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
    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.

    Kane Farabaugh

    Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9017
    JPY
    USD
    104.72
    GBP
    USD
    0.7594
    CAD
    USD
    1.3160
    INR
    USD
    67.046

    Rates may not be current.