WASHINGTON – “Philando Castile knew the names of every one of the 500 children he served breakfast and lunch to everyday.”
These were the first words that came from educator Jesse Hagopian during his speech at the 2016 Save Our Schools People’s March for Public Education & Social Justice rally.
In light of the recent consecutive police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the Black Lives Matter activist used the platform to advocate for justice across the board for African Americans.
Hagopian says the system callously discards black students.
“We see that when McGraw-Hill textbooks replace the word slave with the word worker,” said history teacher Hagopian during his speech. “We see that when they use test scores to close schools mostly in black and brown neighborhoods.”
Hagopian says he recently reached a $100,000 settlement with the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department. He was casually walking by during a demonstration on Martin Luther King Day last year when Officer Sandra Delafuente pepper sprayed him in the face. He was headed to his 2-year-old son’s birthday.
Today, he is using the settlement to support young people in their activism and initiatives. Hagopian says he will use the money for this cause until it runs out.