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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Thu Jul 11, 2013

Chicagoans Criticize CPS Budget Cuts, Plan Meeting With School Officials Next Week To Discuss Funding (VIDEO)

Officials from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) agreed to meet with community members at a Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC) public meeting next week, following a massive protest Thursday. Roughly 200 parents and students gathered outside CPS headquarters to push back against impending budget cuts that threaten to strip critical resources from the district.  

During the protest, the Thomas Kelly High School marching band’s drum line performed what may have been its final concert, according to Thursday's participants who say the school’s music program faces an uncertain future.

“How are they making things better,” asked Anita Caballero, board president of the BPNC, who participated in the demonstration. “All of the schools in the Chicago area are losing all of the things that make education work, they’re losing teachers; they’re losing counselors; they’re losing materials; and we can’t stand for it.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue Jul 9, 2013

Bank Of America Customers Seek Loan Modifications Amid Whistleblower Scandal (VIDEO)

In light of recent whistleblower allegations from former employees detailing Bank of America’s purported loan modification and foreclosure abuses, protesters descended upon a downtown Chicago branch Tuesday.

Organized by Action Now, two members of the grassroots community organization sought loan modifications from bank officials while a gathering of roughly two-dozen protesters marched and chanted outside.

“We’re trying to put pressure on the bank to do what they’re supposed to do — they’re supposed to help homeowners,” said Tim Rivard, foreclosure outreach coordinator for Action Now. “If we get the bank to start working with us, or working with people who are in trouble with their mortgages, this could set a good precedent.”<--break->

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
Fri Jun 21, 2013

Keystone XL Pipeline Battle Between TransCanada, Activists Heats Up

The beginning of this week marked the start of a renewed effort by activists to speak out against the Keystone XL Pipeline. On Monday, 22 people, including a former Obama campaign stafferwere arrested at the Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago during a protest that kicked off the KXL Pledge of Resistance Campaign

The new campaign is laser-focused on encouraging President Barack Obama to decide against the Keystone Pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Canada through the United States to the Gulf Coast of Texas. (See our report on a recent protest against the pipeline outside of a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago attended by the president.) In the next several months, a final decision will be made on the pipeline, according to its opponents, and the new campaign's "pledge of resistance is a commitment to massive and historic nationwide acts of peaceful, dignified civil disobedience if President Obama takes the first step to approve Keystone XL."


Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Jun 20, 2013

Parents, Students Occupy Lafayette Elementary Classroom On School's Last Day (VIDEO)

Just after final classes let out at Jean D. Lafayette Elementary Wednesday, three parents and their children occupied a classroom for hours in opposition of the Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) plan to close the school for good this month.

The up to nine parents and children, some of whom were students at the school, occupied the classroom at about 2:30 p.m. Several police officers were on scene, but no arrests were made. 

More than 50 protestors gathered outside Lafayette to show their solidarity. Education activists linked arms and formed a human chain in front of the school’s entrance.

“We’re not going to stop fighting,” said Windy Pearson, a member of Action Now, outside Lafayette. “We have people who are adamant about what is happening to their schools and to their kids and to our community, and this is just one of the many protests that will go on in regards to these schools.”

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Fri Jun 7, 2013

Walmart Workers Call For A Living Wage, Better Work Conditions (VIDEO)

When Larry Born’s privately-owned retail business closed its doors during the recession in 2009, he sought employment at Walmart. He said he didn’t know it at the time, but he walked into a “predatory employer” that pays “slave wages.” Born was one of nearly 100 people who protested outside Chicago’s Walmart Express store, at 570 West Monroe St., to demand better wages and improved working conditions for the employees of the world’s largest retailer.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Jun 5, 2013

Taxpayers Protest TIF Funding Of DePaul's New Basketball Arena (VIDEO)

The allocation of $55 million of Chicago’s tax increment financing (TIF) dollars for the building of a new DePaul University basketball arena at McCormick Place is “unjust,” according to a group of approximately 20 protesters who took their message to the university’s student center Wednesday.

“A private university can fund their own stadium,” said Adenia Linker, 45, a member of the education advocacy group, Raise Your Hand, and participant in Wednesday’s protest. “I understand the need for tourism dollars and the need to bring people to the lake, but we also need the infrastructure of education for the next generation.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue Jun 4, 2013

Parents Unite At Lafayette Elementary, Pledge To Continue Fight Against Closing (VIDEO)

The fight against school closures is not over, according to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) parents who strategized Monday morning at Jean D. Lafayette Elementary on Chicago’s West Side.

“CPS gave us this mess and a rushed enrollment process and we will not stand for it,” said Rousemary Vega, 32, an organizer of Monday’s meeting and parent of two students enrolled at Lafayette Elementary. “We’ve been fighting individually, but it has to stop. We need to get moms together and get moms involved to save our schools.”

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
Thu May 23, 2013

Chronicling The Fight Against CPS School Closings (VIDEO)

Although the Chicago Board of Ed voted to close 50 schools among other school actions yesterday, education activists say the fight against the Chicago Public Schools' plan will continue.

Tonight, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is holding an education session to train individuals on how to be deputy registrars and get people the voter rolls. This is part of a CTU initiative to get 100,000 new voters registered as a means to change the leadership in city hall.

And earlier today, hearing dates for the two lawsuits filed last week against the school closings were set, with the first date being July 18.