South San Francisco, CA November 11, 2022 Submitted by Peter Feng, SSFUSD
Students in South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD) will convene at South San Francisco City Hall on November 14 to commemorate Ruby Bridges Day by walking to their respective schools.
Joining them will be representatives from the office of California State Senator Josh Becker, who last year shepherded a resolution through the state senate to designate November 14 as Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day throughout the Golden State.
“Ruby Bridges helped desegregate the William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960 when she was just six-years-old,” said Martin Elementary fifth grade teacher Deborah Carlino, “and her story has inspired children in my class, in my school, in our community to stand up and make a difference.”
According to Carlino, after her fifth grade students learned about Ruby Bridges in social studies, they expressed surprise that there was no special day set aside to honor her achievements. They subsequently set out to gather signatures to petition the SSFUSD board of trustees to designate November 14 as Ruby Bridges Day in the district.
“This campaign started in the 2017-18 school year,” said Carlino. “The students that year gathered more than 1,000 signatures from throughout the community and convinced the school board to make November 14 Ruby Bridges Day.”
The next year, the students went before the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) to make the same request. The SMCOE agreed, designating November 14 as Ruby Bridges Day throughout San Mateo County.
The City of South San Francisco followed suit on October 23, 2019. Then the State of California fell in line on September 10, 2021, when it designated Ruby Bridges as an official, statewide observance. Now, 42 public schools in San Mateo County as well as schools throughout the state plan to participate in the event.
“In our district, we seek to provide meaningful learning experiences that encourage students to embrace different ideas and perspectives as they explore the world,” said SSFUSD Superintendent Dr. Shawnterra Moore. “This is a great lesson in civic responsibility and political activism, and we’re excited to see how far it goes.”