News / Economy

Activists: Protests Over Chicago Schools Continue King's Work

Activists: Protests Over Chicago Schools Continue King's Worki
X
August 30, 2013 8:30 PM
Dr. Martin Luther King spent time in the midwest U.S. city of Chicago in the mid 1960s to promote open housing and equality in public schools. Five decades after his intervention, parents of Chicago students say the fight continues. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, those upset with recent budget cuts and school closings used the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s 1963 March on Washington to highlight their concerns.

Activists: Protests Over Chicago Schools Continue King's Work

Kane Farabaugh
Dr. Martin Luther King spent time in the midwest U.S. city of Chicago in the mid 1960s to promote open housing and equality in public schools. Five decades after his intervention, parents of Chicago students say the fight continues. Those upset with recent budget cuts and school closings used the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s 1963 March on Washington to highlight their concerns.

This building formerly housed the Lyman Trumbull Elementary school in Chicago.

Its classrooms and playground, once bustling with students, are now eerily silent, a consequence of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s efforts to narrow a projected $1-billion budget deficit by closing about 50 of the city’s schools this year.

“The schools that are closed routinely in this city since 1997 are located in largely poor, largely African-American neighborhoods in the south and west sides of Chicago,” said attorney Matt Farmer. His daughter’s school was not closed, but he is concerned about what he sees as a disparity in the quality of education between poor minority students and affluent white students.

“Fifty years after the 'I Have a Dream speech,' we are still not providing a quality education to our poor, our children of color.  t is happening all over the country. So what is going on in Chicago is a microcosm of that fight,” he said.

That fight spilled onto the streets of Chicago on the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.

Rousemary Vega was one of about 300 parents, teachers, students, and community activists who protested the school closures and proposed budget cuts in a march from Chicago Public School [CPS] headquarters to City Hall. “Fifty years ago they marched for education, justice, freedom. Today we are boycotting to show the problem is still not fixed,” she said.

One of their key demands is that school board members be elected instead of appointed by the mayor.

“An elected school board means we elect them.  It means they listen to what we want, and they will give us what we want, or they will not be re-elected.  So it is very important that the parents and the community and the students choose who runs their schools and who makes their laws,” said Vega.

CPS’s budget woes come as Chicago faces rising crime and other concerns that have topped the agenda for Ellyson Carter’s "Action Now" organization. “Our number one campaign is fighting against foreclosure, our number two campaign is fighting to raise the minimum wage, but since these school closures happened, that has taken over top priority in our organization.”

Carter believes school closures and budget cuts are influenced by racism, something Emmanuel and school officials strongly deny. Carter sees his participation in the march from CPS headquarters to City Hall as a continuation of King’s work.

“I mean the fights never end, and I think he understood that. That he started a fight and he knew that this fight would never end. I believe that he knew that,” said Carter.

One fight that will continue is the battle over the Chicago schools' future budgets. Officials say unless state lawmakers reach an agreement on pension reform, CPS contributions to pensions will increase from $193 million in 2013, to $534 million in 2014.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7768
JPY
USD
108.84
GBP
USD
0.6124
CAD
USD
1.0999
INR
USD
61.042

Rates may not be current.