Lucy Laney educators walked the picket line on the second day of the Minneapolis educator strike. Credit: Ben Hovland | Sahan Journal

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Update: Wednesday, March 9, 10:20 a.m.

On Wednesday morning, upbeat music blasted out of speakers while educators marched up and down the sidewalk outside Lucy Craft Laney School. “Fight the powers that be!” one educator sang along.

Two educators, Shayla Johnson and Angelina Momanyi took a moment to catch up on the picket line. Momanyi works at North High School, but spent last year at Lucy Laney, where Johnson is an associate educator for pre-kindergarteners. 

“We aren’t being heard, and so we have to do something about it,” Johnson said.

Both want to see higher wages for educational support professionals like Johnson, who says she earned $32,000 last year working two jobs.

“People can’t survive on the kind of wages that they’re being paid,” Momanyi said.

The pair also want to see the district expend more effort to recruit and retain educators of color. 

Both praised their own building leadership for making deliberate choices about staffing.

“Those questions about what kind of staff are in the building and what does it mean to have stability on the Northside is a question of race and racial justice,” Momanyi said.

They said they’d seen an outpouring of support on the picket line from Laney and North High families, who have developed strong relationships with educators of color.

“They build relationships with people that look like them, and they trust us,” Johnson said. For students, she added, “You have to trust first, then we learn.”

Becky Z. Dernbach is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.