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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7217
JPY
USD
102.17
GBP
USD
0.5949
CAD
USD
1.1009
INR
USD
60.326

Rates may not be current.