I am an immigrant living in America and fighting for what I know in my heart is right. The war in Iraq is a very sensitive and controversial subject among our people. It is not something many people enjoy discussing and prefer to keep their opinions hush hush. I say let's put it all out on table and see what the people have to say. Zero tolerance for silence. My name is Yonas Woldemichael and this is my story:
On November 16, 2007 there was a call to action by an organization known as YAWR (Youth Against War and Racism) for high school students in Washington to walkout during class to protest military recruiters in schools, as well as, the war in Iraq. Over a 1,000 students answered this call statewide, but it was in the little city of Tukwila where all the action took place. Approximately 125 to 150 students generated and lead a civil & peaceful protest near City Hall. One teacher joined the three hour protest for about 45 minutes before heading back to school. When all was said and done, administrators passed on discipling students, and began targeting teachers. The teacher that walked out with the students was put on paid administrative leave only to be reinstated a week later. That same week five other teachers were handed memos stating they were being investigated for their role in the student walkout. These teachers have been told that this situation cannot be discussed with staff or students.
On November 27, 2007 there was a Tukwila School Board meeting and approximately 100 students, parents, and community members came in support of the teachers being investigated. Many attendees spoke in support of the students and teachers. Never has the community of Tukwila come together like this before. A minor victory was achieved as the teacher that was on administrative leave was reinstated the next day. However, the investigations continue till this day.
The next Tukwila School Board meeting will take place on December 11, 2007. A Student Voice Committee will be in attendance as they express their thoughts and opinions to the Tukwila Superintendent. I will be part of that committee as I continue to make sure the voices of the youth are heard to the best of my abilities. It is I that filmed and created the video below entitled Student-Made Walkout Film and ended our peaceful protest in words of inspiration. Please, take the time to look at the links below and take notice of our cause. I'd rather my voice tremble when I speak than go unheard of.
Tukwila Teachers Defense Campaign on Free Speech Radio News
Student-made Walkout Film:
Footage on Foster Walkout, Tukwila Six and After School Board meeting:
http://www.kirotv.com/education/14714796/detail.html (click where it says "video")
NorthWest Cable News:
Seattle Times Article: "Protesting teacher back at Tukwila school" November 29th