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UTLA rallies against privatization on day 2 of teachers strike

By Sol Márquez

UTLA strikers rally against school privatization.

Los Angeles, CA – Arriving at 4:30 a.m. to confront scabs, a large crowd of teachers, parents, students and allies showed up for the picket lines at Breed Street Elementary, January 15, day two of the UTLA teachers strike. Rain and wind did not stop the passionate and determined teachers. The day focused on the fight against privatizing education

Members of Centro CSO and Freedom Road Socialist Organization showed up at Breed Street Elementary, where a campaign has been waged against a mega KIPP Promesa Charter school in Boyle Heights. Teachers at Breed Street Elementary, like Carlos Cerdan, a teacher with 18 years of experience, have also been fighting against the colocation by Extera Charter at Breed Street Elementary.

“I'm proud to have been teaching at Breed Street Elementary for all these years,” says Cerdan. “But charters make our fight as public school teachers even more difficult. We're colocated here but if KIPP Promesa Charter moves in next door, we'll be even more in danger.”

Chanting, “I don't know but I've been told! Privatizers run the board!” and “When I say ‘Trump’ you say ‘charters!’”

Over 400,000 students have not attended school during the UTLA led strike and some 30,000 teachers and support staff have gone on strike. On the first day of the strike an estimated 27,000 teachers went on strike. Day two has reported a large growth, and even more are expected to participate in the UTLA strike.

A mass rally comprised of a sea of red shirts in downtown took place around 10:30 a.m. The massive UTLA group gathered for a protest at the offices of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). CCSA has funded pro-charter candidates in LAUSD and state-wide elections. The rally included Eloisa Galindo, mother of Marianna Avenue Elementary school students. Galindo denounced the proliferation of charter schools in East LA and said it was the rich attacking public education with the goal of privatization.

Teachers and UTLA leaders like Gloria Martinez and Alex Caputo-Pearl spoke to the energized masses. Centro CSO youth members hung a large banner over the wall of a five-story parking lot building. The crowd responded with cheers to the slogan, “Support public education! No privatization! No mega KIPP charter school in Boyle Heights!”

The enormous rally ended with a performance by the Chicano band Ozomatli.

Next up for UTLA are plans to continue the daily picketing, regional actions and ending each school day with another picketing.

Longtime Chicano activist and member of Centro CSO Carlos Montes says, “We support UTLA in this strike, especially the demand to control and regulate the spread of charter schools at LAUSD. We only need to look at New Orleans and Puerto Rico after hurricanes.”

The fight in Boyle Heights will continue against KIPP Promesa Charter school. All are encouraged to join the UTLA picket line on day three and to also join the fights against gentrification and privatization of education. Join Centro CSO. You may also donate to the lawsuit against the giant KIPP Promesa Charter here:

Anti privatization Centro CSO banner at UTLA rally.

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