KENWOOD — The idea of equal access to education as the most pressing civil rights issue was cheered by more than 400 at Rainbow PUSH for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally.
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union, Action Now and community groups from across the city gathered at Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.’s Operation PUSH Coalition Headquarters, 930 E. 50th St., Monday to push education equality as the key issue in the upcoming election.
“I’m tired of going to school board meetings where people who don’t have skin in the game are making decisions,” said Jitu Brown of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, who led the rally.
“Because we have skin in the game, we have to fiercely set ourselves to get an elected school board and that everything else is illegitimate.”
Supporters of taking school board appointments out of the hands of the mayor have successfully gotten a ballot initiative in 37 wards.
“It should have been in 50 wards,” said Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), the only sitting alderman at the rally. “The aspect of democracy is you have your voice heard, whether it’s yes or no.”
Sawyer was joined by seven aldermanic candidates in pledging support to the key issue of the day: an elected school board for Chicago.
State Rep. William Guzzardi (D-Chicago) also pledged to push legislation in Springfield to change the school board.
Speakers during the hour-long rally invoked King’s name to criticize the closure of 50 public schools last year and the increase in charter and contract schools in recent years.
“What we have witnessed in Chicago and in schools across the country is that there is a disparity in funding for our public education and there is a disparity in the resources that are going to each individual student,” said Rev. Janette Wilson of Operation PUSH.
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