NNPA Report - Al Sharpton will lead a march on Washington to protest inequality in education.
(May 5, 2009) - Activist Al Sharpton, leader of the National Action Network, has announced that he will lead a march at the White House Ellipse, Constitution Avenue and 15th Street on May 16.
The 10 a.m. gathering is in commemoration of the 55th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education decision, May 17, 1954. Sharpton describes the May 16 event as a new “call to action” in the wake of separate and unequal education that still remains. “Fifty-five years later our government still supports a broken and unequal system of public education; a system that fails to serve poor and minority children and condemns them to a lifetime of limited opportunities,” Sharpton said in a release.
Citing new federal education test results that shows a large racial achievement gap, Sharpton says he is calling upon “Americans of all races, backgrounds, ages and philosophies'' to join him for the march, which he hopes will bring attention to the inequality and formally kick off a campaign to close the gap.
NAN will assemble along with the UNCF, La Raza, and the Education Equality Project, which Rev. Sharpton helped found. According to a press statement, a diverse group of speakers will assemble, including civil rights leaders, mayors, elected officials and clergy. Also, former Speaker of The House Newt Gingrich and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is expected to attend. Sharpton says people from over 20 states and 35 cities have signed up to come to Washington on that day.
Sharpton says, “Fifty-five years ago, the King era civil rights movement began when Americans of all colors demanded that every child have equality of opportunity in education. On May 16, we will renew the urgency felt 55 years ago to save the future of our children and of our nation. We all must recognize that we have a crisis in education, and crises demand extraordinary action.