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Cathie Black Critics Vow to Continue Opposition

By DNAinfo Staff on December 2, 2010 7:39pm  | Updated on December 3, 2010 6:59am

By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

CITY HALL — Cathie Black's opponents are vowing to continue their fight against New York City's incoming schools chancellor, threatening lawsuits and more rallies, despite Black’s insistence that the deal is done.

"We’re going to fight this," said Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron, as he gathered with some two hundred elected officials, teachers, parents and activists on the steps of Tweed Courthouse, at the latest in a series of protests against Black Thursday evening.

Black was granted a waiver by the state Monday to make up for the fact that she lacks any education experience — a requirement for the job.

Black dismissed the controversy around her appointment Tuesday, when she told reporters at her first official visit to a public school, "That was yesterday, and today is today, and I'm the new chancellor."

Protesters are vowing to return every day next week.
Protesters are vowing to return every day next week.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

But Barron told the crowd of about 200 supporters that he has hired Brooklyn attorney Roger Wareham to file his suit against the state for illegally approving the waiver. He said he expected to file it early next week.

"We’re not exploring a lawsuit, we’re filing a lawsuit," Barron told the crowd, who cheered enthusiastically despite the bitter cold.

The politicians, activists, parents and teachers, who have dubbed themselves the "Deny Waiver Coalition" also plan to continue their public campaign, announcing a rally at 4 p.m. — one for each borough — every day next week.

They also plan to rally on the Upper East Side, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Black and State Education Commissioner David Steiner live.

Noah Gotbaum, president of the Community Education Council in District 3 on the Upper West Side, urged parents to continue to fight regardless of who ends up in charge.

“Many people are asking, why are we here? Isn't this a done deal?" he asked. "The reason we are here is because we’re not going to be quiet anymore.”

But the rally also took a racial tone, with Barron accusing the state of holding minority schools chancellor candidates to a higher standard.

"Let's call it what it is," he said.

Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams repeated the message, telling the crowd, "I'm disgusted when I see a rich woman without much melanin in her skin chosen to run" city schools.

"We've gotta fight like hell to make sure this doesn't happen," he said.

Black will officially take office on Jan. 3, she said earlier this week.