So why would “just a mom” from Youngstown, Ohio be cheering on Jesus Chuy Garcia for a Chicago mayoral race, to be held Tuesday April 7th?? I am Kelly and here are my reasons.
Reason #1 Before even joining the Badass Teachers Association, when I first was researching all of this education ‘deform’, in the first part of 2013, I came across quotes from, or articles about, Karen Lewis. It was an immediate respect and admiration. I wanted her wise words about education to be shouted from the rooftops. I thought she was “spot on” in almost everything I came across.
Reason #2 Then while fairly new to the BadAss Teachers Association, and having taken on the leadership role of Ohio BATs, we leaders met for the first time. Gabby as I am, I was humbly all ears that first meeting. I was so new to activism and here were experienced activist teachers. Somehow Chicago came up, and honestly ONE HALF HOUR of our 2 hour meeting was dominated by these teachers discussing all that Chicago teachers modeled for them in an exemplary manner. While singing the “windy city’s praises”, Karen Lewis came up. Their admiration and respect for her confirmed mine.
Reason #3 I went home driven to research more. The Sea of Red for Ed had formed again and again and came up in image and article repeatedly. On one hand I found it thrilling, thinking to myself NO ONE could possibly ignore what they all were saying. I was pumped to think fight BIG. I also quietly hoped we would not have to get that loud in Ohio. But, alas Rahm Emanuel turned a deaf ear every single time, no matter the thousands upon thousands that turned out to protest. Chicago’s teachers are Ohio’s heros!
Reason #4 For two years, we in BATs backed Chicago’s battles, hearing first-hand accounts (though they had been fighting long before then). We watched sadly and angrily as #OneTerm Rahm closed school after school. We drew in our breath and came up out of our seats as a 9 -year old called the mayor into check. I can picture the celebration in Asean Johnson’s home. I can hear Asean’s chants, and see his mom, Shoeniece Reynolds beautiful rejoicing smile when Jesus Chuy Garcia wins. Chicago, city of the fighters, deserves someone in office for the people, not for the profits.
Reason #5 Oh my, how I love Rousemary and Jesus and their family. Their TENACITY against the frustration they are pounded with again and again is over the top. I WANT TO SEE ROUSEMARY smile on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015. I WANT TO HEAR HER SAY “BAM”!!! This gal and her husband know NO FEAR…and NO QUITTING. For them I want a DIFFERENCE! I want a change for their city in the worst way!!!
Reason #6 What an emotional rollercoaster. Run, Karen, Run was being shouted everywhere it seemed. FINALLY after so many people pleading for such, KAREN LEWIS announced her candidacy for Chicago Mayor. We were all sailing along on the sheer smell of VICTORY. Then an eerie quietness befell the educational sectors. Karen Lewis was in the hospital. It was a serious diagnosis. A serious diagnosis that came right in on a personal battle of my mom’s. I sobbed. Karen rightfully withdrew. And we sat still and somber for days. Maybe even weeks. Some seems like a blur.
Reason #7 All I could think was about all of the people …. ALL OF THE PEOPLE….. ALLLLLL OFFFFF THEEEEE DISSSSSRESSSPPPEECCCTTEDDDD UNNNHHHEEAARRRDDD PEEEEOOOOPPLLLEEE!!!
Reason #7 And then as we all sat almost paralyzed, from exhaustion, from worry, and from truly not even being able to tap into the “what now?”— Brave, Golden Karen Lewis announced that she was endorsing Jesus “Chuy” Garcia for the new mayor of Chicago. He would champion this fight. He would come against the millions, the corruption, and the cold control. The Chicago chant picked up “CHUY CHUY CHUY!” Her words have been so wise and thoughtful always. Her signal words were equal to their weight in gold.
Reason #8 I and many hundreds of others will travel to Chicago at April end for a National NPE Conference. I want to FEEL the ripple of hope and change. I want to see the city when they have been freshly given a new leader. I want to see KAREN with a smile, relief and PEACE on her face. I want the gears to cog in the other direction. I want to be in that room of hundreds upon hundreds of education activists and hear that deafening shout when they re-announce CHUY’s win.
ChuyForChildren ChuyForCommunity ChuyForChicago