Congratulations to everyone who organized, participated in and helped spread the word about the AROS October 6th Walk-Ins! By all accounts, it was an amazing day at both the local level and at the national level. With the united efforts of thousands, we lifted up a powerful message about the importance of public education.
This recap can only hope to share some of the reach, energy and power of the walk-ins. Each of you will have your own story, and will have the opportunity to build on that story over the coming weeks and months.
We had walk-in commitments from 238 different cities, and an estimated 2,000 schools. Due to evacuations in Florida because of Hurricane Matthew, some Florida walk-ins were cancelled. Despite that, walk-ins took place in over 200 cities, and close to 2,000 schools. A list of all the committed cities can be found on our website. The walk-ins varied in size, from just a couple dozen participants, to hundreds. Perhaps our most exciting news is that Vice Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine joined AFT President Randi Weingarten at a walk-in in Philadelphia, while NEA President Lily Eskelen Garcia participated in a walk-in in North Carolina.
THE FOCUS AND THE MESSAGE
Walk-ins focused on a variety of urgent issues, from supporting a city ordinance that would raise revenue for schools in Chicago, to fighting against a ballot initiative lifting the charter cap in Massachusetts, to organizing for victory on a state ballot proposition across California. Each walk-in had its own flavor and in many cases, specific demands.
Across the nation, however, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools urged a common message around the need for investment in public education. For too long, corporations and billionaires have been let off the hook when it comes to paying a fair share of taxes—public revenues that should be there to keep our public schools afloat. We need to reclaim our right to that investment—in our children and in their schools. That so many of the individual walk-ins echoed the national call for investment is clear as you read the many, many news stories about the day’s events. Click here for the latest mdia hits!
Our message was amplified by two national AROS partners, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, who together purchased full-page ads in the New York Times and the Washington Post on the day of the Walk-Ins!
This is a great example of how coordinated action, and coordinated messaging, can pop the lid off of what might otherwise be local campaigns and local events—and push them in to the national news.
Unbelievable. According to our communications firm, which has been collecting press from the event, we had well over 100 stories about the walk-ins appearing in newspapers, on TV or on the radio in 24 states and in national media including the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Jet Magazine, and on SiriusXM radio stations. A complete (to date) media list is attached.
Radio and television interviews—both national and in 8 target cities, with AROS director Keron Blair were played 392 times (all together) for a verified person-reach of 3,662,371, according to Lyons Public Relations, a firm that works with the NEA.
These stats were developed for us by Lyons Public Relations, and suggest broad reach through social media. The walk-ins trended on Twitter for most of the day.
#reclaimourschools was tweeted 662 times, by 381 users. According to Lyons, that gives us a reach of 1,016,824 people, and a total of 3,115,358 “impressions.”
Over 91,000 people were talking about the walk-ins and using the #reclaimourschools hashtag on Facebook.
WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT!
Again, congratulations on a successful national mobilization. It was only possible through the individual work of each of you.
But we aren’t stopping here!! Late last week, AROS launched a petition on Color of Change, urging individuals to sign on to our new national Platform—Education Justice is Racial Justice. If your organization hasn’t yet endorsed the Platform, please see if you can endorse it, and send your organization’s name (as you want it listed), plus a contact person and email for the organization, to Leigh at AROS – Ldingerson@gmail.com.
And then, importantly, sign on to our petition on Color of Change!! Let’s continue to show the power of collective action to demand the schools that all our students deserve.
Sign on here: