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“Here’s a quick shoutout from DFA about an important election in Chicago” -Admin Justin

“While the nation’s attention is on the presidential race, there’s a critical election coming up in less than a month in Chicagoon March 15 – and we cannot afford to lose.

You’ve probably seen the horrific videos of Chicago police officers shooting and killing innocent young black men, like Laquan McDonald. You may also know that it took years for those officers to be charged with a crime.

State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Mayor Rahm Emanuel did everything they could to stonewall the investigation and prevent justice from being delivered for the families of these victims.

Alvarez is up for re-election, and progressive hero Kim Foxx is fighting hard to defeat her and bring justice for all Chicago residents. We just learned that Alvarez’s wealthy allies in the political establishment are spending $300,000 in negative TV ads attacking Kim Foxx.

Now Kim Foxx is running for State’s Attorney in the March 15 election, and the establishment is panicking. They know she’ll fight for justice and police accountability.

The police killings of African Americans such as Laquan McDonald and Rekia Boyd aren’t isolated incidents; They are symptoms of a criminal justice system that needs top to bottom reform.

It’s time for new leadership in Chicago. As State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx will deliver the justice that families in all criminal cases deserve and need. Her definition of justice isn’t going to change depending on the identity of the suspect or the victim. And she won’t act only when there’s a video or the media pays attention.

The political establishment in Chicago spent years protecting violent cops. Now they’re spending big money on nasty attack ads against one of that city’s most important voices for justice. We have to fight back. Chip in $3 or more today to help Kim Foxx get her amazing new TV ad on the air.”

Here’s an interview with Kim Foxx about her life and her fight for State’s Attorney of Chicago.

Chicago students march on City Hall, call school closings racist & dangerous
March 26, 2013

Calling school closings “racist” and saying they could lead to “children dying,” dozens of students held a march Downtown Monday to protest last week’s announcement that 54 schools would close.

Declaring themselves the Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools, they marched from Chicago Public Schools headquarters to City Hall to deliver a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel demanding a moratorium on school closings and a publicly elected Board of Education.

“We represent the thousands of students in Chicago Public Schools that will be directly affected by school closings,” the letter stated.

Closings would lead to “more violence and more children dying,” as students walk to school across gang boundaries, the letter said. It said low-income African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods were unfairly targeted by the “racist decision” to close schools.

Although most of the two dozen students were high-schoolers, and no high schools are slated to be closed, they said they were speaking for younger students without an established voice.

“We are united and we are fighting for public schools,” said Israel Munoz, a senior at Kelly High School.

“It is our responsibility to stick up for them,” added Malachi Hoye, a senior at North Grand High School.

“As a student from Englewood, I can speak firsthand to the danger that lies ahead if these schools are closed,” said Brian Stirgus, a senior at Robeson High School. He said his elementary alma mater, Banneker, was being closed to merge with Mays Elementary Academy. The two schools, he said, are on opposite sides of Halsted Street, a gang boundary in that area. “Why potentially put kids in more danger?”

Isis Hernandez, an eighth-grader at Stowe Elementary, said her school had avoided the closure list, but “it’s not just about my school. It’s about saving all our schools.”

She said the closings would have a dramatic impact on neighborhoods. “This means more abandoned houses and more families moving away,” Hernandez said, adding, “We have the same right to a decent education as a rich kid.”

The letter was accepted by a representative of the mayor, but otherwise the Emanuel administration did not respond.

Munoz emphasized it was the group’s first action and that it is intended to grow and to give students a united voice.

“I think a student voice is something that really needs to be addressed right now,” he added. “It’s something that CPS and the Board of Education and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have not really attended to.”

“This is out first action, but it won’t be our last,” the letter concluded. The group announced their plans to take part in Wednesday’s protest organized by the Chicago Teachers Union at 4 p.m. in Daley Plaza.


Source
Photo

A fight against school closures is also happening in Philadelphia, where the School Reform Commission recently voted to close 23 schools, disproportionately affecting black & Latino students. 

huffingtonpost.com
The Cop Who Killed Laquan McDonald Had Broken His Dashcam On Purpose
Records show that damaging the audio function was widespread among Chicago police officers.

In less than a year, from September 2014 to July 2015, there were 90 recorded instances of microphones missing from police cars. On 30 other occasions, audio recording on dashcams had either not been turned on, or had been “intentionally defeated,” DNAinfo reported.

When you make me cram 30-50 kids in my classroom with no air conditioning so that temperatures hit 96 degrees, that hurts our kids.

When you lock down our schools with metal detectors and arrest brothers for play fighting in the halls, that hurts our kids.

When you take 18-25 days out of the school year for high stakes testing that is not even scientifically applicable for many of our students, that hurts our kids.

When you spend millions on your pet programs, but there’s no money for school level repairs, so the roof leaks on my students at their desks when it rains, that hurts our kids.

When you unilaterally institute a longer school day, insult us by calling it a “full school day” and then provide no implementation support, throwing our schools into chaos, that hurts our kids.

When you support Mayor Emanuel’s TIF program in diverting hundreds of millions of dollars of school funds into to the pockets of wealthy developers like billionaire member of your school board, Penny Pritzker so she can build more hotels, that not only hurts kids, but somebody should be going to jail.

—  Xian Berrett, “Why I’m Striking”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel,

We are the Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools. We are a student-led organization fighting to save our schools.

You have not done enough to help our schools!

We represent the thousands of students in Chicago Public Schools thatwill be directly affected by school closings.

These closings will force us to cross gang lines that will result in more violence and more children dying. This is unacceptable. Almost every school that will be closed is in a Black, Latino and low-income community; this is a racist decision. This is unacceptable! And we, the students, have had enough!

We demand:

1) An immediate moratorium on all school closings;

2) A better way to use the TIF funds and to actually be used for our schools;

3) And an elected school board

We expect to hear back from you soon. If not, you should expect that we will be back! This is our first action but will not be our last. This is our school, and we are taking it back!

Sincerely,
Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools

Source

54 Chicago schools are slated to close. 90 percent of students at closing schools are black, even though they make up only 40 percent of Chicago students. 

New emails reveal even more damning details about Laquan McDonald’s death

The investigation into what happened to Laquan McDonald, and why crucial evidence took so long to be made public, is growing more tawdry by the day. Many are currently calling for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s resignation. Emanuel has repeatedly claimed that he never saw the shocking video footage — but newly uncovered emails complicate that matter.

thinkprogress.org
Emails Suggest Mayor’s Staff Knew About Laquan McDonald Video During His Re-Election Campaign
What did Rahm know, and when did he know it?

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) likely knew that there was unreleased video evidence of Officer Jason Van Dyke killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald within 50 days of the shooting, internal emails obtained by NBC Chicago indicate.

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Close corporate tax loopholes, not public schools
April 2, 2013

Chicago public schools are facing a $1 billion deficit. The corporate media would like you to believe it’s due to excessive spending and that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to close more than 50 schools, most of them in low-income neighborhoods (mostly black & Latino), is the only solution. But the state of Illinois loses $4.8 billion annually in federal tax dollars due to corporate tax loopholes that shift profits overseas. It doesn’t take a math genius to see that simply closing these excessive loopholes would save the schools that so many kids in Chicago depend upon for their education.

These corporate tax loopholes cost us over $100 billion a year in federal tax dollars, which results in state and local budget cuts and tax hikes due to a decreased allocation of federal funds. The corporations most known for complex offshore tax avoidance schemes get these loopholes by spending millions on hiring armies of lobbyists and in campaign donations to chairmen and ranking members of tax-writing committees in Congress.

The lobbyists submit draft paragraphs of new gimmicks and loopholes to those committees. The campaign donations continue to flow toward reelection campaigns with the understanding that those who are making the donations get what they want out of their sponsored politicians. Thanks to this corrupt process, the tax code grows longer and more complex year after year, the most recent version topping out at roughly 72,000 pages.

There is already legislation on the books in both the House and Senate to close most of these loopholes and rein in roughly $60 billion a year. A small sales tax on Wall Street transactions would raise roughly $150 billion a year, more than enough to offset the cuts that are closing 50 schools. These aren’t radical solutions; they’re based on the simple premise that if you hire Americans, sell to Americans, use American public services and infrastructure and make the bulk of your profits in America, you should pay the American corporate tax rate of 35 percent.

Ever since Brown vs. Board of Education, there has been a coordinated right-wing attack on free education. The latest plot is an attempt to close public schools and turn them into low-performing, for-profit charter schools funded by Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers. The attempts to do this are disguised as “reform,” but are really little more than an effort to bust teachers’ unions and cede public education over to the authority of big corporations.

Public schools to educate our children aren’t a burden to the state, they’re an investment. If you want more kids to grow up into responsible, successful adults who contribute to our society, and if you want lower crime rates and prison populations, investing in good public education makes sense. We need our kids to help row the canoe down the river, not throw them out while ignoring the gaping hole in the boat. It’s time to stop making our kids pay for their crisis.

Source

Read the statement from the Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools to Rahm Emanuel here.

There are reports that the Chicago Police Department are suiting up through November 29 to deal with whatever comes after the video is released. Our concern is actually what Laquan McDonald’s family will feel once the video is released. And then what the young black people who walk down the street in Chicago every single day [will feel], worried about whether or not they will be the next Rekia Boyd, the next Ronnie Man, the next Laquan McDonald
—  Charlene Carruthers, Director of @blackyouthproject, discusses the decision by young black Chicago leaders to decline a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel ahead of the release of police dashcam video of the killing of Laquan McDonald. Watch her interview here.
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JASON VAN DYKE, THE COP WHO MURDERED LAQUAN MCDONALD, FREQUENTLY DISABLED HIS PATROL CAR’S DASHCAM

(by Samuel Lieberman)

Last month the CPD “found” that 80 percent of its 850 dash cams do not record audio, and 12 percent don’t record video either. The CPD has blamed the failures on “operator error or in some cases intentional destruction,” and a close reading of that review by DNAinfo Chicago reveals the extent of the latter. Officers frequently tampered with dash cams, stashing microphones in their glove boxes or pulling out batteries. Some dash cams were found with their antennae deliberately destroyed, and others had had their microphones removed altogether.

DNAinfo also describes a months-long repair time for dash cams that experienced “intentional destruction.” For example: Jason Van Dyke, the officer who shot and killed McDonald and has been charged with first-degree murder, brought in his dash cam in early 2014 to have a wiring problem fixed, and got it back three months later, on June 17. The very next day, the dash cam was broken again. This time it took until October 8 to fix what appeared to be intentional damage. Less than two weeks later, his dash-cam footage of the McDonald shooting (which differs from the viral video we all saw) had no sound. Police records show that the microphones in his car had never been synced up to the camera.

(read the full post »here)

Related: Homan Square

chiteacherx.blogspot.com
Teacher X: Why I'm Striking, JCB

When you make me cram 30-50 kids in my classroom with no air conditioning so that temperatures hit 96 degrees, that hurts our kids.

When you lock down our schools with metal detectors and arrest brothers for play fighting in the halls, that hurts our kids.

When you take 18-25 days out of the school year for high stakes testing that is not even scientifically applicable for many of our students, that hurts our kids.

When you spend millions on your pet programs, but there’s no money for school level repairs, so the roof leaks on my students at their desks when it rains, that hurts our kids.

When you unilaterally institute a longer school day, insult us by calling it a “full school day” and then provide no implementation support, throwing our schools into chaos, that hurts our kids.

When you support Mayor Emanuel’s TIF program in diverting hundreds of millions of dollars of school funds into to the pockets of wealthy developers like billionaire member of your school board, Penny Pritzker so she can build more hotels, that not only hurts kids, but somebody should be going to jail.