9.27.2007

A Coalition in Defense of the Khalil Gibran International Academy Calls for An Investigation

The Khalil Gibran International Academy controversy in New York City will not go away--and no should it! The dismissal of the small themed high school's founding principal, Debbie Almontaser, largely because a group of hysterical bigots wanted her head, was shameful.

A pro-KGIA coalition of individuals and organizations has formed. It's Communities in Support of KGIA and today it issued these two statements:

1) an expression of support for the KGIA and Ms Almontaser; and 2) a demand that the New York City Council investigate the sequence of events leading up to Ms Almontaser’s forced resignation and to make public the results by October 15, 2007.

The Coalition is broad, and it includes many prominent New Yorkers. Here's what a few of the group's members have to say:

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz called the attacks and insinuations against her "disgraceful, xenophobic, and racist."

Rabbi Michael Paley said, "If Debbie Almontaser is painted in that way, then no one is safe."

NYC Councilman Robert Jackson was emphatic: "What happened to her is wrong. What's happening to the school is wrong. And we're standing up and saying that we must correct that injustice.
The outrage is best expressed by the words of Dr. Michelle Fine, a professor at City University of New York, and her mother, Rose:

"Given her long history as a peace educator in New York City, and her vital role in coalition building post 9/11, the loss of Almontaser as Principal of KGIA throws a shadow of shame on us all: what my mother, Rose Fine, a Jewish immigrant from Poland would call a "shande"—a deep, penetrating shame that
saturates the soul of our civic community."
Shande, indeed!