Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hunger strikers on their way to D.C. to see Duncan

Last night's vigil. 

LAST NIGHT was that rare combination of a dazzling summer Chicago nights on Michigan Ave. and being in the belly of the corporate beast. A couple of hundred of us gathered at the foot of the Tribune Tower at a vigil in support of the Dyett hunger strikers.

We sang together, Marley's Redemption Song and Ella's Song ("We who believe in freedom cannot rest..."). I got to hang out with some of my favorite people and together, we renewed our commitment to stick with the struggle til we win. 

While Rahm was compelled to meet with the hunger strikers Monday night, he made no commitment to act on community proposals for a new school in the now-vacant Dyett building. So the strike continues.

But there's signs of movement. Now Rahm's office is putting out a softer line to the media than it did on Monday when they had CPS ed chief Janice Jackson get up in front of the cameras and say essentially, there would be no new school at Dyett. 

Now they're saying this: 
“The mayor appreciates there are strong feelings about Dyett, and he understands there is a desire for a quick resolution about its future, however what’s most important is the right decision. CPS is engaged in a thorough review of Dyett, and while they are closer to a decision, they continue to weigh all the factors at play in an effort to achieve the best outcome possible — one that will ensure a strong Bronzeville and a strong future for our children.” -- Sun-Times
A change of heart or testing which way the political wind is blowing? The latter of course.

Little Village 2001 hunger strike.
Hunger strikers Jitu Brown and April Stogner, now in their 17th day of life-threatening fasting,   plus AFT Pres. Randi Weingarten, are traveling to D.C., to deliver a letter to Arne Duncan, urging him to push Emanuel “to do the right thing.”

Remember it was Duncan, who as Daley's newly-appointed schools CEO in 2001, was given the assignment of ending the 19-day Little Village hunger strike after predecessor Paul Vallas had failed to bring about a solution. Duncan showed up at the strike site and told the strikers, "OK, we found the money for your new school. Please eat now."
"I support them," Duncan said [afterward]. "I solved the thing. I actually have a hell of a lot of respect for them." -- Tribune
But that was 14 years ago. Let's see what he says now.

1 comment:

  1. The rephormers are so entertaining to watch. When it comes to ramming through their agenda it's all about the "fierce urgency of now" because, after all, "kids can't wait". "Done is better than perfect." But when it comes to hunger strikers, who have already faced serious health consequences and could conceivably die within months, then it's, well, we need to take this slowly and do a thorough review and make sure we're making the best decision, blah, blah, blah. Funny how *now* they have time for deep consideration.


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