Fighting Poverty with Passion
The Center for Restorative Approaches and AmeriCorps VISTA both have been such an eye opening experience. Being surrounded by passionate individuals who are fighting for social justice has made me more alert to current events and more conscious about involving myself in local events that sponsor social movements and justice. I feel like I have finally stepped out of the Tulane University College Bubble and into a role of a young activist.
The Center for Restorative Approaches works to reduce suspension rates in New Orleans public schools. After looking at the suspension rates for the 2013-2014 school year and noticing some as high as 62%, it is clear that there is still quite a bit of work to be done within the parish. However, I just published some data on our website thecra.net (check it out) and we have now received 840 cases of which over 500 have convened and we have saved over 1000 hours of instructional time in the classrooms.
With the recent events taking place in South Carolina, now is the time for the CRA to promote their work and improve outreach and communications, which is one of my personal goals for the organization. We have been receiving an influx of inquiries about the work the CRA does, partly because Tom Zolot the former VISTA spoke at a conference on the behalf of the CRA but also because violence and suspensions in schools is now in the spotlight.
With all of the current events happening worldwide I have made a goal for myself to attend lectures on Tulane’s campus once a month regarding some social justice movement. The other week I attended a lecture with the ED of WWAV on the ethics of Reproductive Justice, where Julia another VISTA is placed. Similarly, the LCCR is hosting a photo exhibit documenting children in prisons across the US, which the CRA co-sponsored along with other organizations. Such events happening locally and often free of charge have also inspired me to read more books about social justice such as I am Malala (Which I highly recommend for anyone interested in Women’s Rights and Education) and the New Jim Crow. With that being said I hope that everyone joins a movement they are passionate about and potentially volunteer for advocating for a local non-profit or organization that is involved in that movement.