As a west-coast visitor to Chicago [for an urban schools meeting] I have been very lucky to hook up with some amazing community organizers, parents, teachers, small school movement folks out here in the past couple of days. Learning about the histories of the Haymarket Massacre 120 years ago, to the Harold Washington/Rudy Lozano and Rainbow coalition movements for justice and political power in the 80's, to the rich community organizing history of the Local School Councils, ACORN, and many other groups. What an amazing history of struggle Chicago represents.
But the heart of today's burgeoning immigrant rights movement here is clearly the Little Village/Pilsen neighborhood- with a huge mostly Mexican immigrant population resides. The community also is adjacent to Cicero, which has become majority Latino as well over the last few decades.
I visited 3 schools yesterday and hope to check out another amazing new community-based high school with a social justice focus that was WON through community struggle and a 19 day hunger strike by 13 community folks who were sick and tired of politicians' promises.
More info on the Little Village Lawndale High School and info on the historic Little Village/Lawndale Hunger Strike for edjucational justice in May 2001.
More info on the 12 year old Telpochcalli Community Arts Elementary School.
My gratitude and props go out to Sue and Mike Klonsky of the Small Schools Workshop here, Carl Davidson of Networking for Democracy, the folks from the Little Village CDC, and former CPS administrator and now Community Links HS principal Dr. Carlos Azcoitia for their hospitality.
As San Francisco parents, teachers and communities led by SFOP and the folks from June Jordan School for Equity fight for a stronger small schools policy in our district today, these examples from Chicago's decades of organizing and history of people's struggle are very useful and profoundly inspiring.