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Maria Berrios

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Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
3:15pm
Mon Aug 4

Guzzardi Mobilizes Volunteers To Gin Up Support For Minimum Wage Increase

Saturday afternoon was a gorgeous summer day — a little on the warm side for some — and retired Skokie high school teacher Evie Raffanti spent some time ringing doorbells in Logan Square to drum up support for an increase in the minimum wage.

“If you want me to speak frankly, I’m just really pissed off,’’ said Raffanti about what motivated her to spend her Saturday out talking to people about the issue. “How in the world can you live on $17,000 a year?’’

The figure she cited is about what a minimum wage earner makes in a year.

Quick Hit
by
4:48pm
Wed Mar 19

Guest Post: Lessons Learned In Primary 2014

The following guest post is from Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.

Incumbents seeking to erode retirement security in Chicago had better beware

Throughout this primary season, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has been a strong and vocal advocate for voters on the South and West Sides of Chicago—many of whom have been most impacted by the foolishness of education deformers and pension thieves. It is time to stand up to the predatory corporate and political interests that seek to threaten the economic security of thousands of workers. Incumbents seeking to steal our retirement security, beware.

The Chicago Teachers Union expressed people power this electoral cycle. We were most successful in creating a platform of educational justice and retirement security that was expressed by our endorsed candidates.  Representative-elect Will Guzzardi amplified our calls for an elected, representative school board, a moratorium on school closings and an end to charter proliferation.

With our continued support and his ability to turn the issues we’ve long championed into a successful political campaign, he was able to take down the Berrios machine and strike a blow to the top-down political tradition of the Northwest Side.

While the 26th District race remains contested, it is clear that voters on the South Side have soundly rejected State Rep. Christian “Crown” Mitchell’s anti-working families’ platform. This contest, more than any other this Primary season, exposes the racial and economic fault lines for 2015.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:52pm
Mon Mar 17

Election Preview: Tensions Boil Over In The 26th District Legislative Race

Jhatayn “Jay” Travis, who is challenging incumbent State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago) in the 26th District Democratic race, blasted her opponent Monday for "questionable election tactics." Mitchell's campaign called Travis' comments "desperate and superfluous." Progress Illinois details the latest scuffle kicking up dirt in the race on the eve of the primary election.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:58pm
Wed Mar 12

Election Preview: A Look At The 39th District State Representative Race

With less than a week until the March primary election, eyes are peeled on the 39th District state representative race that pits politically-connected incumbent State Rep. Maria "Toni" Berrios (D-Chicago) against community organizer and former Huffington Post reporter Will Guzzardi. Progress Illinois takes a look at the contest, which has been called possibly the "most important state legislative race in Illinois in the primary."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:25pm
Tue Nov 5, 2013

Ames Middle School Officials, Parents Demand Meeting With CPS Over Military School Plan

Logan Square parents, residents and the Local School Council (LSC) at Ames Middle School say they want Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials to meet with them about the district's plan to affiliate their neighborhood school with the Marine Corps next year. 

Ames LSC members stressed at their meeting Tuesday morning that those from nearby feeder schools should also have an opportunity to weigh in about the decision to convert Ames, located at 1920 N. Hamlin Ave., into a military academy. Those feeder schools include John Barry Elementary, Laughlin Falconer Elementary, Kelvyn Park High School, Sharon Christa McAuliffe Elementary and William P. Nixon Elementary.

No CPS officials attended Ames' morning LSC meeting, although several school district representatives were reportedly invited to attend.

"Nobody has had the courtesy to come to us, the parents, constituents and, most importantly, the students that will be most affected [by this decision]," said Ames LSC member Jose Jaramillo. "We are tired of trying to fight a battle of people making decisions for our school when we are the ones that are vested and give all our time for the excellence of our community and school."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
11:57am
Wed Oct 16, 2013

Community Members Launch Economic Plan To 'Take Back Chicago' (VIDEO)

Chicagoans packed a town hall meeting Tuesday evening to launch a new social and economic justice agenda for the city. Progress Illinois was there to learn more about "Take Back Chicago."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
2:35pm
Wed Jun 5, 2013

Parent Mentor Program Retains Funding, Hundreds Complete First Year Of Classroom Integration (VIDEO)

Nearly 500 participants in the statewide Parent Mentor Program “graduated” Tuesday morning, as they successfully completed at least one semester of assisting teachers and students in the classroom.

The event marks the first parent mentor graduation since the program expanded across Illinois last spring. From 28 schools last year, to 59 today, trained parents are incorporated into more than 400 classrooms statewide, from Moline to Aurora.

Attendees, numbering roughly 700, also celebrated the reallocation of a $1 million grant from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

The event was hosted at Charles Darwin Elementary School — which had 18 parents graduate — on Chicago’s Northwest Side in Logan Square.

“Many moms, especially immigrant moms like myself, they don’t know how to approach the school, but the Parent Mentor Program opens the doors of the school and they are more likely to bridge some of the barriers they might face in every day life,” said Leticia Barrera, 40, education organizer for the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA).

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