The Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J) has launched its Quality of Life Agenda initiative as part of its Equity or Else campaign. Here’s what makes it so important.
J4J, a coalition of organizations across more than 30 cities, has its roots in education justice, but in recent years has begun to articulate a vision that encompasses not just the classroom and schoolhouse, but the entire social community our children and parents live within. This is a framework echoed in Schott’s Loving Cities Index, which examines community-wide factors that impact student opportunity and achievement. This initiative could be a pivotal for the education justice movement in a moment when federal resources are available to kickstart such an ambitious agenda.
J4J, along with the Center for Popular Democracy, National Alliance Against Racist and Police Repression, Network for Public Education, Alliance for Education Justice, Black Lives Matter at School Week and community-based organizations, labor unions, parents and students across the country held a national virtual rally to help organize and mobilize their cities.
As J4J National Organizer Ronsha Dickerson put it, “Today we are building our quality of life platform that will give space and representation to BIPOC communities across the country. Today we show our resilience as people that call for justice to eradicate the unjust racism that plagues America. Today we show our people power. We de-silo the ground and we unite around: education, healthcare, economics, environment, safety, youth voice, housing, food production, and so much much more.”
And J4J has shown that this broader vision works in practice: earlier this year they succeeded in organizing to stop the closure of Mercy Hospital in Chicago, which if closed would have devastated access to healthcare for the Black neighborhoods surrounding it.
The launch event featured J4J members and allies from across the country, including Rep. Jamaal Bowman.
J4J is organizing listening projects in at least 50 cities. From those listening projects, regional town halls were convened and built regional Quality of Life platforms, which culminated in a May 2022 J4J conference that finalized a national Quality of Life platform. And more than just a document, the platform is a tool and a rallying cry, with mass mobilization starting September 2022.
Schott provided Journey For Justice’s very first grant in 2013, and our support continues today.