Ode to the Big Bargaining Team

To the pushers of equity
40 plus of you
who have sacrificed
time with your loved ones
time for yourselves
for sleep

Since last winter
you’ve been trying to negotiate
You watch politicians make up lies
Lies about you
Say you are undemocratic

Say you are moving slow

You sit there
Knowing first hand
that this city doesn’t care
about our kids
with its “proposals”
lack there of
City says no money
No money for Black/Brown kids
You must want to jump across the table
Call them liars

Yell out “how dare you?”

You’re forced to watch the same lawyer
who worked for Daley
then Rahm
now Lightfoot
negotiate for the city
The lawyer whose orders are to save money

to ignore what our kids need

You see how this city opens up its accounts
for private developers
for policing
but then cries broke

when it’s for Black/Brown kids

You know from experience
to never trust this city
The city says a lot of things
You’ve heard the promises before
Their “just trust” us pleas
You’ve seen the devastation
You’ve worked in this system
Fought to create a new system
You’ve heard 6 year olds
beg
to keep their schools open
You’ve seen parents
hunger strike
for over 30 days

to get a school open

Know that while you are
advocating for our students
our schools
our city
demanding contracts
We are out here picketing/protesting/striking
While you are holed up in conference rooms
we will keep holding down on the picket line
Know that we aren’t going to go back easily

We want everything our kids deserve

We see you
We thank you
We support you
Thank you for fighting
to make our city better
for holding Chicago accountable
in writing
View this piece on or

Chicago Educators Will Strike for Our Students, Because it’s Always Been Personal

For 13 years I’ve been teaching in Chicago. 13 years of budget cuts, no librarians, part time nurses, not enough counselors. 13 years of of promises from Mayors and CEOs to improve our schools. Yet, educators always do more with less. That is why the city continues to take. It knows that because teachers love our students we will always do our best, even with no resources.

We love our students so much that we don’t share our teaching stories with non-teachers willingly. We are cautious, we don’t want anyone to judge our students or us. We have pride in our schools. Our schools become our identities. Our kids are on our minds long after the bell rings. We reflect on what went well and obsess on what we need to improve.

Contrary to what I believed when I was a student, teachers have lives outside of school. We are parents, partners, taxpayers, and relied upon by many others in our lives.

So when someone dare calls us greedy it is a right hook to our face. How dare they? Our love for our students and our schools physically drains us. We don’t get enough sleep, we over eat, over stress because of our professions. We stay after the school day ends to grade, to coach, to mentor, for free. We give up our time with our own families for people’s kids.

How dare you call us greedy. How dare you ignore us when we ask for better conditions for our students. It’s not easy for us to do this. We went into teaching because we love kids. We were told our career choice was noble. Yet, now we find ourselves being called greedy because we dare ask for better conditions for our students? We opened up, advocated and showed our love for our students out loud and you called us names.

Tomorrow we are about to perform a noble action taught to us by Gandhi, MLK, Chavez, and . Tomorrow we will strike. We will strike for our students. We will strike for our schools. We will strike to improve our city. We will go without pay. We will risk outsiders talking badly about us. It will sting, it will be hard, but it’s past time that our students have the same basic necessities that every suburban student has had for years.

We will strike because we are noble. We will strike because we know our moral compass points to equity, it points toward justice and we know those are things the students of Chicago have never had.

screen-shot-2019-10-07-at-10-48-43-pm

To view this piece on ChicagoNow click