Outside the Loop Radio Interview

I’m interviewed on Outside the Loop radio about the TEAM Englewood Spoken Word group piece from Louder Than A Bomb 2014 in which our poets wrote the piece “Hide Your Schools, Hide Your Children, Hide Your Homes, Cause He’s Wrecking it All“. This is a poem written entirely by four Englewood public high school students about all Rahm Emanuel is doing to harm this city.

The interview is from 12:00-22:00

Hide Your Schools, Hide Your Children, Hide Your Homes, Cause He’s Wrecking it All

A poem written by 4 TEAM Englewood Public High School students about all that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is doing wrong in Chicago. These students wrote this piece and took part in the Louder Than A Bomb spoken word competition put on yearly by Young Chicago Authors here in Chicago.

Hammer in one hand paint brush in the other
Rahm Emanuel is single handedly destroying our city
Mr. wreck it Rahm
look what Chicago is becoming
bending the rules to fit in the lie of building a new chicago
building new streets
when his own plan got some pot holes

Tearing down our dreams
its getting really windy in these streets
Red X’s mark the spots where his wrecking balls are next to drop

We are not included in the Blue Print of the New Chicago: we’re being pushed out
our buildings transformed into condos – and we know those AINT FOR US
Thermal shock is setting in from the whipping wind of the heartless sins
of the mayor

Norfolk Railroads is pushing us southern folk out
Homes replaced with tracks
that will be laid
where our heads used to
If dry wall could talk
it would speak many prayers to keep our homes
now vacant lots that hold lots of remnants
of 60 years of backyard barbeques
baby showers
and when electric sliding was the super power of the summer
55th and Normal
we are losing all of this

Torturing, tormenting us as we choke on the ashes of our memories
*Cough Cough*
Let’s hope we don’t get sick
Because he’s closing all our clinics
He needs to get treated
And then maybe we can sew back on the other half of the middle finger
that he has been giving us

Its almost as if he’s E Manuel of E-Limination

Step one: Take away our schools
Step Two: Put them out their home
Lastly: Destroy it all and
Deny Deny Deny
But remember, to always keep a straight face when you lie!

Try to pour the cheap paint over our eyes while stealing dollars from under our mattresses
There’s not enough? Close their schools
But he’s building a new DePaul stadium
Using our TIF funds to Transform the South Loop into the Promised Land of redevelopment
and some river walk
of course downtown
The paint is starting to streak.
Building a new Chicago or extending a new lie!
How can a city so in debt blueprint something so expensive?

Banneker Elementary – Closed
Woods Elementary – Closed
Yale Elementary – Closed

The paint is cracking:
From every west side basketball brotherhood
To south side sisterhood bonds through pom-poms
And every poetry team that had dreamed of being on this very stage
has been ripped apart,

Bad foundation for our future generations
struggling with 40 students in one class
so they learn from the streets
There’s not money for our schools, but, there’s enough to build a New Chicago
But that New Chicago is NOT for us.
The paint is wearing thin and so was our patience
Irreparable damage has already been done

Time to stop the destruction of OUR city
Prevent the further corruption of our already twisted politics of Chicago

25% of Chicago school children won’t amount to anything
100% sure that we will be something
See Rahm we are mathematicians
your lies are adding up
and this new Chicago is just another one of them

Our poets featured in the HuffingtonPost Chicago:

Our poets featured in the Chicago Reader:

Featured & interviewed on CBS Chicago:

Our poets discussed on Outside the Loop Radio show:(14:45-20:40)

Like & Follow our Spoken Word Facebook page:

What It Means to Love Your Students

We teachers teach, because we love the kids we work with. Yes, we may complain about the kids at times, but they are the reason we stay late, bring work home, and get up early. Thousands of teachers in Chicago put up with bad administrators or broken copy machines, because we love the students that we work with so much that we try to block out all the things that “leadership” of Chicago Public Schools does wrong.

It doesn’t matter where in the city you teach or the “types” of kids that you work with, teachers come to school to enrich the lives of our city’s children.

It is with this love at the absolute forefront, that what the teachers at Saucedo, Drummond, and many other schools are doing truly proves the love teachers have for their students.

The teachers that are refusing to give the ISAT have been threatened to have their Illinois Teaching Licenses revoked. There is no worse threat than that. The threat of taking away the thing we have dedicated our lives to….the ability to teach our students.

Yet, the love that these elementary teachers have for their students is so deep that they realize their refusal to give a pointless test, used for nothing, counting for nothing, and wasting ten days of real teaching and learning is worth that risk.

In your profession how often do you just do things because you are told you have to do, even though you don’t agree with the directive? Why do you do it? Likely because you have bills to pay, a family to support, want a promotion one day, and want a job now. So you follow this directive because even though it is a waste of time and pointless you don’t want to rock the boat. You want the “American Dream” so you most often do what you are told.

Teachers in Chicago have realized for years that the “American Dream” is not a reality for most of our students to reach. This inability to reach the ‘American Dream” is because of the barriers put in place by this city, such as an appointed (not elected) school board, mayoral control over our schools, the stealing of TIF funds from our schools and neighborhoods that really need them amongst a litany of others.

The “American Dream” is much tougher to acquire if you are black or brown living on the South or West sides.

So teachers at Saucedo and Drummond have stood up, not for themselves, but for their students. They want to remake a new Chicago. They want to remake a new educational system in this city. They want their children to question, reflect, and think. They don’t want ten lost days of mindless bubbling for their students. They want ten days to continue the amazing curriculums they have created and put in place for their students.

They want these same students twenty-thirty years from now to not have to do something because they are told to. They want these students to be people who lead not be followers. In this country we talk about children being the future of our country, yet we know that by “children being the future” those children really mean the elite, often times rich, often times white children whose families have led this country in some way or another since its founding.

Teachers believe and demand that ALL children are the future of this country; it just takes brave teachers to really show us what making that possible really looks like.

Thank you Saucedo and Drummond teachers for doing what you do best….Teaching!