This letter contains an apology and an invitation to further discussion. Since convening a cross-sectoral planning meeting in Berkeley on December 10, we've received a fair amount of feedback, much of it negative, from organizers in southern California about how this meeting took shape. There is a sense shared by many that this meeting was rushed, that we failed to meaningfully consult organizers outside our region, and that we sometimes engaged in a slippage between “Northern” and “Statewide” that's been all too common in the last few years of public education protest. By deciding on a day of action without consulting people from other regions, we've acted in some ways undemocratically, imposing on others a protest schedule that may not work as well for them as it hopefully will for us.
We're sorry to have moved forward without adequately working with those who have an equal stake in this movement, and we're committed to doing what we can to make this movement truly statewide and democratic.
In order to begin addressing these problems, and to work together in a more meaningful and horizontal way, we think it makes sense to first hold a conference call in the next couple of weeks, where organizers from southern California who are interested in this conversation can convey directly to us how they'd like organizing and coordination, statewide or otherwise, to happen in the coming months.
If you are interested in joining this call, please fill out the poll at the following location
Following this call, hopefully we will all have a better sense of possible next steps, whether this might include forming a more representative coordinating committee, building for a cross-sectoral planning meeting in southern California, and/or considering upcoming meetings in Riverside and Santa Barbara as places where the near future of organizing in So-Cal and statewide will begin to be determined. Through this, ideally we'll be able to find ways to collaborate over the coming months, even if our schedules of protest end up being not wholly identical.
We know that organizing in a way that respects all who have a stake in the defense of public education is the only way we'll be successful, and are committed to acting according to this principle.
Elizabeth De Martelly