NEW BRITAIN – The New Britain Racial Justice Coalition is launching a new campaign this evening with a rally to demand more funding for education.
At 5:30 p.m. in Central Park, the campaign will start with a rally asking for more education funding and better treatment of non-white students and staff. The coalition is a community organization based in New Britain and their mission is to empower people in the area and challenge racism through political education, coalition-building, electoral engagement, policy advocacy, mutual aid and direct action.
The campaign, called #FundTheFuture, hopes to spotlight how New Britain schools have been historically underfunded for years. According to the coalition, the city consistently ranks second-to-last in per student spending while city government continues to underfund students. They said school administrators also fail to directly challenge institutional racism in the public school system and marginalized staff and students are forced to endure this reality.
The coalition said under Mayor Erin Stewart’s leadership, the city has repeatedly frozen the amount of money the city allocates locally to its school operations, “as her budget does this year, despite millions of dollars in increases in funding for City Hall departments.”
The inspiration to start the campaign came from the voices of New Britain High School alumni, families, community members, and Luis Delgado, a district family school liaison, who has been fighting for meaningful change in the school system. The coalition said he has been fighting to strengthen support services and foster representation in the school system.
“As a result the school district professionally disciplined him, claiming his advocacy was unprofessional,” the coalition said.
The rally and ongoing advocacy efforts will focus on several key points, including creating two new assistant superintendent position, with one who is a non-white Latinx Spanish speaker and one who is Black; hiring a Spanish-speaking assistant to the district’s director of community engagement; hiring two full-time, Spanish-speaking interpreters and one full-time, Arabic-speaking interpreter for New Britain High School; creating a safe space for people of color to communicate without fear of backlash or reprisal; and expunge any disciplinary reports in Delgado’s personnel file related to this advocacy for New Britain students and teachers of color.
The rally will serve as a kickoff to the campaign and residents are encouraged to reach out to the coalition to provide more input.
Strict social distancing and facemasks are required.