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Monday, December 13, 2010

Schools vs. Condos; No Soup for Gainesville; Huckabee's Uganda Connection



Change.org Weekly December 07 - December 13
TOP ACTIONS THIS WEEK

by CREDO Action

by Drug Policy Alliance

by Easter Seals
THIS WEEK on CHANGE.ORG

Schools vs. Condos

Dear Dwijendra,
The kids at Bruce-Monroe at Parkview, an elementary school in Washington D.C., go home with nosebleeds and coughs, sick from the poorly ventilated rooms.

Teachers told our Education Editor, Carol Scott, that they leave windows open in the dead of winter so that the decrepit furnaces don't heat the rooms to unhealthy levels -- and so that the smell of dead mice can escape. Drug users shoot up in the park around the corner.

A safer place for these students to learn is possible -- but they need our help to fight for it.

Three years ago, D.C.'s school district and city council promised these children a brand-new school. They demolished their old school building and shuttled them to this 95-year-old "substitute" school, which they were told was only temporary.

But this October, parents found out that the city leaders who promised a new school are instead entertaining plans for pricey retail and housing -- including plans for luxury townhouses and a high-end market.

It's the same story around the country: cities from Minneapolis to Houston are selling off public school sites to make a quick buck, while ignoring the needs of the community. In some places, developers just name the condos after the schools they're replacing.

But the parents of Bruce-Monroe aren't standing for it. They've organized, and together are speaking up for their kids. They continue to lobby their city council members and demand that the promise to their children be kept. But instead of being held up as a model of engaged, involved parents, they keep getting the runaround by officials who hope they'll just give up.

These parents have created a petition on Change.org, and asked for our help.  They believe that with enough pressure and attention city leaders can be convinced to keep the promise they made three years ago.

We can make this happen—and send a signal to cities across the country that parents won’t stand for their schools being treated as real estate for the highest bidder. Tell D.C. Mayor-Elect Vince Gray and Ward 1 Council Member Jim Graham to build a new school for the children of Bruce-Monroe.

If you're facing a similar issue in your neighborhood, mobilize your community by starting an online petition on Change.org, and let us know at educationtips@change.org so we can help.
For more news and opportunities for action from this week in change, see the summaries from your favorite causes below.
No Soup for Gainesville in POVERTY IN AMERICA
After Gainesville, Florida city commissioners ruled that a local soup kitchen could only serve 130 meals a day, 8-year-old Mackenzie Case decided to ask her political leaders a dire question: "If I was No. 131, you wouldn't feed me?" Talk about a ruthless reality, where officials in Gainesville are turning away hungry people based on an arbitrary number, all because they don't want homeless people milling about a certain area of town.  Read more »
Most of us know Mike Huckabee as the folksy former governor of Arkansas who ran for President in 2008, and looks likely to run for the office again in 2012. Here’s something you might not have known about Huckabee: one of his close friends, Rev. Lou Engle, has joined with anti-gay legislators in Uganda to call for the passage of a law that would execute gay people or sentence them to life in prison. Yet Huckabee still continues to refer to Rev. Engle as "righteous." Read more »
Sensible Drug Policy in CRIMINAL JUSTICE
When students at Northern Illinois University tried to form a chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), the student government refused to allow the group to meet on campus. After more than 230 Change.org members signed SSDP's petition demanding the school president intervene, the university administration overrode the decision, granting the group the right to organize and advocate. Read more »
You can't call the Harrison County Dog Pound in Cadiz, Ohio a "shelter." For one thing, it doesn't have exterior walls. In the freezing weather, they can't use water to clean the cages, and the dogs suffer from frostbite. Thanks to local activists, a sanctuary in California, and Alyssa Milano, ten dogs were rescued from the appalling conditions, but officials think the facility is fine and continue to take animals in. Read more »
For transplant patients in Arizona, warnings about death panels and health care rationing have come true, but they have nothing to do with health care reform. Instead, the Republican Governor, Jan Brewer, and her allies are standing in the way of patient care, declining requests to reinstate funding for a life-saving program. Read more »
Have a great week,

– The Change.org Team



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