31 Dec Community Coalition’s Youth Leader Kamarie Brown is LAUSD’s Newest Student Board Member
On October 1, 2020, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Austin Beutner tweeted, “Congratulations and welcome Student Board Member Kamarie Brown, a senior at Crenshaw High School STEMM Magnet. I look forward to working with you this year.” Community Coalition could not have been more proud!
Kamarie has been an active member of South Central Youth Empowered through Action (SCYEA) since her 9th-grade year. She has fought for better equity in school resources and funding as well as pushed for reforms that will dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. She has also worked on a wide range of advocacy and academic success campaigns impacting LA students, including demanding that LAUSD support and adopt the Student Equity Needs Index (SENI 2.0).
The SENI is a formula used to distribute a portion of LAUSD’s overall budget to around 780 schools across the district, serving high numbers of low-income students, foster youth, and English learners. “They [the organizers at CoCo] said to me: ‘“You want this stuff at your school, and this is the way to get it,” Brown said. “You have to go and talk to these people about what SENI is, why is it important to you … and knowing the kids that go to my school, where do I think these kids will want the money to go?”—Kamarie Brown
Sixty-five students vied for the student board member position. Each had to fill out an application, write three essays, and give a speech if they made it to the final selection round. “With a tremendous wave of change across the nation, the present moment has pushed us all to answer the important questions of our time,” she said in her campaign speech. “How we choose to answer them will define our generation. Will Black students matter? Will we fully commit to creating schools that function as the keys to unlock a student’s limitless potential?”
As the newly appointed student member of the Board, Kamarie will participate in school board meetings, suggest resolutions, and even vote during her one-year term. She says her focus will continue to be on the Student Bill of Rights introduced by her predecessor, student board member Frances Suavillo, and passed by the Board unanimously last year. Students wrote the Bill to help schools provide a welcoming and engaging environment that supports student success and propels achievement.
Kamarie is enrolled in Advanced Placement and Honors classes at Crenshaw, and is at the top of her class with a 4.4 grade-point average. She hopes to attend Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington, D.C., and aspires to a career in law or communications. Her hard work and dedication have earned her a seat on the LAUSD Board in such a crucial time when her voice and experience are needed to amplify the voices of her peers who are counting on her.