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Meet the 'Save Our D.C. Opportunity Scholarship' Activists

4:15 PM, May 6, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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At least 1,300 school kids and several hundred adults (many of them single parents who had to get off work) gathered at Freedom Plaza to rally for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program in Washington Wednesday. Funding for the program was cut by Congress this spring, and it must now be reauthorized by the D.C. Council and a heavily Democratic Senate to continue. The political road looks very rough, but these kids and their supporters are prepared to "fight, fight" to "put children first," as the chants of the day indicated.

Former Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, recording artists Ginuwine and Mya, council member Marion Barry, parents, students, and activist Virginia Walden-Ford were on hand to testify to what the program means to the District's underprivileged children. And, the kids did plenty of speaking for themselves:

forDCkids1.jpgIjeny Dean, 6, a first-grader at Ambassador Baptist Church Christian School holds up her sign at a "Save Our D.C. Opportunity Scholarship" Rally in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

forDCkids7.jpgEmmanuel Pearson, 6, (at center) a first-grader at Bridges Academy, raises his fist in a chant of "Put children first!" led by D.C. school choice activist, Virginia Walden-Ford.

Many more pictures below the fold.

forDCkids2.jpgSeveral speakers echoed the plea of this student's sign, asking Congress not to pull funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship.

forDCkids3.jpgR&B artist and native of D.C. Mya was on hand to lend her support.

forDCkids4.jpgRecording artist Ginuwine, also from D.C. was there with his wife to insist that the D.C. scholarship program remain "fully funded" by Congress.

101_3048.jpgA different right to choose.

forDCkids5.jpg"If you give up our scholarship, you will give up our dreams," reads the sign of Iyanna Wofford, 8, a third-grader at Ambassador Baptist Church Christian School.

forDCkids6.jpgOne student brandishes an American flag during a D.C. Opportunity Scholarship rally in Washington on Wednesday.

forDCkids8.jpgA sea of hundreds of D.C. Opportunity Scholarship students demonstrated in Washington Wednesday before a group walked over a petition signed by thousands to the Mayor's office.

foDCkids9.jpgTwo friends grin, showing off their homemade signs during the rally for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Wednesday in Washington.