Hundreds of teachers and supporters expose hypocrisy of Hyatt and the upcoming Hit List at Veterans Day rally and march
"Stop closing our schools!" Over three hundred teachers, parents, paraprofessionals, clinicians and community groups march in downtown Chicago to protest the planned Chicago public school closings. They made their concerns known and put on target the politicians and the wealthy individuals who are defunding the schools and simultaneously planning more closures. It was Veterans Day, November 12, 2012, and those marching could easily have been doing something else on their school holiday.
There was a stop at the Hyatt hotel near Northwestern hospital, and those that spoke had plenty to say. It was a skin ripping windy and cold morning in downtown Chicago on Veterans Day, when the rally of educators and activist was held between the Tribune tower and the NBC tower at the city front center. It made for a very windy setting for those who braved the winds in order to bring to light the intended plan from the CPS to close over one hundred schools buildings. The rally preceded a march down the "Magnificent Mile" in opposition to the attacks on the city's public schools and unions.
Lisa Russell of the “Action Now” committee spoke first. She asked the question that has become a point of contention for those seeking justice for minority students — “Why are they closing down schools only in the Black and Latino communities?"
A question that hasn’t been answered by the CPS or the hand-picked seven members of the Chicago Board of Educatoin. In her blue shirt, Lisa addressed the crowd with enthusiasm and demanded that the mayor of Chicago give an account for the proposed school closings mainly on the south and west sides of the city.
The next speaker, Kelli Aquila, a young African American student at Dyett High School, standing in the protective circle of the CTU leaders, made it her job to tell the crowd on hand what her school has lacked in term of students struggle to keep up with todays’ technology. “We have no AP classes and we have no computer classes,” she said as the media recorded every word. She directed this particular point to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, “we are not collateral damage mayor Rahm.”
The crowd was ready to march down beautiful Michigan Avenue. From the City Front Center going north to the Hyatt hotel located on North Saint Clair. The marchers got the attention of the many tourists who stopped to ask questions. When they got to the hotel, the protestors tried to rush the main lobby, but the entry was blocked by security.
The crowd of teachers asked for the student marchers to come to the front of the rally because class was in session in the smaller lobby of the hotel. The teachers taught the well mattered students the purpose of TIFs (Tax increment financing) and that it was intended for programs to serve the citizens of Chicago, but instead how the money is distributed to millionaires and huge corporations.
After ten minutes of the lesson, and as police escorted many of the protestors out of the hotel, the crowd begin to chant, “We’ll be back and that’s a fact,” to the amused faces of the guests of the hotel.
When the hotel was emptied of protesters, there was one last rally held in front of the building. To the relief to the Chicago police department, no one was arrested, but the point of dissatisfaction was made clear to the Chicago public schools. As Chicago teachers union vice-president Jesse Sharkey said, “To those politician who close our schools, we will come after you and exposed, and to those millionaires who support the closings of our schools, we will come after you and expose you.”
It seems that this is no threat, but an actuality in waiting.