Category Archives: Chicago
More than three thousand teachers, staff, parents, students, and their supporters marched in Chicago yesterday for a fair contract for the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). The protest was in response to the threat of $100 million in cuts by CPS the day before. The protest centered on the Bank of America office on LaSalle Street to highlight the CTU demand for CPS to renegotiate toxic interest swap agreements with the bank. The day before members of the CTU visited the bank and withdrew $726 million of union funds deposited there. While protestors circled the building, sixteen union members sat down in the bank lobby and chanted. All were arrested and charged with misdemeanor trespassing and detained for six hours at CPD District One headquarters. One local media station suggested “The union is trying to broaden its contract argument by going after the banks, not just CPS” but then don’t explain why the CTU is “going after the banks.” At the very end of the Chicago Tribune coverage it said “At one point Thursday, demonstrators staged a sit-in at the Bank of America building to protest financial deals engineered by CPS administrators” without any further explanation. It’s the approach of the local media to suggest that this is just another union going after bankers. So why did CTU do a sit-in at the Bank of America?
During a winter marked by painful revelations of violence at the hands of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), Chicago’s Community Renewal Society has finally found the momentum to push its FAIR COPS Ordinance (FAIR COPS). As a representative of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, an organization dedicated to stopping police crimes and impunity, I have been hesitant to come out forcefully against CRS’s proposal. Unfortunately, FAIR COPS, if enacted, would do far worse than merely “nothing.” It would draw valuable momentum away from of the movement in which it claims a part, and would further complicate the bureaucratic superstructure into which complaints about the CPD already disappear with dubious ease.
Yesterday, the forty member CTU contract negotiating team unanimously rejected a CPS offer proposed that would have added not only more fiscal instability to Chicago’s public school system, but also to the classroom environment of the students.
The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) emailed a cryptic press statement on Tuesday evening stating “CPS has postponed the proposed Saucedo/Spry colocation at the request of the community. We will hold regular meetings with stakeholders to seek more input.” The statement was released to the press and not the families and teachers in the community who have been fighting against the CPS proposal to co-locate Spry High School with Saucedo and Telpochcalli Elementary Schools. After the last CPS sponsored “community input” meeting held at Saucedo Academy last week, parents occupied the building until their demands for a community proposal were met. So the CPS announcement that the co-location proposal had been postponed was a great victory for the activism of the community. But is CPS really able to “seek more input” from the community? The CPS press release sent on Tuesday was in English – Little Village is a majority Latino community.
By Liqa Affaneh
Professor Larycia Hawkins is being punished for standing in solidarity with Muslims during a time where Islamophobia remains a reality amongst other countless, discriminatory realities Americans continue to face, even as we have entered a new year in the 21st century. Professor Hawkins’ actions have been recently challenged by Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian school in a Chicago suburb, where she holds the position of a tenured associate professor of political science.
The United States Department of Justice has opened its investigation of the Chicago Police Department, focusing on “…CPD’s use of force, including racial, ethnic and other disparities in their use of force, and its systems of accountability…” Department of Justice (DOJ) investigators were even called to the crime scene of the blatant police murders of Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones. The victims and survivors of police crimes in Chicago have been calling on the DOJ to intervene in our city, where there are no systems of accountability – only an ongoing culture of impunity. We eagerly await the DOJ’s findings but, by experience, have no illusions that change can come from any branch of government.
Without Little Village community input, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s appointed CPS School Board has developed a plan to co-locate John Spry Community High School with Saucedo Academy and Telpochcalli Elementary School. As many of the communities have come to expect, CPS only asks for community advice after they have made up their minds about a plan they developed themselves. Yesterday at Saucedo Academy, the public CPS meeting was met with a rally, press conference, and blistering complaints from parents, students, and teachers from the community.
On Saturday, Chicago Muslims gathered in front of the Wrigley Building to join thousands around the world to demand the release of Sheikh Zakzaky in Nigeria and condemn the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia. Sheikh Zakzaky is the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria and was captured in a Nigerian army raid on his home after hundreds were killed when the army attacked a peaceful march. The protestors also joined other protests throughout the Middle East in criticizing the Saudi government for the execution of the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr as a “terror suspect.”
A Rev. Marshall Hatch from Chicago was just on CNN news saying we have a problem of confidence regarding how our communities are policed.
Yesterday Chicago youth activists from groups like Fearless Leading by Youth (FLY) and from high schools around the city lead 500 protestors from Daley Plaza to City Hall to Michigan Avenue demanding the ouster of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez. Coming off of the success of the resignation of Police Chief Gary McCarthy, the crowd now chanted “One down, two to go.”