|Outside the church, crowd chants, "Let us in!" (M. Klonsky pic)|
|At the Logan Square Auditorium. (M. Klonsky pic)|
After rallying at the Logan Square Auditorium, we marched up Kedzie to the church. There we were forced to stand outside in the cold for close to an hour, a diverse shivering crowd, black, white and Latino neighborhood folks, lots of teachers and working class and middle-class moms, with kids in hand, chanting, "Let us in! Let us in!" That picture, those chants, tells you all you need to know about the nature of the growing battle over neighborhood school closings.
If they thought the freezing wind would disperse us and send us home while they allowed a few to trickle into the church, they were wrong. Finally a nervous Ald. Waguespack showed up and I think it was he who pressured them to let us all inside. [Update: I have since been informed by a Goethe parent, that Waguespack was not at all involved in getting CPS to allow more people to enter. See comment below].
The CPS bureaucrats now had to face the brunt of the angry crowd, chanting, SAVE OUR SCHOOLS! and singing, "... Like a tree that's standing by the water, We shall not be moved." Apparently, they have become smarter since the first community protests began. First they trotted out the priest who warned the crowd to "be respectful" since we were now in "the house of God." These "public" hearings are all being underwritten with private, pro-charter school Walton money. Holding hearings in a conservative Baptist church was obviously part of the game plan -- a way to divide the crowd.
|Inside the church. (M. Klonsky pic)|
I imagine these same forces of darkness, having made the school system a wing of City Hall, are not resting easy over the emergence of this new grassroots democratic movement. I'm certain Rahm and his boys are paying close attention.
The word is that tomorrow, they will put out their list of schools they want to close. If the past is any prelude, they will try and divide the movement by backing off some of the schools where the loudest and most militant opposition has been organized. It that's the case, I suspect that at least some of the well-organized Logan Square schools will saved.
I left the meeting hoping that things move to the next level -- from Save our school, to Save OUR SCHOOLS. Then we will really have something.