The protesters marched from City Hall to the nearby State of Illinois building–where the governor’s Chicago office is located–with signed holiday cards and lumps of coal or candy canes for local politicians, depending on how they’d supported city students and neighborhood schools.
The school board closed 47 public schools over the summer and announced that two additional schools would be phased out by the end of the school year. More than 88% of the students affected by the Chicago closures were African-American and the vast majority of the closed schools were in black and poor communities. Mass closings in other cities like Philadelphia have disrupted the lives of thousands of black and Latino students.
“We want to continue our fight for our schools,” said April Coleman, a teacher at Lane Tech College Preparatory High School. “Just because the strike is over doesn’t mean we were able to get everything that we need for our children,” she said, referring to last year’s teachers strike. “We don’t want the city to forget about us.”