I had the opportunity to focus my project on the teachers’ protest of education reform in Oaxaca. I came into it with little knowledge of the history of the struggle. When I arrived, one of the first things that I learned was news of the planton. For months, teachers have created an encampment and have occupied the zocolo (main public square). Teachers sleep in tents on the cobblestone, and have stayed through the heat and the rains.
It seems like everyone has an opinion of the teachers protest. Some parents were angry that their child has missed so much school. Some children are being told they will not be passed on to the next grade, since they have not been in classes (even though there hasn’t been classes for some). Other parents said they wanted the teachers to fight because they understand the situation. A woman I spoke with was worried that the escalation of the protest would deter tourists, which is how she made her income. Others talked about it being the “ugly” side of Oaxaca, and wanted to make sure that people saw the beautiful parts as well. I am inspired by the strength, commitment, and solidarity of the teachers. One of the teacher’s that I spoke to shared, “It’s not clean and its not comfortable here, but we have to fight”. Even under police repression, people still came together to march throughout the city, and while many tents were removed, there are still those remaining. For all the beautiful scenic parts of Oaxaca, of which there are many, the teacher’s demonstrations were the part that will stand out to me, for the strength of the people and their ability to organize.