Kitsap students demand equity from schools

Students Direct Equity is a Kitsap ERACE Coalition campaign to make sure equity plans, programs and staff of local school districts are accountable to students and to community-based equity efforts.

The campaign brings together students from across Kitsap County, including those from various groups and organizations —such as Kitsap Black Student Union, Living Life Leadership, Kitsap Advocating for Immigrant Rights & Equality and others. We connect, collaborate and speak truth to those in power in our schools.

Throughout this summer, we have been speaking out in the community. You may have seen us take the stage at events like Juneteenth Freedom Festival and Kitsap Pride. We are students from the Students Direct Equity campaign, and this is our letter to leaders of our local school districts — to school boards, to superintendents and to administrators.

We are here to say that we, too, are leaders.

We know the inequities in our schools. We live with them daily.

We have already been telling you about these issues … and so have many students who came before us … And so have many teachers, school staff and student advocates.

It is time for you to show up powerfully to guard the role of public education in a multiracial democracy.

It is time for you to speak truth when you are confronted with lies, manipulation and bigotry.

It is time for you to say “No” to homophobic and transphobic demands to remove books, posters and other inclusive elements from our schools.

It is time for you to publicly have the backs of the teachers and school staff who advocate for equity, inclusion, and truth-telling about colonialism and racism.

It is time for you to heed students’ calls for meaningful action. Do not hear our words, just to thank us for them, to tell us to put them into a college application letter, and to then move on without making change.

Listen. Show up. Be leaders who empower and protect public education, so that we students cannot just survive but thrive. We are here to speak our truth and to hold school district leadership accountable.

#StudentsDirectEquity campaign.