Wolf, and when possible, you will phone for other endorsed candidates along with Wolf to double the impact of the phone call. Some endorsed candidates may be Republicans who have been friends, and will continue to be friends, of public education. (This is great!)

Education Voters Action Fund will provide you with a script. All you need is a phone and a computer. Please contact Bob Previdi at evaf@educationvoterspa.org or call him at 267-235-8523 to sign up or with any questions.

Now here’s a second way you can GOTV and meet Tom Wolf in person! This Saturday, October 18th, our friends at the “Make it Our UPMC” campaign will be hosting a meet-and-greet with Mr. Wolf at 10:30AM at the Jeron X. Grayson Community Center (1852 Enoch St. / 15219). From there, everyone will fan out for a special door-to-door canvass. You will be with other people, they’ll show you where to go, and you’ll have information so you know what to say (if you want it). In other words – this is easy, all you have to do is show up!

This is it, folks. Just three weeks left. It’s all about GOTV now. Go, go, go!

MIOUPMC October 18 FINAL

Celebrating Hope, Action, and Change

Pittsburgh hosted the national launch of Bob Herbert’s new book last week with an event that was part rally, part community meeting, and part serious conversation. But it was also a fun celebration of our education justice movement with kids and drums and balloons, full of hope that ordinary folks like us can change the world when we work together. Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America tells a series of close-up stories about growing income inequality, the true costs of war, and our country’s failure to invest in public goods from infrastructure to education. It’s a devastatingly honest account of our national policy failures and the consequences of misplaced priorities. In a book full of gripping narratives – including a woman badly injured in the Minneapolis bridge collapse and a solider from Georgia who loses both his legs and more in Afghanistan – we are a point of hope. Herbert was inspired by our truly grassroots movement fighting back against the defunding and corporatization of public education. And he wound up writing three chapters on education, two of them framed closely by our work in Pittsburgh.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh provided children's activities

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh provided children’s activities

Drummers from Pittsburgh Dilworth and Pittsburgh Linden performed for the audience

Drummers from Pittsburgh Dilworth and Pittsburgh Linden performed for the audience

Rev. Freeman, president of PIIN, delivers opening words helping us think about the three African American teenagers we lost in Pittsburgh in just one week

Rev. Freeman, president of PIIN, delivers opening words helping us think about the three African American teenagers we lost in Pittsburgh in just one week

Over 300 people were in McConomy Auditorium at Carnegie Mellon University for the event!

Over 300 people filled McConomy Auditorium at Carnegie Mellon University for the event!

Tony Norman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette moderated the conversation with Bob Herbert

Tony Norman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette moderated the conversation with Bob Herbert

Bob Herbert emphasized the need to grassroots activism and a coordinated effort to fight income inequality and for good jobs.

Bob Herbert emphasized the need for grassroots activism and a coordinated effort to fight income inequality and for good jobs.

Bob Herbert explains that the movement will have to come from the bottom up.

Bob Herbert explains that the movement will have to come from the bottom up.

Jessie Ramey and Kathy Newman are two of the four Pittsburgh parents mentioned by name in the book (spoiler alert:  Sara Segel and Sara Goodkind are the other two!)

Jessie Ramey and Kathy Newman are two of the four Pittsburgh parents mentioned by name in the book (spoiler alert: Sara Segel and Sara Goodkind are the other two!)

Bob Herbert answered audience questions

Bob Herbert answers audience questions

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Our friends at Mystery Lovers Bookshop sold copies of the book hot off the press!

Our friends at Mystery Lovers Bookshop sold copies of the book hot off the press for Herbert’s first stop on his national book tour!

Bob signs books while a film crew interviews audience members.

Bob signs books while a film crew interviews audience members.

We are participating in a new social media campaign encouraging people to talk about what #OurSchoolsNeed

We are participating in a new social media campaign encouraging people to talk about what #OurSchoolsNeed

Hill District activist Kent Bey, who runs the Stand Up Now Network, participates in the #OurSchoolsNeed campaign

Hill District activist Kent Bey, who runs the Stand Up Now Network, participates in the #OurSchoolsNeed campaign

Tony Norman with his son, Chris, a PPS graduate, say we need more art in our schools

Tony Norman with his son, Chris, a PPS graduate, say we need more art in our schools

Yinzercation_0220 Not surprisingly, Bob Herbert is getting a lot of national press, including this interview on Bill Moyers (where you can also read the introduction to the book) and an excellent Politico feature on “The Plot Against Public Education: How Millionaires and Billionaires are Ruining Our Schools.” Locally, Bob Herbert was on WESA’s “Essential Pittsburgh,” the Rick Smith Show, Jon Delano’s KDKA Sunday business show, and was interviewed by the City Paper (article coming soon). Congratulations, Pittsburgh, on another moment in the national spotlight as we celebrate real hope, grassroots action, and change from the bottom up.

If you missed this incredible book launch, or just want to keep the conversation going, please consider joining our co-sponsor, the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Council, for an informal gathering to discuss Losing Our Way: Monday, October 27, 2014 from 7-8PM at the PAJC offices (Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 5th Avenue). Light refreshments will be served. More information at pajc@pajc.net.

Top 10 Reasons to See Bob Herbert

We are hosting Bob Herbert, the award winning, longtime New York Times columnist, for the national launch of his new book, Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America. I know that sounds like a very serious title, but this is going to be an exciting event and the book features our local education justice work! So why should you come next Thursday (October 9th) at 5:30PM to Carnegie Mellon? Here are the top ten reasons you don’t want to miss this event:

1.  You will be inspired. Bob is a terrific writer and speaker. With this book, he takes us across the U.S. to look at the consequences of the crippling Great Recession, austerity, and de-investment in the public good, profiling ordinary Americans who are trying to rebuild their lives and our country. Our story of Pittsburgh’s own grassroots parent movement and our efforts to save public education in Pennsylvania from devastating state budget cuts is the hope-filled highpoint of the book. You will be re-inspired by what we have accomplished working together. And now others around the country will be looking to Pittsburgh as a model for citizen action.

2.  Celebrate our victories. This is our time to shine a little in the national spotlight! Education justice work is a long haul; even narrowly defined goals such as restoring state budget cuts takes years of work, with many highs and lows along the way. It’s important to stop and recognize what we have achieved together. And this event is yet another achievement: we are hosting the national launch of this book (yes, Bob will be celebrating with us here in Pittsburgh before he even launches the book back home in New York City)!

3.  Get a signed copy of the book. Our friends at Mystery Lovers Bookshop will be on hand selling books hot off the press and Bob will stay after the Q&A to sign copies.

4.  Be a part of a community wide event. We have 15 co-sponsors from across the region working on this event, from universities and academic groups to faith-based organizations and labor and community organizations. That doesn’t happen every day in Pittsburgh.

  • Action United
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
  • Carnegie Mellon University:
    • Center for Arts in Society
    • Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE)
    • English Department
    • History Department
  • Great Public Schools Pittsburgh
  • OnePittsburgh
  • Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network
  • Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee
  • Pittsburgh Collaborative for Working Class Studies
  • Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers
  • Point Park University School of Communication
  • University of Pittsburgh English Department

5.  Hear the Dilworth drummers. These fantastic students from Pittsburgh Dilworth K-5 raise the roof with their music and enthusiasm when they perform. You have enjoyed them at some of our previous events: don’t miss this chance to hear them again at 5PM when the doors open. We will also have children’s activities sponsored by the fabulous librarians of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh!

6.  See Tony Norman. Mr. Norman – a columnist, associate editor, and book editor for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – will be moderating the conversation with Bob Herbert, followed by a Q&A with the audience. Tony has long been one of my favorite columnists and it will be a treat to see him live on stage with Bob.

7.  Find out who is in the book. Hint: at least four Pittsburgh parents are named in the book. And there’s an entire chapter framed by the story Bob discovered at Pittsburgh Lincoln preK-5 when he visited that school. Find out what he has to say about yinzers!

8.  It’s free. With free parking. In Pittsburgh, that’s enough said.

9.  Our elected representatives will be there. From the school board to city council, the mayor’s office, and state legislators, many of our elected representatives have told us they are planning to attend. We want them to see a crowd and know that public education advocates are a force to be reckoned with. (No joke – this is really important.) We had 1,000 people out for the launch of Diane Ravitch’s book one year ago and they really took notice – make sure you come and help this event be a big success.

10.  Because Bob Herbert. Seriously, Bob Herbert people!

Herbert_BookLaunch_flyer2

It’s Education, Stupid

Is it any surprise that Governor Tom Corbett is woefully trailing his opponent, Tom Wolf, in the polls? The latest numbers released last week show Tom W. ahead of Tom C., 49% to 31%. With 60% of registered voters saying that Pennsylvania is “off on the wrong track,” survey respondents continue to name education as their number one concern. [Franklin & Marshall poll, Sept. 2014] In fact, education is now far ahead of “the economy,” which has traditionally been voters’ primary concern (going back to at least 2006 in these polls).

Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign against incumbent President George H.W. Bush featured the famous line, “It’s the economy, stupid.” In Pennsylvania this election cycle, “it’s education, stupid.” (Now, my mother taught me not to call people stupid; so please note, I am not calling you stupid, dear reader, I know you get this point – which is exactly the point!)

In fact, I said this very thing last week when I appeared on “Get to the Point,” a PCNC Friday night talk show. I had the chance to sit across from Bob Bozzuto, the Executive Director of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania, and Katie McGinty, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and now chair of the Fresh Start PA campaign supporting Tom Wolf. And for an hour, I did my best to steer the conversation back to education, education, education.

Jessie Ramey on "Get to the Point" with host Lenny McAllister, Katie McGinty of Fresh Start PA, and Bob Bozzuto, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Republican Party

Jessie Ramey on “Get to the Point” with host Lenny McAllister, Katie McGinty of Fresh Start PA, and Bob Bozzuto, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Republican Party (September 19, 2014)

Yesterday, we took this message directly to Gov. Corbett himself. Or at least we tried. The governor was in Pittsburgh for a rare visit, but not to meet with educators or students or parents. Rather, he was in town to meet with Marcellus shale corporate executives. Yes indeed. He reserves his elbow rubbing for the people who line his campaign coffers with huge donations to make sure he doesn’t tax their industry (which would help pay for our public schools). [Post-Gazette, 9-25-14] OnePittsburgh rolled out the “People’s Red Carpet” welcome outside the convention center to demonstrate who he is walking over.

Just to further prove how out of touch this governor is with Pennsylvania families, on Monday at his first debate with Tom Wolf, Gov. Corbett said that nurses, social workers, librarians, guidance counselors, and paraprofessionals don’t count. He was referring to the 27,000 educators who have lost their jobs since his historic budget cuts in 2011. Specifically, Gov. Corbett stated: “That’s a false number. Those aren’t all teachers. Those are people that worked in the system, that were part of the administrations. They weren’t all teachers.” [CSPAN archive] These were 27,000 adults our children had in their lives every day, working with them in their classrooms, helping them succeed in school, and we’re not supposed to count them as lost educators?

Election day is November 4th and it can’t come soon enough. Between now and then, Pittsburgh’s own folk legend, Anne Feeney, will be traveling around Pennsylvania with her “Crush Corbett Road Show.” Anne asked Yinzercation to create a flyer with information about the governor’s record on education, which she will be distributing on her concert tour. In closing, I leave you here with a copy, as the facts speak for themselves.

Corbett_CutsHurtKids_flyer

Save the date: Bob Herbert book event!

Save the date – you don’t want to miss this! We are hosting the national launch of Bob Herbert’s new book, Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America. You might remember Mr. Herbert as the award winning and longtime columnist for the New York Times. This book is especially exciting for us because Bob came to Pittsburgh several times to interview parents and teachers in our local grassroots movement and wound up writing three chapters on our fight for public education!

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After you mark your calendar, please RSVP on our Facebook event page, where you can also invite all your friends and colleagues and help us spread the word. Here are some more details:

Date:    Thursday, October 9, 2014

Time:    5:30 – 6:30PM, moderated discussion and Q&A.
Doors will open at 5 with student performances & children’s activities.
Followed by book signing.

Location:    McConomy Auditorium, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh 15213.
Free parking in the garage.

Hosted by:    Yinzercation (we are profiled in the book!)

Moderator:    Tony Norman, columnist and associate editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Co-Sponsors:    Action United
American Federation of Teachers
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Carnegie Mellon University:
–Center for Arts in Society
–Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE)
–English Department
–History Department
Great Public Schools Pittsburgh
OnePittsburgh
Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network
Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee
Pittsburgh Collaborative for Working Class Studies
Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers
Point Park University School of Communication
University of Pittsburgh English Department

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Bob Herbert

And here’s more information about the book from the publisher to whet your appetite:

From longtime New York Times columnist Bob Herbert comes a wrenching portrayal of ordinary Americans struggling for survival in a nation that has lost its way.
In his eighteen years as an opinion columnist for The New York Times, Herbert championed the working poor and the middle class. After filing his last column in 2011, he set off on a journey across the country to report on Americans who were being left behind in an economy that has never fully recovered from the Great Recession. The portraits of those he encountered fuel his new book, Losing Our Way. Herbert’s combination of heartrending reporting and keen political analysis is the purest expression since the Occupy movement of the plight of the 99 percent.

The individuals and families who are paying the price of America’s bad choices in recent decades form the book’s emotional center: an exhausted high school student in Brooklyn who works the overnight shift in a factory at minimum wage to help pay her family’s rent; a twenty-four-year-old soldier from Peachtree City, Georgia, who loses both legs in a misguided, mismanaged, seemingly endless war; a young woman, only recently engaged, who suffers devastating injuries in a tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis; and a group of parents in Pittsburgh who courageously fight back against the politicians who decimated funding for their children’s schools.

Herbert reminds us of a time in America when unemployment was low, wages and profits were high, and the nation’s wealth, by current standards, was distributed much more equitably. Today, the gap between the wealthy and everyone else has widened dramatically, the nation’s physical plant is crumbling, and the inability to find decent work is a plague on a generation. Herbert traces where we went wrong and spotlights the drastic and dangerous shift of political power from ordinary Americans to the corporate and financial elite. Hope for America, he argues, lies in a concerted push to redress that political imbalance. Searing and unforgettable, Losing Our Way ultimately inspires with its faith in ordinary citizens to take back their true political power and reclaim the American dream.

Legislators Back to – This?

Welcome back, legislators. I know today is your first day back in session after two months off for your summer break. A lot has happened since the beginning of July. But it’s hard to leave the sunshine and put away your flip-flops. I get it. So maybe you just need to ease into things.

Maybe that’s why the very first thing the Senate Education Committee will consider when it meets tomorrow morning is a bill that would allow teachers and other school staff to carry concealed guns. Because you can’t actually be serious. You’re planning to sip your coffee, shake the sand out of your briefcase, and then vote a quick “no” on this ridiculous legislation, right?

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Don White (a Republican from Indiana, PA), said that, “we must look at all options when it comes to improving the safety and security” of our schools, and that teachers need “more choices … to protect students.” [The Morning Call, 9-12-14] Um, yeah. Because gun toting teachers are a great idea and really protect kids. Not. While you were sitting by the pool last week, did you happen to see the story about the Utah teacher whose legally concealed gun went off in the bathroom, sending her to the hospital with injuries from flying toilet shrapnel? I kid you not, you can’t make this stuff up. [Tribune Review, 9-11-14] And this begs the question: what if that had been a child in her classroom rather than a potty that she managed to accidentally blow up?

While you are busy debating the supposed merits of permitting such scenarios to occur in Pennsylvania classrooms, let us remind you of the real danger our children are facing every single day: the de-funding of their public schools. Our students have been back in their classrooms for three weeks now without the resources they deserve. Because of four years of draconian state budget cuts and austerity, our kids are missing 20,000 of their teachers, countless programs, and basic supplies.

The situation in Philadelphia is so bad that parents there are suing the state. [The Notebook, 9-11-14] Last year, families from across that city filed 825 complaints with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (which has been running Philadelphia schools for the past 13 years) in a campaign organized by Parents United. The complaints detailed serious threats to student health and safety, over-crowding, missing textbooks, and a lack of critical services causing direct harm to kids. Yet the state did not investigate a single complaint and now parents are forced to sue to hold decision makers accountable for conditions in the schools.

Last week Post-Gazette columnist Brian O’Neill wrote a great article about Pittsburgh Manchester K-8, two years after our “Manchester Miracle” at that school. Despite thousands of new books donated by the community and a gorgeous new library space – and despite amazing volunteers such as Mr. Wallace Sapp and Mr. Joseph Kennedy featured in the article – Manchester still only has a librarian once a week and some of the starkest disparities in the city. [Post-Gazette, 9-11-14] My own middle school children do not have library at all! That’s right: at a school with one of the largest “achievement gaps” in Pittsburgh, not one middle school student has access to a single library book.

Dearest legislators, our kids need more library books in their lives, not guns. This crazy bill you will be talking about disrespects our children who face an epidemic of gun violence in their lives. (You might recall the piece I wrote last year after one particularly grueling week in which three different children at our school lost family members to gun violence). So, Senator White, if you and your colleagues are serious about protecting our children in their schools, you could start by funding them – adequately, equitably, predictably, and sustainably. You can even leave your sunglasses on, if it makes you feel better.