A Time of Heroes

24 May

Photo credit: Sarah Jane Rhee/loveandstrugglephotos.com.

The Tribune editorial called on us to be heroes like Newton and Moore where heroes stood up to death for the students.  We could be heroes by stepping down and leaving our students to poverty, both literal and intellectual.   We could be heroes by isolating the parts of our city most in need.   We could be heroes by shutting our mouths and collecting our paychecks.   We could be heroes by rolling over in the face of powerful forces destroying the most vulnerable in our society, but that’s no hero I’ve ever seen and I have seen heroes:

I saw a 9 year old boy standing on a metal folding call down thunder with his voice, open up the skies and show us a future worth believing in at a time when if felt like the future was being ripped out of this city.

I saw 17 year old high school student holding a bullhorn with tears dripping down his face, who showed us all how to be a man, when some of Chicago’s wealthiest citizens were too cowardly to make their votes public.

I saw one mom silenced and hauled off for daring to speak the named of the condemned lest we begin to remember the children inside the schools being destroyed.

I saw 20,000 parents speak with such eloquence and passion to a blank wall of empty stares while CPS officials checked their email on their smart phones.

I saw 25 brave men and women have to be scolded by a white haired police officer for showing too many solidarity with their chants in the back of the paddy wagon.

I saw a union leadership that ended their election victory celebration to put on their walking shoes and take to the streets to stop this maddening change.  

150 people tonight signed up to register voters and give voice to the voiceless.  They are heroes too.

I can remember
Standing, by the wall
And the guns shot above our heads
And we kissed,
as though nothing could fall

And the shame, was on the other side

Oh, we can beat them, forever and ever

Then we could be heroes just for one day

                                                    —David Bowie

Marching to Save Chicago Public Schools

“After months of public protest, including a three day community march across the city, the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education voted to close 50 schools on May 22, 2013… the largest school closing in US history. The fight is not over. This is a movement. Use your voice to protect our public schools and the future of our children. Our City. Our Schools. Our Voice.”

Our Children in Cleveland our Underperforming

“During an interview on Good Day Chicago, Bennett declared that the Chicago Public Schools’ decision to close 50 schools was “not made haphazardly. It was made with children in mind and not adults, and it was made so that we could level this platform for the children and move forward. I mean, our children in Cleveland are underperforming on every measure.”

We Began Talking of Moving; It’s Heartbreaking
 “We are the typical Andersonville family. For the first time last week, we began talking about moving. It’s a heartbreaking decision. We just moved back to Chicago a couple years ago, and love living in the city. We love our neighborhood and have invested in our schools and our community. Andersonville has become a part of our family. We thought we would raise our children here. If Trumbull closes we face the uncertainty of our son getting into Peirce, and therefore we don’t know that we can stay. We are one of numerous other families in this community who are also being forced to rethink their future in Chicago because of this proposal. Our lives are being turned upside-down.”
“In the 10-minute video, entitled “In Pursuit of Happiness,” fourth grade teacher Ellie Rubenstein addresses the transfers and “false accusations” that have been leveled against some teachers in the school. She also laments the test-driven state of the education profession.”
“I have nothing against basketball and nothing against DePaul. But Rahm Emanuel and his upside-down priorities disgust me. In a deeply segregated city like Chicago, the gun violence that’s been all over the national news is the result of systematically tearing apart communities. Gentrification is not the answer for this city. The answer is decent jobs, social services, quality affordable housing, access to health care and fully funded schools, not another round of corporate welfare.”
“Some of us are working for an elected school board and others are thinking about a Financial Transaction Tax pegged to +3% of the sales tax. Some of us are focused on our aldermen and thinking about what they will have to support to not draw a challenger who will beat them because next time around it will take more than 20% of the city send Mayor Emanuel back to the 5th Floor. Some of us are registering voters. Some of us are pulling together conversations about freedom schools and student strikes and creative actions that can only come from communities with nothing to lose but their fear, apathy and chains. Yesterday we raged against the machine but today we are organizing to dismantle this evil one nut and bolt at a time.”
“Unlike the teachers in Moore, Chicago teachers’ schools are not gone because of some capricious act of nature.  They are gone because of decades of very deliberate decisions by public officials, corporate interests and ordinary citizens that have eviscerated the neighborhoods of Chicago, displacing people with the demolition of public housing, gutting communities with foreclosures and the elimination of jobs.  The schools are gone because they have been replaced by charter schools, the darlings of politically well-connected school reformers making a profit on tax money while public officials eliminate the inconvenience of teachers unions. “

2 Responses to “A Time of Heroes”

  1. arlenegloria May 25, 2013 at 3:17 am #

    Loved today’s post. Thank you.

    How can I forward this to encourage people to subscribe? I do not see a subscribed link, only an unsubscribe line.




    • cps299 May 25, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      I think I have it set now.

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