DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – Over two thousand students from Civitas School of Leadership, Edward Roybal Learning Center, School Of Visual Arts and Humanities, Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, and Belmont High Schools walked out in protest this morning, after confirming that over 8,000 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District received pink slips over the weekend.
Gabnet Youth from Civitas High School led students by teaching them how to peacefully walk out, avoid arrest, and deliver messages to the media. Gabnet Youth is a unit of the Los Angeles chapter of Gabriela Network, a US-Philippine women’s organization with chapters across the country.
The young girls created talking points and led the Civitas and Roybal high school students on a march to pick up the Miguel Contreras and Belmont High School students before converging on the Los Angeles District Office downtown.
“We marched to let people know that it’s not okay to cut our teachers; we need to protect our education because laying off teachers hurts us too,” explained Gabnet Youth leader Cassandra Roman.
The youth rallied in front of the district office until LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines came down to address them. Ivania Zepeda, Gabnet Youth from the 16 Days of Activism campaign, was the spokeswoman of the rally. She told Superintendent Cortines the students would continue to walk-out until the threat of massive lay-offs was lifted.
Gabnet Youth, who has been meeting weekly over issues ranging from domestic violence, to trafficking, to educational justice since 2008, has committed to continuing the campaign to retain teachers and empower young girls in the Pico-Union, Echo Park, West Lake, MacArthur Park, and Downtown Los Angeles areas.