Just ask anyone taking the popular class Literature and Arts A-86: “American Protest Literature from Tom Paine to Tupac.” People at Harvard do a lot of talk, talk, talking about the need for activism. Travis R. Kavulla ’06-’07, a self-described “hell-raiser,” is actually doing something about it.
A Mather House history concentrator and former Crimson editorial associate chair, Kavulla is taking the semester off to work on his own grassroots initiative addressing “racist” school board policies in his hometown of Great Falls, Mont.
“Really, the ultimate goal of this [project] is to correct the trend of very wrong decisions that have been made the past couple of decades,” Kavulla says.
In Great Falls, Kavulla says, poor Native American children are bused far from their homes to go to school with other low-income kids, the city is starting to close down schools, and the school board is considering eliminating vocational education.
According to Kavulla, these policies are getting approved because of the way school board elections take place. Because candidates generally finance their own campaigns, those from wealthier areas are much more likely to succeed. Currently, says Kavulla, “five out of the seven board members live within blocks of each other, in a single affluent neighborhood.”
So Kavulla has started an “initiative petition” to address school board election procedures, in the hopes of leveling the playing field for wannabe board members without big bucks to spend.
Move over, Tupac.