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Teachers are often accused of “politicizing” their jobs, but sometimes, the politics find them, and educators find themselves on the frontlines of heated social issues. Teachers in the Durham, North Carolina public school system are facing that dilemma as they rally to protect one of their students from deportation. Wildin Acosta, a high school student who recently migrated from Honduras, was arrested in a federal immigration sweep in January and has been detained in Georgia for weeks. Teachers have worked with Wildin’s family and local advocates to demand his release. We talked to educators and activists in Durham to see how the country’s immigration battles are affecting school communities—and learn how teachers and grassroots activists are mobilizing to demand humanitarian protections for refugee families and fight harsh immigration enforcement policies.
In other news, we look at the challenges facing two grassroots organizing initiatives in New York City’s low-wage economy, B&H and Hot & Crusty; the dirty side of the country’s “white collar” guestworker program, with Daniel Costa of Economic Policy Institute; and a new union contract for the digital media enterprise Gawker. With recommended reading on reparations, socialism and the 2016 campaign, and teachers defending democracy in Detroit.
B&H Electronics Store Sued for Discrimination of Hispanic Workers (New York Times)
Michelle: Is Gawker’s Unionization a Sign That Creative Workers Are Finally Realizing Their Worth? (The Nation)
Sarah: ‘You’re Fired!’ The Abuses of ‘Skilled’ Worker Visa Programs (The Progressive)
John Davis and Alice Dominguez, Durham Public Schools teachers
Elisa Benitez, Alerta Migratoria
Michelle: Kept Out of School For Being Undocumented (The Nation)
Teachers of Durham student facing deportation send him homework (The News & Observer)
Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!
Sarah: Mario Vasquez, Teachers Who Staged ‘Sick-outs’ Declare Victory Against Detroit Schools’ Unelected Emergency Manager (In These Times)
Michelle: Brian Jones, The Socialist Case for Reparations (Jacobin)