NORTH LAWNDALE — As the Chicago school closings deadline looms closer, the Chicago Teachers Union geared up Thursday with nonviolence training designed to empower protestors.
“This will be a bombshell, these closings, to our schools and our communities,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. The effort “is about us trying to begin to train our people in the methods of nonviolent civil disobedience.”
The trainings are in preparation for a March 27 rally at Daley Plaza to protest the school closings, according to CTU’s website.
About 40 people turned up for the training at St. Agatha’s Church Thursday evening.
Political activist Lisa Fithian, who led the nonviolence training, said protestors have power in numbers and in nonviolence.
“We take our power back by our willingness not to cooperate,” she said. “We are willing to put our bodies on the line and to assume the consequences of those actions.”
The majority of the 40 people in the room stood when asked if they would be willing to go to jail if the protest advances in that direction.
“I’m sick and tired of CPS’s failed policies,” said Ellyson Carter, a community organizer who attended Thursday’s meeting.
Carter, 55, lives in East Garfield Park and has three grandchildren in CPS schools. He said he would be leading a group from Action Now!, which describes itself as "a multi-issue grassroots organization of working families," at the March 27 rally.
Thursday’s training was the first of two CTU nonviolence trainings. The second will be 10 a.m. Saturday at Pleasant Gift M.B. Church, 4526 S. Greenwood Ave.