The Lift Us Up book / People’s Think Tank fall 2018 tour came to an exciting conclusion with a final event at the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder, hosted by CU Engage Faculty Director and Professor Ben Kirshner and moderated by doctoral student Blanca Elena Trejo.
A packed audience of over 50 faculty, students and community folks came to hear the panel that included Mark Warren from the University of Massachusetts Boston and contributor Pam Martinez of Padres & Jovenes Unidos (P&JU). In her remarks, Pam stressed the important role that resource allies like researchers and legal advocates can play in supporting community organizing efforts, when they come to authentically partner and respect the leadership of parents and young people on the ground. The highly engaged audience asked many questions, including how Mark as a white male professor sought to partner with organizers in low-income communities of color, strategies that work to build the capacity for organizing in low-income communities and sustain the participation of parents, and the need to unite people across racial, generational and other lines. Pam stressed the importance of directly targeted racism against communities of color in order to ground educational justice organizing in an analysis that can lead to systemic change. Pam and Mark both discussed the ways that national alliances have supported local organizing and spread victories like those by P&JU to combat the school-to-prison pipeline across the country.