On Wednesday December 14, 2016, New York Magazine
published their 12th annual edition of "Reasons to Love New York - Right now, more than ever."
LREI is honored to be mentioned, Reason No. 2: Because Even Our Protestors Are Precocious," which demonstrates LREI's mission of having students be active participants in our Democratic society. Our students are encouraged to engage with a world beyond the confines of the classroom, as illustrated in the cover article, "in the throes of citizen despair, (three students) decided something had to be done."
Progressive education is active. The desire to make meaningful change is essential to our mission, and we're proud to have that conveyed through this piece. Please enjoy the article, which can be found by clicking HERE or visiting: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/12/reasons-to-love-new-york-2016.html?mid=facebook_nymag
It’s a Sunday afternoon, and outside the Greenwich Village Stumptown, the dissidents have assembled. They have rosy cheeks and glossy hair, and four of the five are tenth-graders at Little Red School House
, a progressive private school where, in the throes of citizen despair during a first-period class on 3-D art (“It’s like sculpture therapy”), Claire Greenburger, Leilani Sardinha, and Loulou Viemeister had decided that something had to be done. It was the Thursday after Trump had been elected. “I saw all of my teachers cry,” says Claire. The three girls reached out to friends Jane Brooks and Bennett Wood (who goes to Calhoun but had met Loulou at a “social-justice camp” in Vermont), and by Friday they had created a Facebook page titled “NYC School Walkout Love Trumps Hate,” calling for kids to walk out
of class and storm Trump Tower at 10:30 a.m. the following Tuesday. “We thought there would be a couple hundred kids,” says Jane. Then Occupy Wall Street linked to the page. Suddenly, thousands of people were “interested.” “We were like, Oh my God, what is happening?
” says Claire. “By Monday, everyone was talking about it.”
That included the school administration, which insisted the protesters get their parents’ permission. “My dad told the vice-principal, ‘She doesn’t need my permission. This is civil disobedience!’ ” says Loulou. “He was like, ‘I’ll pick you up from jail tomorrow.’ ”
“My dad handed me a lawyer’s phone number,” adds Jane.
Despite the fact that it was raining and frigid, the protest pen near Trump Tower was filling up by the time the organizers arrived. “Bennett and I ran into the street and were like, ‘Okay, everyone, into Fifth Avenue,’ ” Loulou explains. “The police didn’t really know what to do,” Claire says, grinning. Leilani agrees. “It was completely illegal.” The NYPD started guiding traffic away as the throng marched all the way to Washington Square Park. Says Claire, “It went better than we could have ever imagined.”
Not that the protest was perfect. “In the events that we’re planning in the future, more diversity would be cool,” says Jane, aware of the irony of the walkout’s being planned mostly by a crew of privileged kids. Nor do they harbor illusions of what a protest can accomplish. “We’re not going to change the fact that Trump is president.” But they take heart in the fact that among millennials, Hillary Clinton won by a landslide. “Watch yourself, Trump,” Jane says. “Because we’re voting next.” —Alex Morris