Ryan Tessman is a SFER student at the University of Minnesota, where he is majoring in political science. He grew up in Saint Paul, graduated from Central Senior High School and first connected with SFER while studying in California. After transferring to the University of Minnesota, he sought out the local chapter and became a student leader. He sat down with SFER MN staff to talk about what he hopes to achieve through SFER in his senior year as leader of the U of MN chapter. MN chapter.
Cindy Contreras is a first year student at Normandale Community College, and she’s proud to be the first member of her family to go to college. When she started at Normandale she was disappointed to discover that she’d have to take remedial courses, even in subjects where she had achieved success in high school, extending her time there from two to three years. Since then, she testified at the Capitol and organized at her campus to improve remedial education. She sat down to speak to us about how she was drawn to leadership through SFER.
Tiffini Flynn Forslund is a mother of three from Minneapolis. She’s also the named plaintiff in Forslund v. MN, in which four Minnesota mothers are challenging the constitutionality of state laws around seniority-based teacher layoffs that negatively impact low-income students and students of color. She is currently running for City Council in Minneapolis Ward 6 and took a break in between campaigning to talk with us about her experience advocating to reform LIFO (last in, first out) firing practices in Minnesota.
Mustafa Diriye is a community organizer for Students for Education Reform - Minnesota. He grew up in Somalia and has lived in the U.S. for 22 years. He graduated from Metro State University with a major in political science and a minor in community organizing. He has a lot of experience working with parents and families, including coaching soccer and teaching first and second graders. He lives in Saint Paul with his wife. We sat down at Capitol Café on Franklin Avenue in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis to discuss what motivates him to organize for educational justice.
When my Black children are not educated and are robbed of their civil rights, I expect the NAACP to stand by them.
When my Black children are disciplined more harshly than their peers, kept out of challenging classes, taught a curriculum that reinforces white supremacy, and instructed by the least experienced and least effective teachers – I expect the NAACP to stand by them.
When I find an educational option worthy of their brilliant minds – I expect the NAACP to stand by them.
And when I exercise my agency as a Black woman in America, I expect the NAACP to stand by me.