Friday, May 18, 2012

Nurses rally and play Robin Hood

Demand a Robin Hood Tax to pay for health care.

New police  SUVs
Thousands of police and Sheriff's deputies occupied the loop area, their sparkling new SUVs stretching for blocks along downtown streets while  nurses and their supporters filled Daley Plaza this afternoon.

There was a great atmosphere of militant solidarity as speaker after speaker denounced the NATO Summit and austerity measures and budget cuts to health care, education and other social services and demanded that the millionaires and corporations start paying their fair share through a "Robin Hood Tax." It was a festive mood with Tom Morello, from Rage Against the Machine, closing out the peaceful rally with his music. Remember, Rahm had first denied the permit for the Nurse's Association rally because he feared that having Morello play would draw such a monstrous crowd as to create a national security threat.

Protecting Daley Center from the nurses
But somehow, the phalanx of armed deputies surrounding the Daley Center managed to keep it safe from the Robin Hood-clad nurses.

There were lots of great speeches, but I thought the best one was given by Kristine Mayle from the Chicago Teachers Union. I couldn't tape it, but here's a transcript:


Good afternoon sisters and brother. My name is Kristine Mayle and I am the Financial Secretary of the Chicago Teachers Union. Many of my members have asked me to convey to you that they wanted to be here today, but they cannot because they are out there in the neighborhoods, serving the 400,000 students in the Chicago Public Schools.
Our teachers are working in overcrowded classrooms without air conditioning or the proper technology they know our students need. Our paraprofessionals are trying to fill the gaps that layoffs and budget cuts have left in our schools and classrooms. Many of our school social workers are out their counseling our youth who are victims of violence. Our school nurses are trying to provide services for students at staffing rations that were recommended in the 1960s!
The Chicago Teachers Union supports the Robin Hood Tax because it could bring much needed resources to neighborhood schools that need it the most. Currently 190 CPS schools do not have libraries. 90 schools do not have either visual arts, music, or world language teachers, many more only have one of the three. Many of our elementary schools have no playgrounds. We don't have enough school psychologists, counselors, social workers or nurses. We do not have enough physical education teachers to provide daily PE that is required by state law. Budget cuts have all but eliminated our literacy and math coaches who provide supplemental services to students wh need them the most.
Our teachers spend thousands of our own dollars each year to provide materials and supplies in our classrooms. Materials and supplies that should be provided by the school district. Be we do it for our kids.
Nurses and teachers are a lot alike. We got into those professions to help people, to make a difference. And we do, every day, despite the budget cuts that constantly plague our professions and make it nearly impossible to provide the kinds of services we know our students and patients deserve.
The Chicago Teachers Union stands with the nurses and all the other groups here today who are fighting for the Robin Hood Tax. What would be an insignificant amount of money to the corporations paying it, would make a world of difference for our schools and communities. Thank you for what you do every day.
Solidarity forever.

1 comment:

  1. Great speech Kristine. Thanks for posting it, Mike.


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