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PSU Member Speaks at May Day Rally

This past May Day, PSU member, Adam Mitchell, spoke at a rally at Elmwood park in Philadelphia. He delivered this speech, along side Philadelphia Federation of Teachers member, Evette. This is the speech he gave to the crowd:

Hi, my name is Adam Mitchell and I’m a senior at West Philly High. I am a student leader with the Philadelphia Student Union. Philadelphia Student Union, or PSU, is a youth-led organization. Which means there are students from public schools all over Philly. We fight for student voice. So we the students are not over looked. We are the ones that are in school so we have to make the school good for us.

Today, we’re facing a crisis in education. Budget cuts are creating a lack of resources in school. Our schools don’t have updated books, school supplies, art and music, or all the classes we want and need.

hiram and adam

Hiram, PSU’s ED, and Adam before speaking to the crowd.

In our school, students are being pushed out due to the high number of suspensions for minor offenses. Take me for example, I was suspended from school for being in the hallway and then sitting in the library when I didn’t have a class at the time. Some students lack the support they need and end up dropping out. Our elected officials can find money to build more prisons and buy more metal detectors for our schools, but they can’t find money to give us the resources we need to graduate on time.

adam and evette

PSU member, Adam, and PFT member, Evette

As a result of our schools not being funded like they need to be, students are not prepared to pass the state exams. This causes the academic levels of our schools to drop and then gives the city a reason to close our school down. Closing schools down force students to move to schools further away from their homes causing parents to worry more about their children’s safety. It also means that school staff like teachers, janitors, cafeteria workers, nurses, and librarians will lose their jobs. These people are not just employees, but they’re parents too. If they lose their jobs, then they can’t pay their bill and take care of their families. Poor and working people will no longer be able to afford to live in Philadelphia, the city they’ve been born and raised in. This is not just happening in Philly, this is happening all over the U.S.

adam on stage

Adam and Evette on stage

But we don’t have to take this. Locally, people have been taking notice of what is happening and have started to fight back. PSU, along with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Youth United for Change, Action United and many others have come together to form PCAPS, the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools. So far we’ve held a bunch of rallies, we blocked Broad St., we’ve been organizing students , parents and workers, and we even had 19 of us arrested at the school district building on March 7th.

adam speaking

Adam speaking to the crowd

Nationally, PSU is part of the Journey for Justice. A coalition of 17 cities around the country that are fighting against school closings. We took park in an 11 city march to the national Department of Education where we called for a national moratorium on school closings.

They say that children are the future, but by them closing down our schools, they’re killing our future. They’re changing Philly into a city where only the rich people can live.

Are we going to let that happen? Or are we going to fight?

PSU, along with all of you students, parents, and workers in Philadelphia will keep fighting until we win the city and schools we all deserve.

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