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SF Board of Education Gives Green Light to Accommodate Eid Holiday Starting in 2024

by AROC
Arab and Muslim Community says, “We’ll Be Back”
Under Intense Pressure, SF Board of Ed Gives School Superintendent Green Light to Move 2024 Spring Break to Accommodate Eid Holiday

During the SF Board of Education meeting on March 7, the Board gave School Superintendent Matt Wayne authority to move 2024 spring break in order to accommodate the Eid holiday celebrated by San Francisco students.

At least 100 students and families members from across the city, along with elected officials, interfaith and labor leaders, civil rights lawyers and advocates turned out to Tuesday’s meeting chastising the Board for caving to Islamophic pressure and “staying” its own 2022 landslide resolution to implement the holiday. During the meeting, members of the Board acknowledged the harm and confusion they caused Arab and Muslim students and community members, with Commissioner Matt Alexander stating that the Board had indeed “caved” to racist threats of litigation. Given the Board did not agendize a vote to reinstate its original decision and the Eid holiday for the 2023-2024 school year, community leaders and advocates vowed to continue to use every tool available to hold the Board accountable.

“San Francisco Unified School District made a commitment to Arab and Muslim students when they passed the Eid resolution last year. Tonight the community showed up in force and demonstrated our power,” says Lara Kiswani, executive director, Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC). “We will support a calendar that moves spring break to accommodate the Eid holiday in 2024. But we will not stop until the Board reinstates its original decision to make Eid an official policy, and will use every option available to us to hold them accountable including continued public pressure, and litigation.”

On Monday March 6th, the Washington, DC-based Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and San Francisco’s Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC) informed San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) that litigation will commence if the school district fails to honor the Eid Resolution. On Monday over 30 local interfaith leaders also submitted a letter to SFUSD demanding the Board of Education follow through with its commitment to implement the Eid holiday in 2023-24 school year. Over 100 prominent organizations across the US, and over 2,500 individual emails sent to the District over the last few weeks echoed these demands.

“Once again, it took families having to come and defend their rights at a school board meeting for the District to listen. UESF, the union of educators, supports the return to our original proposal of moving Spring Break to include Eid,” said Frank Lara, Executive Vice President of United Educators of San Francisco. “We hope this is a lesson on the need to collaborate with the families we serve. UESF will continue standing in solidarity with our Arab and muslim families as they fight for Eid and the schools our students deserve.”

In the packed board room, after dozens of public comments in support of recognizing Eid on the 2023-2024 calendar, the Board returned to a calendar previously negotiated with labor partners, and voted unanimously to recommend Superintendent Matt Wayne move spring break for the 2023-2024 school year, to allow Eid to fall during that holiday week. The calendar changes, if implemented by the Superintendent, would allow students to celebrate Eid with their communities in 2024.

After the Board’s decision, the entire room of 100+ community members present walked out en masse chanting: “we’ll be back.” Organizers continue to expect the Board to fully implement the Eid resolution for the coming school year.

“We will need to see the District implement Eid Resolution before we can see the harm done to our families begin to heal.” says Kiswani, “Until then, we will be back to fight for the dignity of our students to be respected in SFUSD.”
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