Our Freedom to Learn: Protecting Public Education


May 17, 2023 marked the 69th anniversary of the monumental Brown v. Board of Education court case. Race Forward’s HEAL Together initiative honored this historic moment in public education with an online webinar, “Our Freedom to Learn.” We invite you to watch it for yourself.

Amid books bans, budget cuts, and harmful state bills and school board mandates targeting LGBTQ+ students, HEAL Together introduced an updated and improved toolkit that provides resources to help organize and protect public education. HEAL Together is working to build a movement that seeks an honest, equitable, and fully funded public education system.

The Edward W. Hazen Foundation’s President, Lori Bezahler, alongside Dr. John Jackson from the Schott Foundation for Public Education, Imara Jones from TransLash Media, and Eric Ward from Race Forward, spoke about the lessons learned from Brown v. Board of Education and why public education needs protection, still after 69 years. They spoke to the urgency of our times — the need to create better circumstances for future generations and to acknowledge and teach the true history of the United States to move forward.

Efforts from neoliberals and the far right are turning education “into a social good that is collectively undertaken to an individual consumer good. Taking away its role as a part of a multi-racial democracy,” Lori declared. Honest and accessible education threatens the current structure that upholds white supremacy — the undeniable foundation of this country. Ignoring this history further fuels divestment from public education and fails to protect young people’s right to a free, quality public education.

Quote by Hazen Foundation’s president, Lori Bezahler: “The only way we win is numbers and building power through the extensive base that we build together.”

Although the obstacles are present, we cannot risk giving up. “The only way we win is numbers and building power through the extensive base that we build together,” urged Lori. People from a wide array of backgrounds can protect public education with resources like HEAL Together’s “Toolkit for Organizing Your Community.” This is an existential fight for the future of public education and we need everyone working together to build momentum and a movement to protect every student’s right to a full and accurate education. We cannot wait, nor can our children.