Supported by Wayside organizers and interns, Huguenot High School students and families made their voices heard when they demanded an end to discrimination, threats, racial profiling and inadequate interpretation services. Over 70 gathered outside the school in protest after a meeting with the principal and other school officials did not generate any concrete action plans. The event was attended by three school board members, the head of the local NAACP, the Defenders and other community organizations and covered by a number of local media outlets (see below). A diverse crowd presented a message of unity and support for latin@ students and families in their struggle. A number of students were very moved by this show of support and came out to a protest organized by the Defenders to show support for efforts to defend African-American history at the protest against construction of a stadium near the sacred African burial ground in Shockoe Bottom.
A few days after the protest, community outreach worker Dustin King was fired from his position as an outside contractor with Richmond Public Schools. Dustin had been publicly outspoken in his support of the students and families in their demands.
Jonathan Villatoro, who graduated from Huguenot this year and has been an organizer of the protests had this to say about the firing, “This is not only an attack on Dustin, but an attack on our communities and an attempt to silence our voices as well. We intend to let them know that it’s not going to work!” Jonathan and his sister Zulma, another organizer are interviewed in this video which also features footage of the protest. (Dustin is in the far right of the thumbnail)
Students and families are gathering signatures on a statement of support for King which they will present to the school board after which they will reiterate their demands and their resolve to continue in the struggle until they are met.
Please gather at 5 pm July 15th on the sidewalk in front of Richmond City Hall at 9th and Broad to show support and solidarity for the students and families in their struggles.
Remember that messaging is very sensitive in this struggle and that all signs will be provided by students and families.