In 1992 after a riot inside Eastern District High School, where a student got stabbed in the head, Juanita Orengo-Rodriguez organized a boycott at the school. Juanita Orengo-Rodriguez had been the PTA director for three years. Her community activism had been greatly influenced by her participation as member of Neighborhood Women of Williamsburg-Greenpoint. She attended the Neighborhood Women College and became an important leader in the community who has always been advocating for improvements to the education system.
The conditions at Eastern District High School had worsened throughout the years, generating violence and lowering the education level. Eastern District had earned the label of the high school for the “dumped” kids. Juanita had to take action. Parents and students, with Juanita’s guidance, gathered for three days outside the school and demanded better conditions. The principal agreed to meet with Juanita and the PTA, together they achieved to increase the number of teachers, counseling programs and security, and to relieve overcrowding. The Eastern District High School boycott has served as inspiration for other schools across New York City to improve their school conditions.
Eastern District High School is today The High School for Enterprise, Business and Technology.
To learn more about the Eastern District High School Boycott please join us on our Walking Tour.