Praise for Willful Defiance
Willful Defiance provides important ammunition to the growing movement to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. Through a multiyear study of grassroots organizing efforts, Mark Warren shows us how communities are taking control of their schools by challenging unjust school discipline policies and practices, and reclaiming the lives of children who have been treated unfairly. Too often, educators who should be providing guidance and support, rely upon punitive school discipline to punish the neediest children. We can and must do a better job at addressing the needs of vulnerable youth. This book shows us how to do so.
— Pedro A. Noguera, Dean of the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education
Willful Defiance tells the story of power, the power of the people who shine a light on oppression before most are aware of it; then organize to dismantle that oppression. Racism is the foundation of these policies and parents and young people are standing up against it. This book gives us the inspiration to join the movement to stop the school-to-prison pipeline. Grassroots community organizing can change our world. Si Se puede!
— Dolores Huerta, President, Dolores Huerta Foundation, and cofounder United Farm Workers
Willful Defiance is the first and only book on the grassroots movement to end racist school discipline policy and policing in our public schools. It shows what can be done when parents and students organize to demand an end to the criminalization of youth of color. Richly detailed and powerfully written, it is a must read for all those who care about the fight for freedom in Black and Brown communities.
— Marc Lamont Hill, Steve Charles Professor of Media, Cities, and Solutions at Temple University
Few educators and researchers have investigated complex issues in quite the way that Mark Warren has. In Willful Defiance, Warren returns to sites of struggle in which Black and Brown parents generate powerful local and national movements for educational justice. His loving critique of the challenges we face makes for essential reading for educators, policymakers, parents, and grassroots organizers interested in successfully taking up intersectional frameworks.
— Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor of Law and Executive Director of the African American Policy Forum
Mark Warren approaches the ever-evolving movement to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline with the expertise and care our people deserve. This book tells a more complete story about the power of organized defiance to transform educational systems that fail to offer what our communities deserve. Warren beautifully illustrates how young people, parents and communities are redefining what is possible by showing us how to create compassionate and holistic approaches to learning and building power.
— Charlene Carruthers, founding national director of BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100)
Willful Defiance eloquently and powerfully demonstrates what can be accomplished when the people who experience the oppressive systems, structures and policies in our society are the ones that define and determine the solutions that create racially equitable policies and practices in schools. This book provides a rich, historical overview of how families and students of color organized and engaged in, in the words of John Lewis “good trouble, necessary trouble” to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, not only in their local communities, but across the country. Willful Defiance is a timely reminder of what justice actually looks like in practice.
— Karen L. Mapp, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Inspiring! Warren weaves the facts about the harms caused by the school-to-prison pipeline, historical accounts, and first-person recollections of community organizers into a remarkable story of hope and resistance. Sixty years after the civil rights movement, it is remarkable and discouraging that Black and Brown communities are once again forced to defend their right to vote, and to fight for their children’s right to learn about race and racism in our schools. Yet the narrative of Willful Defiance shows that, in the face of long odds, parents and students represent a forceful voice for change. The local efforts and national networks they created have demonstrated that, through persistence and dogged organizing, it is possible to bring an end to the harmful effects of exclusionary discipline and school policing, and to create schools in which Black and Brown students can thrive.
— Russell J. Skiba, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University