By Gordon Davis
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is coming to North High School January 2.
This is a good thing for North High School and Worcester. Although it is not quite on the level of President Obama visiting Worcester Technical High School on graduation day, this is a very big deal!
I cannot say I agree with U.S. Senator Sanders on everything, but I agree that the excesses of capitalism need mitigation. Mr. Sanders, who represents Vermont and is an Independent who leans social/progressive Democrat, is trying to reduce the economic disparities of the American profit system in order to save it from itself. Although he thinks this is revolutionary, it is not. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the New Deal in the 1930s to save capitalism from collapsing in a crisis similar to the Great American Recession of 2008. Saving capitalism is almost a traditional or conservative political agenda.
I disagree with Mr. Sanders in that I do not think the profits system, economic disparities, and their superstructure of racism should be saved. Generation after generation, we go through an economic crisis of one sort or another. It is time we had a system where American corporations are not legal persons and money is not speech.
Getting back to the issues of Senator’s Sanders visit to North High School: For years North High students have been the butt of color-blind racism. I remember when the old North High School on Salisbury Street was closed and the kids from the East Side had to go to a remodeled middle school building, the former Harrington Way Junior School. Students and families on this side of our city did not have a new high school for 100 years!
In the 1990s the City of Worcester had an opportunity to build a new high school. There was a discussion whether to build a New North High School or a new vocational school. Some people suggested that the two high schools be combined. This discussion did not go far, as many of the Worcester Voke Alums seemed to look down on the students from North High as not quite as good as the Voke students. I have no other explanation for not combining the two schools except a sort of color blind racism.
Even after the new North High School was built, I remember Worcester City Councilor Konstantina (Konnie) Lukes complained about the bad kids at North High School. She quipped: “Maybe it was not a new building that they needed.” I am even more upset that some of the teachers have taken the attitude of the need for full-time Worcester police officers in the Worcester Public Schools because of the “bad” kids. The hurtful words of the Marine who headed up JROTC comes to mind. Even the EAW says that the teachers need police protection because of bad students. All of this is hurtful and discouraging to the students.
Our children are no different than children elsewhere. I think color blind racism is a factor behind these comments and policies.
Kudos to U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders for choosing to come to this inner-city school whose students have in many ways been emotionally and verbally abused by so many!
May this Bernie Sanders event be the start of a great new year for North High School, all of the children in Worcester, the City of Worcester – and Bernie Sanders!