Solidarity Statements for Dyett Hunger Strikers!
BREAKING: Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE) write an open letter to Alderman Will Burns on the Dyett Hunger Strike
September 16, 2015
Open Letter to Alderman Will Burns on the Dyett Hunger Strike
from Julie Woestehoff, former Executive Director of Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE)
We first met many years ago when you were State Senator Emil Jones’s education aide. Many of us in the Chicago school reform community were impressed with you then, and felt that you understood what we cared about – that is, a strong parent and community voice in school governance, and strong public schools. We found you to be approachable, smart, and helpful – one of the good guys.
I was pleased when you decided to run for office and was happy to vote for you to be my state representative and my alderman. We’ve had a very cordial relationship for many years.
In 2013, the year after the school district voted to phase out Dyett, I wrote a blog post (http://pureparents.org/?p=20323) on the web site for PURE, a group I directed until my move out of state last year. The blog praised you and other aldermen for signing on to a resolution calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion. That 2013 resolution included the point that expansion of charter schools was undermining neighborhood school enrollment, and that traditional schools should not be closed for budgetary reasons while new charter schools were being opened.
Considering this history, it is especially disappointing now to hear about your rejection of what many educators and others consider a very strong community proposal to revitalize Dyett High School, and your argument that Jitu Brown and the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) are staging a hunger strike for Dyett merely to gain power and money.
Most of us who toil in the trenches of community organizing and parent advocacy would find this argument hysterically funny if we had time to laugh. Compare, for example, the most recent reported salary of KOCO’s executive director –$63,000 — with that of, say, Robin Steans, executive director of the charter school-promoting corporate reform group Advance Illinois. Robin already has vast family wealth, and she still pulled down an annual salary of $178,000 in 2013. My point here is not to gratuitously poke at Robin, who has been a friend in the past, but to highlight what should be obvious — that wealthy, powerful people in this country have more handed to them on a plate than low-income, marginalized people could ever dream of. They need groups like KOCO to help raise their voices and concerns to policy makers.
As PURE’s executive director from 1995-2014, I had a front row seat to KOCO’s outstanding work supporting public education, and have been pleased to see KOCO’s Jitu Brown become one of the nation’s most charismatic and courageous leaders in the fight to save democratic public education and to demand high-quality schools for all children. Their challenges to you over the years have arisen from what I believe is a reasonable analysis that there is a disconnect between your actions and the critical needs of some of your constituents. KOCO’s decision to sponsor a hunger strike is a reflection of their extreme frustration with you and other education policy makers. The fact that several members of your community have been willing to put their lives on the line to join them, and that others are actively supporting them, suggests that many share this frustration.
I write to you now out of grave concern for my friends who are becoming ill after 30 days of this hunger strike, and for all of those children who need the adults around them to be the best leaders possible. I urge you to step back from past perceived grievances and take the first step to open up a sincere, meaningful dialogue with these members of your community who deserve your attention.
Thank you and best wishes,
BREAKING: The Alliance To Reclaim Our Schools Writes An Open Letter to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel - Support Dyett Hunger Strikers
An Open and Urgent Letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel from Educators, Researchers, Academics and Community Groups Nationwide
We are all supporters of the Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School, and see both the proposal and the process as models for true investment in high quality public schools. We applaud the hunger strikers and the people that have come out to support them and we are heartened by your decision to re-open Dyett as an open-enrollment school.
However, out of deep concern for the 15 hunger strikers and out of a belief that their proposal merits implementation, we call on you to take the critical next step and agree to:
a curricular emphasis on green technology and to include “Green Technology” in the name of the school,
the involvement of members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School on the design team and in the selection of the principal,
and an elected and fully empowered Local School Council.
After all, it is the vision and tenacity of the African American community of Bronzeville that has led to the reopening of Dyett. A school that prepares our children to tackle the immediate problems of today simply makes sense. Green, sustainable, renewable energy sources make sense. It is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Dyett sits in the historic Washington Park with a fishing pond, natural grasses, and a successful student-run farm. It will be a national model with your support.
Please take this next step and honor the hard work of community members, educators and organizations that went into the development of the original proposal which, if implemented with fidelity, will indeed provide a world class education to the young people of Bronzeville. Highly regarded education researchers and practitioners have stated the same.
Please do what is right and please do it now.
(Please go to link to see names of Educators, Researchers, Academics and Community Groups)
BREAKING: British Columbia Teachers' Federation Dyett Dyett Hunger Strikers
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America
CRLN is an interfaith educational and action network responding to the call of Latin America’s poor majorities,
The CRLN Stands in Support with the Dyett 12
For over two years, the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) has been one of the organizations that coordinates a pastoral care program for unaccompanied children arriving at our borders in search of safety and refuge. Many of the children that we meet are undoubtedly among the most vulnerable children on the planet, escaping unimaginable violence and poverty. Just as we have committed to stand by them and to fight for the protection of their basic rights, today we express our full support and solidarity with the community leaders at Dyett who have been on hunger strike for more than two weeks now to save Dyett High School, Bronzeville’s last publicly-operated, open-enrollment, school from closing.
In Latin America, violence takes many shapes; sometimes violence manifests itself through violent crimes and actions that are carried out with near impunity, often by government officials themselves. Sometimes it can take on subtler forms: deprivation of economic opportunity, quality education, healthcare coverage, and of other factors which are so essential to the ability of individuals to lead dignified human lives. We interpret the closing of public schools, primarily in Black and Brown communities throughout Chicago, in the same way that we understand schemes of privatization and dispossession in Latin America: as an act of violence against communities of color.
As immigrants, the sons and daughters of immigrants, volunteers with the unaccompanied children, and people of faith committed to immigrant justice and justice in Latin America, we are humbled by the valiant actions of the Dyett 12 whose fast is reminiscent of the causes of justice described in the Bible.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6
We applaud the Dyett 12 and stand by their decision to resist injustice, to take--as so many immigrants have been forced to do--their children’s future into their own hands, even if and when this means risking perilous journeys, enduring hunger, and risking one’s health. We are confident that they will prove victorious in their quest and also call on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others to put into action the proposal for a Global Leadership and Green Technology High School that the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School helped develop, reminding the Mayor that “if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” Isaiah 58:10
BREAKING: Elevate Energy Writes An Open Letter to CPS Board in Support of Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School
Chicago Board of Education Office 1 N. Dearborn St., Suite 950
Chicago, IL 60602
Thursday, August 28, 2015 Dear Board:
Elevate Energy is pleased to provide this letter supporting the green aspects of the proposal
“Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School”. This community-designed proposal
created by the Coalition to Revitalize Walter H. Dyett High School—a broad coalition of parents,
education specialists, and students—has a strong sustainability focus with the potential to
transform Dyett into a gem community school worthy of national attention.
As a Chicago-based nonprofit, Elevate Energy promotes smarter energy use for all. We design and
implement energy efficiency programs that lower costs, protect the environment and ensure the
benefits reach those who need them most. The proposal for Dyett Global Leadership and Green
Technology High School caught our attention as one that would well-equip students for entering into
the growing green workforce, especially in the energy efficiency and clean energy industries. Our
staff was impressed by the integration of environmental and building science into a strong STEM
curriculum. Further, the proposal takes a thoughtful approach to engaging special and high needs
students to ensure all students have full access to these educational opportunities.
As an organization that believes in exemplifying our values, we have found that demonstrating
sustainability practices in our own office building helps further our goals. In this vein,
transforming Dyett into a LEED-certified school will not only help reduce carbon emissions; it can
spur additional youth-led sustainability initiatives in the community. Students participating in
energy benchmarking on the Dyett campus will become more civically engaged. Those that take part in
hands-on learning experiences in conjunction with the school’s rehab will learn practical
applications for their textbook knowledge. Planned partnerships with nationally recognized entities
like the Chicago Botanic Garden and The Plant will expose students to tangible conservation efforts
and technology happening in their own city. To round out the curriculum, prepping interested youth
over 18 to test for LEED Green Associate certification is an innovative way of ensuring career
readiness. With 10 LEED-certified employees on staff, we are thrilled by the idea that a Dyett
graduate could one day become an Elevate intern or employee.
As Elevate continues to partner with Chicago’s south side communities on sustainability
initiatives—including energy efficiency in existing buildings, smart-grid integration and community
renewable energy projects—Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School could become
another focal point of our engagement. We hope this letter of support aids in the advancement of
ChaNell Marshall Program Manager Elevate Energy
Elevate Energy • 322 S. Green Street, Chicago, IL 60607 • ElevateEnergy.org •
info@ElevateEnergy.org • T: 773.269.4037 • F: 773.698.6898
BREAKING: NATIONAL UNION OF TEACHERS NATIONAL (NUT) Support Dyett Hunger Strikers!
September 2nd 2015
NATIONAL UNION OF TEACHERS NATIONAL EXECUTIVE MEMBER
District 26 – INNER LONDON
NUT Office, Town Hall, Catford, SE6 4RU
Telephone +44 7946 445488
BREAKING: Presidents of AERA support plan for Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School and community process.
AERA (American Education Research Association) is the main professional education research organization in the U.S. with more than 25,000 members. Prof. Jeannie Oakes and Prof. Gloria Ladson-Billings are among the most well-respected education scholars in the U.S.
September 2, 2015
Gloria Ladson-Billings, Professor
In sum, my professional view is that the Coalition plan is excellent and should be chosen in response to CPS’ RFP for Dyett. Parents and community members worked for years developing a solid set of ideas. In response to the RFP, they followed all of the district’s procedures and produced an impressive 50-page blueprint for turning their ideas into sound, evidence-based program and practices. It is unconscionable that parents and community members have spent almost two weeks in a hunger strike in an effort to get the CPS board to vote on their plan.
President, American Educational Research Association
BREAKING: College Faculty Support Coalition Plan To Revitalize Dyett H.S.
BREAKING: BYP100 Supports the Dyett Hunger Strike
Closing Schools is Just Another Form of Killing: BYP100Stands with Dyett Hunger Strikers
BREAKING: Rethinking Schools Expresses Solidarity with the 12 Hunger Strikers
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
BREAKING: We Charge Genocide Supports The Dyett Hunger Strikers
(Click here to go to We Charge Genocide's website)
Education Not Criminalization
We Charge Genocide Supports the Dyett Hunger Strikers
August 25, 2015
CALL TO ACTION
Monday, August 24, 2015
BREAKING: New Orleans' Urban South Grassroots Research Collective Supports The Dyett Hunger Strikers in Chicago
BREAKING: Four Coalitions From Chile Chile Offer Solidarity Statement For The Dyett Hunger Strikers
(English statement follows Spanish statement)
Dear community of Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School,
We want to express our support, solidarity and respect for the struggle you are in today
A few days ago, we learned about your brave and admirable decision to initiate a hunger
strike to defend the right to education, and to show the strength that unites your community. We
understand this hunger strike is an extreme means to confront the indolence of Chicago’s
As Chileans, we are very familiar and understand how neoliberal policies hurt public
education and destroy schools and communities. These policies started hand-in-hand with a
bloody dictatorship in Chile and were absurdly maintained by the elected governments that
followed. We regret to know that Chicago students, families and teachers are also suffering
these policies, protected under interests concerned with creating educational markets and
taking away the existence of public education for our lives. Neoliberalism is a global project,
which has inflicted pain in our society, and that creates destruction in each and every place
where its policies are implemented. Globalizing our struggles through solidarity is much needed
in these times.
We commit to spread the word about these events in Chicago throughout Latin America
and will stay informed about your situation. We value the movement of your community, and we
unconditionally support the cause to stop the painful closing of your school.
Forum for the Right of Education - Chile
New Education Collective - Chile
Network of Teacher Labor Studies (Estrado) - Chile
Chilean Educational Policy Observatory (OPECH) - Chile
BREAKING: Puerto Rico's Teachers Federation (FMPR) Offers Solidarity Statement Supporting the Dyett Hunger Strikers
Dear Chicago Hunger Strikers,
Brothers and sisters, we write in behalf of the Teachers Federation in Puerto Rico to express our deepest solidarity and sympathies. The struggle against the corporate reform on education is the same one across the globe. The rich and wealthy want to deprive poor and marginalized communities of their constitutional right to public education.
Currently we have an organized community in Puerto Rico from the Elementary José Meléndez Ayala School in Manatí that has been occupying their school for the past 85 days, in order to avoid its closure. Their speaker, is a mother of three, cancer survivor, college student named Tania Ginés. She sends you all her support and solidarity as well.
Our government proposes to shut down 600 schools in response to their neoliberal scheme against public education. Teachers are been threatened to lose their jobs and labor rights. All part of a dominant class plan to enrich themselves and fulfill their private interests. The 1% that control the wealth, want to control our lives and lead us to precarious life conditions. NO MORE! Communities are taking a stand against this.
These corporate moguls want to leave our children uneducated, because they know that an educated population is a threat to those vicious corporate reformers with greed to fill their pockets at the cost of depriving students of their right to educate themselves.
Your heroic action to starve yourselves in defense of public education is admirable. It's sad that those that have leading positions on school boards and in administrative position the DOE do not take into count the necessities of the school communities. Count with our support!
President of the Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico
Monday, August 24, 2015
BREAKING: Portland Association of Teachers In Solidarity with Dyett Hunger Strikers
|(photo credit: Mercedez Martinez)|
BREAKING: Dyett Hunger Strike Offers Statement of Solidarity Support to Puerto Rico's Teachers Fighting Against Privatization
(Spanish Translation Follows)
To Our Brothers and Sisters in Puerto Rico,
We write to you, on this the 7th day of our hunger strike, to express our solidarity with you as we fight this corporate enemy to education. As we starve ourselves in symbolism of the way our communities have been starved of resources in order to feed the banks and private interests, we know that you, too, are with us in this struggle. Our spirit is with you and we gain energy from your strength and hope you gain strength from us as well. We will not allow these predators to continually prey upon our young. We will not continually allow these colonizers to build their dreams and the dreams of their children on our backs and on the backs of our children. We stand in solidarity with you as we seek to take back the education of our children from the hands of these so-called corporate “reformers” who have deformed education for Black and Brown children across the globe. We stand with you in the fight to transform education from a culture of compliance to a culture where our young people are taught to question and challenge the status quo. We stand with you, arm and arm, on this battlefield dependent on your support and on the support of our brothers and sisters around the world to defeat this enemy. Keep up the fine fight!
Chicago Hunger Strikers
A nuestros hermanos y nuestras hermanas de Puerto Rico,
Nos dirigimos a ustedes, en este el 7 º día de la huelga de hambre, para expresar nuestra solidaridad con ustedes ya que luchamos contra este enemigo corporativo a la educación. Como nos privamos de comida en simbolismo de la forma en que nuestras comunidades han sido carentes de recursos con el fin de alimentar a los bancos y los intereses privados, sabemos que ustedes, también, están con nosotros en esta lucha. Nuestro espíritu está con ustedes y obtenemos energía de sus fuerzas y con la esperanza que ustedes obtengan fuerza de nosotros también. No permitiremos que estos depredadores se alimenten continuamente de nuestros jóvenes. No vamos a permitir que estos colonizadores continuamente construyan sus sueños y los sueños de sus niños en nuestras espaldas y en las espaldas de nuestros hijos. Estamos en solidaridad con usted mientras buscamos retomar la educación de nuestros niños de las manos de estos llamados "reformistas" corporativas que han deformado la educación para los niños de color, negros y marrón en todo el mundo. Estamos con ustedes en la lucha por transformar la educación de una cultura de respeto a la cultura donde nuestros jóvenes se les enseña a cuestionar y desafiar el status quo. Estamos con ustedes, en brazo y brazo, en este campo de batalla dependiendo de su apoyo y con el apoyo de nuestros hermanos y nuestras hermanas alrededor del mundo para derrotar a este enemigo.
¡Mantenga La Buena Lucha!
Huelguistas de hambre de Chicago
Friday 21, 2015
BREAKING: Statement by Schools and Communities United in solidarity with the hunger strikers and their struggle to revitalize Dyett High School