NATO NEWS: CTU Financial Secretary Kristine Mayle speaks in solidarity on behalf of Chicago teachers at Nurses rally beginning NATO weekend

Kristine Mayle, financial secretary of the Chicago Teachers Union, gave a speech to the large rally sponsored by National Nurses United at the Daley Plaza in Chicago on May 18, 2012. The rally was part of the organized protests against NATO and over the various issues raised by the NATO events in Chicago.

Part of the crowd at the rally of National Nurses United on May 18, 2012 in the Daley Plaza in Chicago. The nurses wore "Robin Hood" caps and masks to dramatize their demands that Wall Street be taxed to bring basic human services to everyone. The demands also include universal health care for all people in the USA, a demand that the Obama administration has already retreated from.Here is what she said:

CTU SOLIDARITY SPEECH - National Nurses United Rally May 18, 2012 Chicago by Kristine Mayle

Good afternoon sisters and brothers. My name is Kristine Mayle and I am the Financial Secretary of the Chicago Teachers Union. Many of my members have asked me to convey to you that they wanted to be here today, but they cannot because they are out there in the neighborhoods, serving the 400,000 students in the Chicago Public Schools.

Our teachers are working in overcrowded classrooms without air conditioning or the proper technology they know our students need. Our paraprofessionals are trying to fill the gaps that layoffs and budget cuts have left in our schools and classrooms. Many of our school social workers are out their counseling our youth who are victims of violence. Our school nurses are trying to provide services for students at staffing rations that were recommended in the 1960s!

The 'Robin Hood' theme that has been developing across the country (and which began nearly a year ago in Chicago) was dramatized by nurses at the nurses rally on May 18, 2012, at the Daley Plaza in Chicago.The Chicago Teachers Union supports the Robin Hood Tax because it could bring much needed resources to neighborhood schools that need it the most. Currently 190 CPS schools do not have libraries. 90 schools do not have either visual arts, music, or world language teachers, many more only have one of the three. Many of our elementary schools have no playgrounds. We don't have enough school psychologists, counselors, social workers or nurses. We do not have enough physical education teachers to provide daily PE that is required by state law. Budget cuts have all but eliminated our literacy and math coaches who provide supplemental services to students wh need them the most.

Our teachers spend thousands of our own dollars each year to provide materials and supplies in our classrooms. Materials and supplies that should be provided by the school district. Be we do it for our kids.

Nurses and teachers are a lot alike. We got into those professions to help people, to make a difference. And we do, every day, despite the budget cuts that constantly plague our professions and make it nearly impossible to provide the kinds of services we know our students and patients deserve.

The Chicago Teachers Union stands with the nurses and all the other groups here today who are fighting for the Robin Hood Tax. What would be an insignificant amount of money to the corporations paying it, would make a world of difference for our schools and communities. Thank you for what you do every day.

Solidarity forever.

Chicago police blocked protesters who wanted to march north of the Chicago River towards the "Magnificent Mile", symbol of Chicago's plutocracy, following the nurses' rally. Substance photo by John Kugler.The nurses rally began at noon at Daley Plaza and had been organized by the National Nurses United. Crowd estimates ranged from 3,000 to 5,000. The rally, which had a permit, had originally been scheduled against the "G-8 Summit", which was supposed to precede the NATO event, but was relocated by President Obama from Chicago to Camp David for security reasons. The G-* consists of representatives of the world's largest economies (more information on that is easily available to readers).

The nurses rally was a far cry from the nastiness that some critics of the protests had predicted, and in many ways had a whimsical tone as most of the nurses worse "Robin Hood" masks and outfits to dramatize their demand that the rich pay for more social services for the rest of the nation. Some of those protesting were dressed like "Buddy the Elf" from the famous Christmas move. Music included instruction in the singing of classic American protest songs such as Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land."

Some police displayed their billy clubs in a menacing way during the brief encounters following the nurses' rally. Substance was unable to determine whether the clubs were on display out of individual initiative or on orders from the Emanuel administration. Substance photo by John Kugler.Despite claims by Mayor Rahm Emanuel that the rally would pose a threat, the opposite proved to be true. But a survey of the Loop area showed that Emanuel had turned Chicago's downtown into a virtual police state. A week earlier, the Emanuel administration had tried to revoke permission for the march and Daley Plaza rally. Emanuel claimed that the demonstration was expected to grow far beyond organizers' original crowd estimate of 1,000 people. Emanuel changed only after numerous groups protested that he was suppressing free speech. The police state show of force was viewed by many as part of his response.

After the rally, groups of protesters deployed throughout the Loop and were from time to time in non-violent confrontations with the police. As of Substance press time, there had been no arrests reported. A block east and south of CPS headquarters, federal police used vehicles to cordon off the federal plaza during the first day of Rahm Emanuel's Chicago Police State welcome to NATO. The above photo is looking south from Adams St. alone Dearborn St.Substance photo by John Kugler.


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