They say Chicago is violent, but when you close over 50 brown & black schools, that is violence.
July 6, 2013
As the country celebrated July 4, Chicago saw another day where gun violence claimed dozens of victims, with six people killed and 28 left wounded. The youngest of those wounded included two boys, ages 5 and 7, who were celebrating the holiday with their families.
Chicago has had a particularly terrible record on gun violence the last couple years. In 2012, it had more gun homicides than New York City despite having one-third the population. And on Father’s Day Weekend this year, another 46 people were shot in one of Chicago’s deadliest 72 hours of 2013.
Despite these numbers, police say Chicago gun violence for the first half of 2013 is at its lowest in nearly 50 years, with about 25 percent fewer shootings and murders compared to the same period in 2012. Even though Chicago is experiencing fewer gun homicides this year, the violence disproportionately costs low-income, minority communities the most: Close to 90 percent of murders and violent crimes occur in low-income areas where mostly black and Latino people live, and nearly half of Chicago homicide victims are under age 25.
Loose gun laws in surrounding areas do not help the matter, since the firearms recovered by police are almost always traced back to other states or parts of Illinois. Now, Illinois is moving to overturn the last concealed carry ban in the country with legislation that Gov. Pat Quinn (D-IL) has slammed as being far too permissive for gun-holders.
When will there be an honest conversation about poverty and racism and inequality that hinders the delivery of an education product in our school system? When will we address the fact that rich white people think they know what’s in the best interest of children of African-Americans and Latinos, no matter what the parents’ income or education level?
Today is a day of mourning for the children of Chicago. Their education has been hijacked by an unrepresentative, unelected corporate school board, acting at the behest of a mayor who has no vision for improving the education of our children. Closing schools is not an education plan. It is a scorched earth policy. Evidence shows that the underutilization crisis has been manufactured. Their own evidence also shows the school district will not garner any significant savings from closing these schools.
This is bad governance. CPS has consistently undermined school communities and sabotaged teachers and parents. Their actions have had a horrible domino effect. More than 40,000 students will lose at least three to six months of learning because of the Board’s actions. Because many of them will now have to travel into new neighborhoods to continue their schooling, some will be victims of bullying, physical assault and other forms of violence. Board members are wishing for a world that does not exist and have ignored the reality of the world we live in today. Who on the Board will be held responsible? Who at City Hall will be held responsible?
Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis commenting on today’s news that the Board of Education has voted to close 50 Chicago public schools.
While only around 40 percent of children in Chicago are black are Latino, 90 percent of children whose schools will be shuttered are black or Latino.
Never be deceived that that rich will allow you to vote their wealth away.
Lucy Parsons, the Haymarket Square widow who internationalized the struggle for the eight-hour day and whose work led to the May Day rallies held around the world. Happy May Day!
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