Though it wasn’t a major national media story, we think the most significant political news from yesterday involved a group of high school students in the Bronx.
In advance of Ted Cruz’s scheduled appearance at their high school, a group of students wrote a letter asking their principal to cancel the visit. The students noted that Cruz is “actively working to harm us, our community, and the people we love.” As student Destiny Domeneck told the New York Daily News, “Most of us are immigrants or come from immigrant backgrounds. Ted Cruz goes against everything our school stands for.” The students also respectfully threatened a school walkout if Cruz appeared, noting, “[w]e have all considered the consequences of our actions and are willing to accept them.”
In response, school leadership canceled Cruz’s appearance, with principal Alix Duggins writing to the students that, “Your points are eloquently argued … I’d like to commend you and the other students for your commitment to your beliefs and values. I believe that I would not have been able to get the visit cancelled without your actions.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “At its heart, this election will be about what vision of America we as a nation embrace – a multi-ethnic society that values opportunity and equality for all, or an America divided along lines of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’? By speaking up and standing up for their beliefs, the Bronx high school students demonstrated more grace, wisdom, and backbone than we’ve seen from the Republican presidential contenders or the vast majority of Republican Party leaders. Those students know exactly what messages and signals Cruz and Trump are sending, even if others, including many in the media, don’t acknowledge it. When the hatred and bigotry is aimed at you, you get it.”
Continued Sharry, “The actions in the Bronx are a microcosm of what we expect to see around the country as we head into the general election. No matter which of the leading Republican contenders emerges as the nominee, people all over America will engage in simple and profound acts against the divisive vision espoused by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and largely unchallenged by the Republican Party. Who we are as a country and a society is bigger than the hostile vision and views of the Republican frontrunners. We stand with the courageous students and their unwavering moral compass and we’ll bet on their – and our – vision of America winning this November.”
Read the full text of the students’ letter via coverage in the New York Daily News:
“Hello Ms. Duggins,
A group of students will be leaving during 4th period, as act of civil disobedience in regards to the arrival of Ted Cruz to BLCPA. We have all considered the consequences of our actions and are willing to accept them. We respect you and all the staff at BLCPA as well as the expected guests. But we want you to understand that as passionate students, we have ideas and principles that should be heard and respected. This walk out isn’t a reflection of our discontent with BLCPA but our opportunity to stand up for our community and future. This walk out is taking place because we as students all share a common idea.
The presence of Ted Cruz and the ideas he stands for are offensive. His views are against ours and are actively working to harm us, our community, and the people we love. He is misogynistic, homophobic, and racist. He has used vulgar language, gestures, and profanity directed at a scholar and staff members, along with harassing and posing threats to staff and scholars according to the Disciplinary Referral slip. This is not to be taken kiddingly or as a joke. We are students who feel the need and right to not be passive to such disrespect.”