Newark Students Block Traffic to Take Back Their Schools

Our Newark
Photo via @seanick_

When it comes to creating traffic jams, NJ Gov. Chris Christie might want to take a lesson from the students of Newark. On Wednesday, over 150 young organizers with the Newark Students Union (NSU) shut down a major street in downtown Newark outside the school district headquarters – for 10 hours.

Chaining themselves together with their arms locked in PVC pipes (scroll down for photos!), the students held the line all afternoon, demanding to meet with state-appointed Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson about the contentious One Newark school reorganization plan. With food donations and online support rolling in, they seemed poised to keep the protest going indefinitely, but ended it after a police officer, trying to forcibly break up the protest, injured NSU president Kristin Towkaniuk's arm.

The student-organized protest was part of a larger continuing fight from the Newark community over control of their schools. The state has run the show in Newark since 1991, and last winter Anderson introduced the One Newark "reform" plan that would close or privatize a number of the city's schools.

However, as state official continue pushing One Newark, the city's students and community are uniting to take back their district, demanding local control of the schools and rallying online support with the hashtag #OurNewark.

The student barricade was one of the more impressive actions to date, which goes to show that the movement for education justice is about students and for students, but is also, importantly, a movement of students. Their parents and their teachers play important roles, but it's the passionate students fighting for their education and their future who steal the show every time.

Click here for a list of upcoming protest events in Newark. And check out some photos from Wednesday's protest below:

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