May 25, 2010
Today’s Jammin' for Justice Special Recognition recipients are El Centro and Odyssey students.
This year, we’re pleased to present special recognitions to Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Program (REEP) students at El Centro de Cardenal GED Program and Odyssey High School.
Both classes completed REEP's environmental justice curriculum in the fall, learning about systems of oppression, asthma and air quality, climate change and transportation issues. Each group chose an action project based on principles of environmental justice and community involvement.
El Centro students conducted a poll of 40 family and community members to determine an environmental justice focus and discrimination against undocumented immigrants emerged as a major issue.
Since then, students have organized a contingent from school to march for immigrant rights on May Day, conducted a call-in campaign to support the Boston City Council resolution to boycott Arizona (which passed) and lobbied to pass the Commonwealth's In-State Tuition Bill and federal Dream Act.
Since February El Centro students have worked passionately to bring an end to the racism, harassment and disenfranchisement inflicted on lower income immigrant communities. With polls showing that a majority of Americans support Arizona's new anti-immigrant law, we applaud El Centro students for taking a stand and helping to lead the way for human rights and environmental justice for all.
Odyssey students embarked on a campaign to end youth violence after a poll of 180 classmates identified it as the number one issue affecting teens.
Two main goals were to improve the way the school handles incidents of violence and to support state-wide work to increase city, state, and federal funding for youth jobs as a primary method for preventing violence.
Students held several meetings with the headmaster, securing commitments for better teacher training and a new peer mediation program.
To push for youth jobs, Odyssey students marched to the State House, along with 1,000 other teens, and asked legislators to restore funding cuts. Later, students met with Senator Jack Hart, convincing him to write a budget amendment to restore $4 million for youth summer jobs. At school, students created and ran a lemonade stand, giving out free lemonade in exchange for signing postcards to Senator Scott Brown asking him to vote for youth jobs funding. The dedication and creativity of Odyssey students working to end the violence crisis has made significant gains in improving the health and safety of our communities.
Thank you El Centro and Odyssey students for your amazing and inspiring work!