Debrief: The Virtual Town Hall with Jacinto Ramos Jr.
On Saturday, June 14th, 2020 Voice of the Empowered had their very first town hall with Fort Worth Independent School District Board of Trustees President Jacinto “Cinto” Ramos Jr. Here is a debrief of memorable moments throughout the Town Hall, where we were joined by 22 people. Here were some of the key quotes and moments from Mr. Ramos:
"I buried too many young people"
When asked about equity training and its impact on the status of FWISD evolving as a district, Mr. Ramos highlighted his background 21 years of being a Juvenile Probation Officer and 12 years in Gang Intervention on the streets of Fort Worth to the importance of investment in brown and black children and to reverse many precedents that nearly led him to not have his own children go to school in the district years prior. In a vivid and inspiring way, Mr. Ramos spoke of the inequities of many children forced into schools that led to a rise in gang violence, racial isolation and gaps he only saw get larger as the years went on. He stressed that this was one of his main reasons why he was against alternative education, but rather in support of helping these students and reverse precedence that would allow these students to get the resources needed to succeed, and ultimately a goal that led him to run for the school board
"Name me five Mexican people who have made this country what it is...we can't name five brown people what made this country what it is. That's systemic."
Furthering the conversation about equity training and its impact in the classroom, Mr. Ramos revealed that Fort Worth ISD had accepted a bid from Texas Christian University (TCU) to rewrite the Latinx Curriculum in the district to better reflect the importance of teaching all children the impact of the Latinx community that he saw was missing. He also had addressed that since it was not a Texas Education Agency mandated curriculum, that what they are teaching may not reflect in surrounding districts, but the change in narrative for these children was crucial in his eyes.
"Race is not like rocket science. It's harder than rocket science. You know why? We don't teach about it in school."
Mr. Ramos addressed furthermore the importance of race equity in the district, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, the impact of education on the mental state of students as well. The introduction of new curriculum focusing on Latinx and Africana studies was a conversation the district had to ensure students are not only learning of their history at a point of liberation, but a point of pride rather than enslavement.
"A bunch of young people got together, believed in me. And they hold me accountable."
One of the defining characteristics of V.O.T.E. is the power of student power on holding elected officials accountable at any capacity. Mr. Ramos spoke of his first campaign and how he truly invested in his younger constituents and has consistently seen himself being held accountable by young people. A truly remarkable account that shows the power of the youth vote.
"It took six years to fix food."
In his role as a school board trustee, Mr. Ramos did not expect something as popular as food reform would take six years to complete. Throughout the town hall, he stressed the importance of education on what each member could do, the differences between an administrator and a trustee, and truly how long it takes to get something done. But this was an example of something he stuck to, and was held accountable for, by his young supporters as stated earlier in this debrief.
During the town hall, other key and note-worthy announcements were the introduction of gender studies in the district, and the differences between acculturation v assimilation.
Thank you to everyone who came out and supported our first town hall. The conversation we had with Mr. Ramos was eye-opening and insightful to truly how the district works and steps needed in times of societal rejuvenation in the realms of education.
Moderators for this event were Zoe Price, CC Gise, Chayton Creswell, Peter Quinn, Rykhr Grissom, and Tulsi Lohani. A highlights video will be available in the coming days.
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