Ayanna Armstrong is a young woman with an abiding faith in the power of activism to make foundational change in our system of criminal justice. In this interview she explains why she wrote the book, and discusses the underlying social problems contributing to the current state of affairs.
00:30 Pledge of Allegiance
06:46 Superintendent’s Update: Crowd reacts
02:04:40 Mark McClean, President, New Rochelle NAACP Chapter
02:51:55 Sr. Joan DiRienzo: Nun, teacher, principal and sister of Coach DiRienzo makes a scathing testimonial.
There are many other powerful statements from parents and community members.
Sunday, November 18, 2019, New Rochelle, NY
I had a chance to meet Dr. Laura Feijoo, newly hired Superintendent of Schools in New Rochelle, NY. She spoke at an event held by the Brotherhood of Temple Israel. Brief interview below with Dr. Feijoo and School Board President Amy Moselhi. The event was attended by several hundred people. It included an hour long presentation by Dr. Feijoo, outlining her plans for assessing district needs. There was no new information provided about the controversial suspension of Coach Lou DiRienzo on Wednesday, November 13, 2019. No mention of Dr. Feijoo’s lawsuit pending against NYC Department of Education. Along with two other plaintiffs, she is seeking compensatory damages of $90 million dollars, alleging “reverse” employment discrimination based on her race. (Feijoo starts at 3:37, and Moselhi starts at 8:38, if you want a shortcut.)
I will be back on Westchester Eye On The Radio, WVOX 1460 AM, on Monday, August 26, 2019 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT. This week the discussion will be about the New Rochelle Board of Education’s controversial hiring of Superintendent Laura Feijoo.
New Rochelle, August 6, 2019
Residents from every racial and ethnic background spoke out at the August 6 Board of Ed meeting here to protest the decision to hire Dr. Laura Feijóo . At the end of June the school board rushed through a decision to hire Feijóo without input from the community, and the public response has been unrelenting ever since.
The audio recordings of district parents and community activists reveal a profound disappointment in the board’s failure to reach out to constituents formally or otherwise, in the weeks and months leading up to the hiring decision. There is notable difference between the racial composition of the board, and that of the district’s enrollment. Approximately 70% of the district’s students are non-white.
The central issue is that Feijóo is a plaintiff in a $90 million dollar lawsuit against her current employer, the New York City Department of Education. She claims her civil rights were compromised under promotion practices that held her back in favor of non-white administrators.
While New Rochelle boasts of embracing diversity, racial unrest has recent history here too. A Black high school principal was fired after violent incidents erupted last year at New Rochelle High School. A white student, Valerie Schwab was murdered by a Black student, Z’inah Brown, off campus, in January 2018.
The New Rochelle Board of Ed shows no sign of reversing its hiring decision. Requests for comment by Board President Amy Moselhi from RedBlueTalk have gone unanswered.