Reflection by Noah Hopewell

(Kenneth, Noah, anonymous, Olivia)

My name is Noah Hopewell and I am a high school senior graduating 2017 and attending college at the end of this year. I am currently interning at “Massachusetts Jobs with Justice” with which I attended the Rally for Public Education this past weekend.

Massachusetts has some of the highest rated public schools across the nation, and they were being threatened. The Rally was meant to protest against and raise awareness for the potential privatization of Massachusetts schools, to spread the message of, “less testing, more learning” and fully-funded- or at least affordable- education.  This was in fact what I witnessed, hundreds of people all with their own posters, apparel, flyers, and the like, all containing messages promoting public education in some form; however, this was not all that I noticed at the rally. People were tired. Tired of not being listened to, tired of being mistreated, tired of being underestimated. These people were not only protesting for their children, siblings, and friends, but for themselves. Everyone in attendance knew that fixing our public education was only the first item on a long checklist of problems in America, and it was unlike anything I had ever seen.

I had attended the BPS Walkout of 2016 but other than that, this was my first rally. The rally differed from the walkout in that the walkout was unkempt and unorganized, and towards the end a fist-fight broke out between two students. This made the students in attendance feel that their presence and protesting was all for not, as no one would take them seriously if they couldn’t keep up public appearances. In the span of a year, America’s political climate was flipped on it’s head, and that showed through the raw and unadulterated passion I heard as speakers at the rally got on stage to deliver a message of unity, as attendees cheered in approval, and even onlookers joined the cause. One speech in particular noted that this was only the beginning, and we had a lot more to fight for: inclusiveness, equality, and much more. The people who attended the Rally for Public Education on May 20th and those like them around America have given me a newfound hope for change.