Winning Change for Eastside Schools
In 2002, InnerCity Struggle youth leaders started a campaign to improve school conditions at Garfield High School.
They started by surveying over 1,200 students at Garfield. Overwhelming, students identified the main problem to be overcrowding.
After learning that the process for identifying a site had dragged on for over 5 years and that East LA could possibly lose matching state funds for the building of the new high school, InnerCity Struggle decided to press the issue in a very public way.
InnerCity Struggle organized hundreds of parents, youth and residents to get involved in a petition drive. They educated the community, parents and students about the high drop-out rates and low college going rates at Garfield demonstrating the need for the new school. Within two months InnerCity Struggle youth and parent leaders collected over 5,000 signatures in support of the construction of a new high school.
After many delegations to School Board Members and district officials, in June of 2004, over
400 students, parents, teachers and community members marched to LAUSD demanding that they approve the construction of this long overdue new school. Not only was a new high school approved, InnerCity Struggle ensured that the plan included a new elementary school. We were so proud to learn that this victory fulfilled one of the original demands of the 1968 student movement. The elementary school, named after William R. Anton, a well-respected East LA education leader opened this September. The new high school will open in September 2010 and will allow for Garfield to return to a traditional school schedule.
This new campus represents the East LA community's spirit to stand up and let their voices be heard. The parent and youth leaders understood that East LA students could no longer afford to pay the price of overcrowded classrooms- that this community could no longer afford to be ill prepared for the demands of a 21st century workforce.
The new school is named after a local hero: Esteban E. Torres, a former community organizer, founder of TELACU and former Congressman that represented East Los Angeles.
"I fought for the new school to make a change for future students because one year I was forced to sit on the edge of a science laboratory counter because there were just not enough desks for all the 63 students in my physiology class."
- Maria Salcedo, former youth member, Garfield and UCLA Alumnus
Featured Film: Estudiantes Unidos!