The Powerful Parent Network, a coalition of parents of color from across the country who advocate for self-determination and quality options in education, spent their Martin Luther King Jr. Day making their voices heard with a trip to the 2020 Brown & Black Democratic Presidential Forum.

The event, one of the last opportunities for democratic candidates to make their case for the democratic nomination ahead of the critically important Iowa caucus, was described as “the nation’s oldest and only nonpartisan presidential forum dedicated exclusively to addressing issues facing communities of color.”

What better place and time then, for black and brown parent leaders to show up and demand a seat at the table, just as they having been doing throughout this democratic nomination process.

This is the same group that successfully fund-raised a trip via GoFundMe to an Elizabeth Warren Rally in Atlanta, eventually securing a meeting with the presidential candidate.

They didn’t stop there. They followed up their action at the Warren rally with a trip to the so-called “Public Education Forum” for democratic candidates. Which saw an all white lineup of potential nominees pledge allegiance to teachers unions in front of a mostly white audience, while the Powerful Parent Network, made up mostly of parents and grandparents of color was locked out. Undeterred, they set up camp down the block, inviting the candidates to come answer their questions after. Michael Bennet was the only one to take them up on their offer.

Unfortunately, as has become commonplace, there seems to have been a lack of substantive answers to the questions these parents are raising. Primarily around the rights of parents of color to choose a school that works best for them rather than having the quality of education their child receives be tied to a zip code.

Its clear these parents will not be deterred by attacks from those who want nothing more to belittle the work they do on behalf of their own families and children, and will continue to push the issue until they receive some real answers and plans from individuals who could very well be the next president of the United States.

Josh Stewart considers himself a global citizen first and foremost and is passionate about cultural exchange. He has a B.s. in Political Science and Hispanic Studies from St. John's University in Minnesota and experience as both an ESL and social studies teacher in Korea and the Philippines. He currently works a digital content Manager for Citizen Education and Education Post and enjoys both traditional and creative methods crafting messages around the desperate need to improve our education system and provide quality options to the most marginalized students and families.


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