Today, I learned a shocking fact!
As Chicago's west side schools are being closed with inadequate resources, the cost to incarcerate people in those communities has risen to over $1 BILLION!
As a long-time friend with Chicago's community leader and activist, Pastor Jacqueline Reed, I'm honored to be part of her effort to spread the news, and bring more justice to the educational system in Chicago.
I'd like to share the press release from Chicago's Every Block A Village, that was just released today. It's a Chicago Horror Story -- in time for Halloween -- that needs resolution. Please note: This community is near and dear to my heart because my mother used to attend Austin High School in Chicago, before the quality of educational standards plunged to such depths.
A CHICAGO HORROR STORY: EMPTY SCHOOLS AND PACK THE PRISONS
Westside Coalition Rallies at Austin High School For A Black Education Agenda
A coalition of educators, community leaders, NAACP leaders, and Westside residents are hosting a press conference on Tuesday, October 31st, from 12:00 – 1:00 pm at Austin High school, 213 N. Pine Street, to demand an end to the horrific state of education for Chicago’s black students.
Schools are a vital part of any community, as a center where families and students share culture, values, and memories over generations. With the elimination of vocational programs, inadequate resources, and empty schools, it comes as no surprise that Austin and other Westside neighborhoods cost close to $1 BILLION in incarceration spending each year.
“Why must our children leave their community to go to school. WHY?” asks Pastor Jacqueline Reed, Chairperson of Every Block A Village.
She continues, “Because our community schools lack educational resources. Scarcely any faculty or principals share their racial heritage. Our children shouldn’t have to leave home at 6:00 or 7:00 am, and return late in the evening. We demand resources for community learning, which culturally enhance their identity and institutional pride and bonding.”
The coalition event, hosted by Every Block A Village, will include comments from Pastor Jackie Reed, former CPS educators and CPS alumni. The agenda will highlight ongoing disparities in education. The coalition asks for:
- Investment in vocational programs in Westside schools – To bring students back to their community schools and offer alternatives for students who are not college-bound.
- An equitably drawn district map – To reflect ward boundaries and maintain community integrity. (e.g. Illinois African-Americans for Equitable Redistricting)
- A Black Student Achievement Committee on the Board of Education – to prioritize students who lag behind other groups in academic achievement.
- Develop a pipeline for Black educators – Empower them in advising CPS decision affecting Black students.
Every Block A Village (EBV) is a faith-based 501c3 organization, serving Chicago’s West Side neighborhoods of Austin, Garfield Park and Lawndale. We aim to remind neighbors of their responsibilities to one another and empower them to tackle individual and systemic obstacles together. Our focus areas include education, small business incubation, cultural and community revitalization.
5834 W. August Avenue, Chicago, IL. 60651
Contact: Jacqueline Crowther - 773-909-8502