School closures lawsuit kicks off July 11

F is for federal?

A federal lawsuit seeking to halt the closure of seven Sacramento grade schools will get its first day in court Thursday, July 11.

Civil rights attorney Mark Merin brought the lawsuit on behalf of parents and students who claim the Sacramento City Unified School District intentionally discriminated against communities of color by protecting schools in whiter, richer neighborhoods. It’s a tall act to prove, but U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller’s decision to fast-track the hearing indicates she’s taking the 2,300 affected students at the center of this issue seriously enough.

Hmong Innovating Politics, the organization that’s become the point of advocacy for this issue, is scheduling a press conference on the courthouse steps for just before the evidentiary hearing.

HIP says the hearing will feature testimony from Dr. Jesus Hernandez, a professor who has researched the impact of policies on Sacramento’s historically disenfranchised communities. The court will also consider arguments regarding a temporary injunction to the closures.

The press conference is set to begin 8 a.m. outside the Robert Matsui Federal Courthouse at 501 I Street in the courthouse plaza. The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. inside courtroom 3.

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