Dear members of the Social Justice Education Fair community,
The 2018 Twin Cities Social Justice Education Fair planning crew, made up of high school and college students, educators, and many others committed to transformative education have been hard at work over the last several months, preparing for this year’s Fair. The Fair was scheduled to be held Thursday, October 18, 2018 at Johnson High School in Saint Paul. On Thursday September 20, members of the SJEF organizing committee received word that the principal of Johnson High School was withdrawing support because of the Fair’s theme: “We Are Fed Up! Bite the Hands that Feed US: Resisting the Menu of Schooling.”
We read the principal’s decision as punishment for our commitment to a radical theme and politic. Despite withdrawing support, the school principal made clear that we would still be able to use the space, if we agreed to pay a fee of approximately $700. The message is clear: this principal is more invested in promoting educational opportunists than educational opportunities. The message is not only clear, but also underscores the importance of this year’s theme. We are being fed some bonafide bs. Because none of us eat $#!t, we have no other choice but to fight back and bite back by continuing with the work, searching for a new and supportive venue to organize for radical social justice in education. Because the ed fair is comprised of students, activists, organizers, educators, parents, staff and a host of badass and radass people, we have all that we need to do both within this amazing community.
We are grateful to already have the support of co-sponsors including: Minneapolis and St Paul Federation of Teachers, the U of M’s Dept of Curriculum and Instruction, the U of of M’s CEHD Diversity and Equity, Carleton College Education Department, and Metro State Education Department. We’re sure the principal didn’t expect us to turn disaster into an organizing tool, but that’s what activists do. So we’re reaching out to each one of you for help. As dedicated as many of us are as volunteer Fair organizers, we can’t do this alone. This is your opportunity to make a contribution to the Fair, unlike any other you’ve made before – using your skills as organizers, activists, and overall badasses.
What we are doing: At this point, we are looking into other accommodations for the fair with the support of members of SJEM who have connections in schools. Because we are expecting 500+ attendees for the Fair, we are seeking a space with an auditorium and at least 15-20 classrooms for workshops. Please let us know if you know of any opportunities for alternative Fair spaces. You are also welcome to join us for our next planning meeting this Wednesday, September 26 at 6 PM in 1114 Social Sciences Building located on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota. Please contribute with suggestions, questions, information, words of support, or anything else you think we should hear. Plug in how you can. Please also be patient with our response as we are juggling many responsibilities, commitments and actual jobs beyond the Fair.
Members of 2018 Social Justice Education Fair coordinating crew