Two rallies this morning, both organized by the Alliance for a Just Society, will issue powerful calls for more government investment in education – not incarceration.
At least 300 community leaders, and activists at each gathering will call for freedom from crushing student loan debt, and freedom from jailing children.
The rallies are part of the Alliance’s Power from the Roots Up conference being held this week on the University of Washington campus. Organizers, grassroots activists, and small business owners from 14 states are attending the conference.
Nationwide Seattle is often seen as ground zero in the movement to combat income inequality and to build power through grassroots activism.
The first rally today will be held from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. at the Federal Building, Second Avenue and Marion Street, to demand that the Department of Education, Sallie Mae and corporate bankers stop profiting off the backs of college students.
Speakers will talk about their student loan debt, the crowd will help “grade” the Department of Education on a giant report card, then several participants will deliver petitions to the DOE office in the Federal Building.
“As an educator, what I see my students experiencing is extremely troubling,” said Louisa Edgerly, an adjunct instructor at Seattle University, and one of the speakers at the rally.
“Schoolwork is suffering because of the long hours and multiple jobs students are working to afford college,” she said. “I’m concerned about the potential narrowing of career options due to their debt load upon graduation, and the urgency to take any job so they can make their payments.”
The second event Friday, calling on the King County Council to scrap plans for a $210 million juvenile detention center, starts at 11 a.m. outside the King County Courthouse, 516 Third Avenue. Experts say community-based restorative justice programs have much higher success rates than simply jailing children.
“Young people today need more positive people in our ears reminding us what to do and what not to do. I feel like there should just be more mothering and fathering and mentoring instead of a new youth jail,” said Rashaud Johnson, with EPIC – End the Prison Industrial Complex – one of the organizations participating in the rally.