Oakland, CA – Today, brightbeam, a nonprofit network of education activists and umbrella organization for the platforms Education Post, Citizen Education and Project Forever Free, formally mourns the loss of Dirk Tillotson, Oakland education leader, who tragically and unexpectedly lost his life on Friday, October 1.
For over 30 years, Dirk was an educator, movement builder and strong advocate for improving school systems. In his lifetime he helped develop over 40 schools in Oakland, New York, New Orleans and Doha, Qatar.
Tillotson joined the brightbeam activist network in 2015. His blog, Great School Voices, has championed Black and Brown students and handed them the microphone to share their experiences of Oakland schools. In his most recent campaign with brightbeam, Internet for All, he relentlessly pushed for an end to “digital redlining” and for the FCC to force telecom companies to provide free internet to low-income families with no preconditions.
We honor Dirk’s life and work and encourage all who knew him to continue the struggle in his honor.
To help support his family at this difficult time, contributions are being accepted here:
To learn more about the kind of leader and human being Dirk was, we encourage you to read this reflection by Oakland parent and author, Courtney Martin. Like Courtney, we too “want so many more coffees and beers with him, so many more laughs and wandering, wide-ranging conversations, collaborations, and snapshots of his tomato harvests and his flower arrangements for his beloved wife.” Even as we remember his life and legacy, we recommit to the struggle for a quality education for every child in the United States.
Brightbeam is a nonprofit network of education activists demanding a better education and a brighter future for every child. Using the power of communications, we shine a light on communities that challenge decision-makers to provide the learning opportunities all children need to thrive. We help strong voices tell powerful stories that unite and move their communities to action. Brightbeam amplifies these stories through a variety of digital platforms, including Education Post, Citizen Ed, Project Forever Free, and more than 20 local and regional sites that spotlight education issues nationally. We also sponsor on-the-ground initiatives, projects or organizations that align with our mission. To learn more, visit brightbeamnetwork.org.
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