Around 3 p.m. this afternoon students, parents, and activists moved-in to occupy Lafayette Elementary School in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.
Volunteers blocked the doors to the school while the parents and students made their way into the school building to begin the occupation.
— m_x (@soit_goes) June 19, 2013
— Cara Smith (@Carachute57) June 19, 2013
Earlier this month, the school performed it’s last concert for a very emotional and upset audience. These scenes of heartbreak and fractured communities are becoming all too common as Rahm Emmanuel continues to impose austerity through school closings, health facility closings, and all sorts of other cuts in public services. This ironic approach to “balancing the budget” is laughable in a state where two-thirds of corporations pay no income taxes.
“Closing Lafayette will kill our neighborhood and our families,” says Rousemary Vega, who is occupying a classroom at Lafayette Elementary. “We demand that this school stay open. We demand to keep our music programs, and our special ed program. We’re not leaving until this school is saved.” …nor should they. The favorite allotments of public tax dollars by our beloved mayor go to such badly needed things as high-end rental and condo units in neighborhoods with no real demand for them, and a $300 million basketball stadium for Depaul. Yes, our schools and institutions are getting closed while the likes of Depaul and Loyola Universities, and BJB Properties get nice slices of the tax pie through TIFs to push “business as usual” to an all new level of neoliberal budgetary scams. Guess who gets the bill, again?
So big deal that our children get shuffled around as our work days are made more stressful by sluggish CTA service, failing infrastructure, and anxiety-laden hoop-jumping in order to try and get our kids into a decent school (if you even can take the time away from the office); and affordable housing becomes an endangered species (despite being the original purpose for TIFS). Well…we know for sure Rahm Emmanuel doesn’t, unless Coca Cola wants to come in and buy up what’s left of a failed public program; with a nice little tax break to do it. If we could only see those corporate logos a few hundred more times a day, we might remember where all our money went. Then we would certainly buy more stuff.