CTU had a history of activism against apartheid... Chicago Teachers Union pauses to honor memory of Nelson Mandela

The Chicago Teachers Union has had a long history of organizing opposition to racism, and part of that history was supporting the struggles of the majority of people in South Africa against apartheid. That support took many forms, including a challenge to stop the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund from investing in corporations that did business with the racist apartheid regime the was ended in the 1990s. Other union members were involved in more direct action for freedom in South Africa. One of those actions was a visit by former CTU President Jacqueline Vaughn to South Africa during which she at times had to take shelter with the opponents of apartheid, a narrative she later reported to the union's House of Delegates. Other union members (including this reporter) were involved in other direct challenges to the apartheid regime, including its military and security apparatus.

A younger Nelson Mandela.On December 5, 2013, the Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement upon learning of the death of Nelson Mandela.

Tribute to Nelson Mandela by Chicago Teachers Union President Karen GJ Lewis, NBCT

Nelson Mandela: We Are Inspired To Continue Your Work

Around the globe, millions of us pause to celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela who became an early fighter for human justice and against racism. We celebrate him as the first member of his family to attend school, yet who went on to become a scholar, a lawyer, and was eventually recognized as a world leader. We celebrate Nelson Mandelas victory as he emerged from a life of oppression, imprisonment, and struggle to eventually lead his nation and be honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.

We are inspired by Nelson Mandelas leadership model to address the chief ills of our time. We celebrate his fight against racism and his work to foster racial reconciliation, as well as his resolve to challenge poverty and economic disparity. The principles for which Nelson Mandela stood guide us today in our battles over these issues.

We send our condolences and prayers for peace to the family of Nelson Mandela and are thankful for the lessons we have learned from a great teacher and victorious leader whom we will long remember.


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