This is our moment! The power of grassroots organizing and a revitalized Chicago Teachers Union has put education justice on the front burner in Chicago. There is broad-based disgust with the dictates of mayor 1% and the corporate and financial elites who are remaking the city in their interests while working class people and people of color are struggling and pushed to the margins.
Every great social movement produces its leaders—women and men, teachers, workers, students, parents who rise to the moment and become the spokespeople, visionaries, and courageous champions of struggles for justice against all odds. Karen Jennings Lewis, teacher and a founder of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators, rose up to lead the Chicago Teachers Union as a social movement union, to dare to challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the historic 2012 Chicago teachers strike, and was poised to contend with some of the most powerful economic and political forces in the U.S. for the mayor of Chicago. Karen has lead the fight against education privatization and Chicago’s racist apartheid education system. Even more, Karen Lewis has stepped to the forefront of a growing movement for justice in our schools, our communities, and our workplaces.
Karen has been an unwavering friend of TSJ since we began working together in 2008. Karen, we are with you in heart and sprit as you battle to regain your health. With humility, we pledge to redouble our efforts to win an elected representative school board for Chicago as a strategic step to increase democracy. This is something we can all unite around. And we pledge to continue to work together with parents, teachers, students, unions, and community members to fight for the schools and the city we deserve. Karen, we love you! Keep fighting!