Access to America's public school system has been considered a great equalizer for our country and a bedrock of the American Dream. With 45 percent of PPS students identifying as non-white, investment in Portland's public schools is critically important if we want to strive for social justice.
It is clear to social justice advocates that the future of the Rose City's communities of color is intrinsically tied to the health, safety, and success of our public education. That's why numerous community advocacy groups have endorsed the measure, including OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, NAYA Family Center, Latino Network, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Somali American Network of Oregon (SACOO) and Black Parent Initiative, Inc.
"Students of color often find themselves enrolled in public schools with infrastructure that is dated and in sore need of improvement," said Zahir Janmohamed, Policy Director for Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO).
"Passing this measure will give much needed rejuvenation to our schools and we’re excited to see major renovations in particular at Madison High School and Kellogg Middle School, which both serve students from our community" Janmohamed said.
Paul Lumley, Executive Director of NAYA Family Center had this to say: “NAYA understands the fundamental role that public education plays in supporting Native American Youth throughout Portland. This measure aligns with our values and supports the educational aims of our community."
Carmen Rubio, Executive Director of Latino Network, echoed these sentiments. "Now more than ever our public schools are vital community spaces and public schools are places where Portlanders access a range of vital community services," Rubio said. Latino Network has endorsed the measure.
"A YES vote on Measure 26-193 isn't just a vote for schools free of asbestos, radon and lead. It's a vote in support of our young people and their families who spend countless hours within the schools daily," Rubio added.
Removing neurotoxins and carcinogens from public schools is an environmental justice issue, said Huy Ong, Executive Director of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon. "Portland Public School students, 45 percent of whom are students of color, don't have access to clean and safe classrooms free of lead, asbestos, and radon. Together we can ensure PPS students have a chance for quality public education free from environmental health hazards."
In order to maintain robustness and strive for fairness, a city must provide excellent public education for every neighborhood. Portlanders, as a progressives championing working families, communities of color and recent immigrants, can affirm these values by passing Measure 26-193.
"As a progressive city, this is our moment to collectively affirm our commitment to our future - our children," said Charles McGee, CEO of the Black Parent Initiative.
"There’s no better way -- in this moment, to affirm our values than by voting YES on Measure 26-193 to building safe and healthy classrooms for every Portland student. Our children deserve no less," McGee said.
These organizations are joined by Portland Association of Teachers, Disability Rights Oregon and over 250 other local organizations and community leaders in endorsing a YES vote on Measure 26-193. Ballots are due May 16.
Portlanders for Safe and Healthy Schools and supporting partners also have provided endorsement quotes and supporting materials in six different languages on the campaign website.
The Portland Public School Bond is endorsed by more than 250 organizations, individuals, elected officials and community advocates. See our full list here.