Sharon volunteered for the PTA for several years serving as a PTA President for two of her children schools and a member of the founding group of the PTA’s Statewide Emerging Minority Leaders. She has worked with organizing groups around the state and nationally. She has received her organizing training from Mid-West Academy and Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO). Over the past 6 years Sharon has organized parents and students around education equity, governance, and derailment of failed corporate reform. Sharon recently received an “Advocacy Award” for the State PTA, Emerging Minority Leaders. She has appeared on many panel discussions, including WNYC-Brian Leher’s Community Forum “Which Way NJ? – Newark School Reform” with Cory Booker, former Mayor of Newark and State appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson.
In July 2012, Sharon and Donald Jackson (student at that time) from Newark- filed one of the first Title VI complaints in Washington DC along with 11 additional cities who hand delivered their compliant to the Secretary of Office of Civil Rights, Russlyn Ali, the Secretary of DOE, Peter Cunningham, and Roberto Rodriquez from the Education and Policy office of President Obama. One of the first efforts of Journey for Justice, an emerging alliance currently composed of grassroots community-based organizations from 30 cities across the United States representing constituencies of youth, parents, and inter-generational organizations who have been impacted by the closing, turnaround, and charter expansion of schools in communities of color.
Sharon Smith is currently working in New Jersey with Paterson, Jersey City, Newark and Camden organizations to create a statewide network of cities to battle the dismantling and disfranchisement of public neighborhood schools.
On Twitter @PULSENJ