Students and teachers link arms around Chicago City Hall. (Credit: Sarah-Ji)
E-mail questions, tips or proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org. For earlier dispatches, check out posts from January 18, February 1, February 15, March 1, March 15, April 2, April 15, April 26 and May 10.
1. Chicago Students Stage Citywide Boycott to Protest School Closings
On Monday, May 20, the Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools organized a citywide boycott so that students could join a three-day march in protest of school closures. More than two hundred students participated from high schools across the city. In the morning, students met at Williams Elementary, which the school system ordered to be put on lockdown. From there, we marched three miles downtown, where 26 activists were occupying City Hall in an act of civil disobedience. The action ended with a large rally at Daley Plaza, with speakers ranging from teachers union president Karen Lewis to third grader Asean Johnson. On May 22, as activists occupied the central lobby, Chicago’s unelected board of education voted to close 50 schools. Students and allies are overwhelmingly upset—but the fight for these schools is not over.
2. After Thousands Walk Out, Philly Student Union Heads to Chicago
I was one of the 2,000 Philadelphia students who walked out of school on Friday, May 17, to assert a student voice in the face of school closings and disinvestment. By Saturday, I was in Chicago joining the struggle against school closings there. Chicago’s closings, like Philadelphia’s, are primarily in black and Latino neighborhoods. After marching through the north, west and south sides of the city, I spoke alongside students from Chicago at Daley Plaza. Next, we marched and held hands around City Hall—where teachers and community members were arrested for sitting in. Students from Philly, Boston, Baltimore and Detroit came to support Chicago’s fight. As students, we will continue fighting in every city until we have the schools we deserve.