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What Happened At The Protest

The protest outside the Board meeting was just as lively as the proceedings inside, reports Ben Strauss:

Most dissenters didn’t

show up until the afternoon protest.

Marchers lined up against the

wall in the same hallway that the GEM press conference was held.

Police dressed in yellow and blue jackets waited against the other wall.

Teachers had CTU buttons pinned to their jackets and most picketers

held signs that included cutouts of Board members' faces with the

caption, “Wanted for educational treason” and handmade proclamations like “Yo (heart) Peabody.”

Some were held by senior citizens

and other by elementary schoolers. One young student from Carpenter,

bundled in a red scarf that covered much of his face, held a sign that

read “Carpenter School students matter and count.”

Click below for the rest of the report and for more photos taken during the protest.

The protest outside the Board meeting was just as lively as the proceedings inside, reports Ben Strauss:

Most dissenters didn’t

show up until the afternoon protest.

Marchers lined up against the

wall in the same hallway that the GEM press conference was held.

Police dressed in yellow and blue jackets waited against the other wall.

Teachers had CTU buttons pinned to their jackets and most picketers

held signs that included cutouts of Board member’s faces with the

caption, “Wanted for educational treason” and handmade proclamations like “Yo (heart) Peabody.”

Some were held by senior citizens

and other by elementary schoolers. One young student from Carpenter,

bundled in a red scarf that covered much of his face, held a sign that

read “Carpenter School students matter and count.”

At the appointed moment, the procession began picketing

the 100 block of South Clark, initially stretching from Adams to Marble.

Crowded into two single file lines, the gathering eventually grew until it stretched

almost to Monroe.

Chants ranged from “Save

our schools, don’t be fools” to “Ren 2010 has got to go.”

One of the protests’ sponsors,

Kenzo Shibata of CORE, said it was important to understand the protest

wasn’t about the new CEO of CPS.

“It doesn’t matter who

has that job,” he said. “We’re looking for an audience with

the mayor.”

Dock Walls, who ran for mayor

in 2006 and now is the director of the Committee for a Better Chicago,

said the difference was night and day between the February ‘08 protest

outside the Board and Wednesday’s.

“We’re maturing and becoming

more effective,” he said. “There are no more conflicting messages.”

In the January twilight, the line of protesters snaked

toward City Hall -- but not before making a pit

stop at the Chase Building, home of the Commercial Club. March

organizers said this was where Ren. 10 was hatched.

With ears

and noses reddening from the cold, police ushered the 500-700

protesters estimated to be there down Washington to the stone

colonnades of City Hall. Along the way, marchers walked past the

patriotic colors of the Barack Obama congratulations banners that hung

from lamp posts.

“Hey, hey. Ho, ho,”

they chanted. “Mayor Daley’s got to go.”

The march came to rest in

Daley Plaza, with demonstrators huddled at the foot of the larger than

life cubist Picasso statue. After organizers impressed upon those

gathered that this wasn’t the end, but merely one of many calls to

action, it was time to go.

Strauss is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to District 299.

Photo credit: Kate Gardiner

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