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When 25,000 people come together in Brooklyn to advocate for great schools, there’s much to celebrate. Four thousand Achievement First staff and scholars showed up to march, chant, dance and demand change. But perhaps we’re most proud of our own Fatimah Barker, who grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn and works as principal of AF East New York Middle School. Fatimah led the rally, speaking truth to power and unifying the crowd with messages of social justice, hope and transformation.

She told the crowd, “I grew up here in Brooklyn. I went to school in Brownsville. I know what it means to see your classmates become statistics. To see a generation of young men and young women have their lives cut short. And to all the scholars out there todayyou know this as well as I do. You are coming of age in a challenging time in our country. But I stand here today more hopeful than ever because I know that you are leaders of this movement too.”


“I run a school with 240 kids, and all I have wanted for years is to serve 480. We have long waitlists, but we just don’t have the space -- and there are so many kids in East New York and in communities across our city that need a high-quality school. Our kids can’t wait for us to patient. They can’t wait another year, two years, five years, 10 years.  We need to get them into great schools right now!  So my charge to all of us is that we need our movement to be bolder, to move faster, and to think bigger. We can do this.” 


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