March 3, 2019
Dear Student Leaders of All City Council Student Union, Youth Together, California For Justice, Oakland Kids First, AYPAL, REAL HARD, and Pacific Islander Network,
Thank you for standing with Oakland Educators in this fight for the schools Oakland students deserve. As a classroom teacher, I have learned many important lessons from you. I have learned lessons of humility, resilience, and courage from you during the strike. I am forever grateful for your support through your organizing, solidarity schools, and holding the lines with us.
Students, you have a strong voice. That voice must be honored and respected. This is your struggle and your voice must always be at the center. I take responsibility for the lack of communication that occurred Friday with student stakeholders. Strikes are intense political actions and things move at rapid pace. I could have done a better of bringing students and educators together on Friday so we had one collective voice. It is important that you had a protected space on Friday to amplify your voice.
I would like to invite you to a meeting this week. I want to listen and learn. I hope that we can repair trust and move forward together and build a foundation to improve education for Oakland students. We won’t let our contract be funded on the backs of Restorative Justice and other critical programs for our students. OUSD knows we are powerful together, and OEA is committed to not letting us be divided. Because of our contract fight we won a commitment from Mayor Schaaf to provide city funds for RJ, and a commitment from the district that new funds will go toward RJ. We will fight for more funding for the resources that our students need to have the best education possible. We are strong together and we will organize and fight together to improve Oakland youths’ futures.
Love and solidarity,
Keith D. Brown, OEA President