Although most of the speakers at Tuesday's NAACP press conference represented religious groups, the secular speakers bashed the Wake County school board majority too for eliminating the diversity policy.
Yevonne Brannon, chairwoman of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition, argued that the school board majority hasn't been focused on improving student achievement. Before changing student assignment, she said the board needs to "fix what's broken before you create new problems."
"Before the new board majority changes how our schools are run, how are students are assigned, before they decide where to create more high poverty schools, we challenge them to fix our schools now," Brannon said. "Fix our high poverty schools now. We have plenty. Make sure that every child who needs help at the highest and lowest achievement level gets the attention they need."
Brannon said they're not going to wait two years for the board to drew up the new zones before they fix the achievement problems.
Members of the board majority and their supporters have argued that backers of the diversity policy weren't as tough on the old board for dealing with the district's academic challenges.
Brannon went on to urge people to join them at the July 20 mass demonstration in Raleigh. She said marching at the event will send a message to the board.
"We can't let them go down this path and destroy the futures of our children and our school system that we've spent so much time and money investing in," Brannon said.
"Don't let this school board majority rewrite our history," Brannon later added. "Don't let them resegregate our schools."
After Brannon, three students from a group calling itself NC Heat spoke at the press conference. The group announced plans to hold a meeting next Thursday, July 15, at 6:30 p.m. at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh.
Robert Wright, one of the three students from NC HEAT, said he had a message to give to the school board on behalf of the "youth voices of Wake County."
"We are not going down without a fight," Wright said. "We will not go back to the era of Jim Crow laws. Our voices will be heard."