One year ago today, the streets of Los Angeles filled with red rain ponchos and picket lines in front of more than 900 school sites as 33,000 United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) members went on strike for the schools L.A. students deserve.
It was the start of a powerful six-day strike that ended with a landmark agreement that reduced class sizes, increased educator pay, provided more support staff and resources for special education, and increased accountability for privately managed charter schools. In a year that saw, teachers in Oakland, New Haven, Denver, Little Rock and Chicago go on strike, the historic L.A. teachers strike kicked off 2019’s #RedForEd Movement.
“Here we are in a fight for the soul of public education,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said on Jan. 14, 2019. “The question is do we cut our neighborhood schools so they are starved and privatized, or do we reinvest in our neighborhood schools for our students and for a thriving city? We are here to say from the picket lines of Los Angeles that we choose reinvestment!”
After morning picketing, more than 60,000 supporters marched and rallied at the Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters, the first of similar rallies held every day of the strike that featured performances from musicians like Tom Morello, “Little” Steven Van Zandt and Aloe Blacc.
On this important anniversary, many educators are sharing memories of the L.A. teachers strike on social media, using the hashtags #WeArePublicSchools and #UTLAStrong. Take a stroll down memory lane and join the conversation by adding your own words and images from last year’s six glorious days of solidarity.
And if you were one of the millions who watched and sent support from afar, be sure to wish a happy #StrikeAversary to the 33,000 UTLA educators who put it all on the line for Los Angeles students and public education.