Closing Schools, Increasing Policing -The Chicago Way

Closing Schools, Increasing Policing -The Chicago Way
Courtesy of The News-Gazette

Chicago spends 40% of its entire operating budget on policing. In addition the city has paid out over $500 million on police brutality cases. On top of that Rahm thinks it a wise choice to spend $95 million more on a new cop academy.

Meanwhile those that run Chicago Public Schools (don’t forget Rahm appoints them) voted to close 5 predominantly Black public schools. Add that in with the 50 plus Black schools closed in 2013.

It is not conspiracy to say that Chicago wants to incarcerate, not educate, its Black youth.

It is policy.

Many in the city see the connection. If you underfund and then close schools, while continually increasing funding to police it becomes apparent what the goals are.

A budget is a political document, not just a financial one. It shows what the city prioritizes.

Chicago prioritizes criminalizing our youth, NOT educating them.

Rahm says he cares about kids, but he does NOT send his own kids to CPS. So he can say whatever he wants, BUT unless his own kids are in the CPS system his words mean jack.

Never forget that Rahm said, “25% of CPS students won’t amount to anything.”

Chicago is filled with harmful policies past and present such as redliningblockbusting, and gentrification. Actual policies created and implemented by the city that targeted and harmed Black communities in our city.

School closings, school turnarounds, and school phase-outs, is just the new or continued version of these policies that target and harm Black communities.

While these policies continue to destroy education for the children in our city, Rahm and his crew make sure to always fund policing.

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) is responsible for torturing and killing Black Chicagoans. CPD has been proven to cover up its own crimes and illegally detain people in secret sites.

In Rahm’s Chicago, if a school is deemed unsuccessful, under his bogus school rating system, then that school is punished. Charters will be built in the area and then the school will be closed or phased out after having it’s funding systematically cut.

The police do not receive this same treatment. In fact it seems as if the police are rewarded for the more flawed that they are. Students and schools punished, police rewarded.

The Chicago Police Department is getting a brand new $95 Million Cop Academy on the Westside. More for incarceration and less for education.

Our children in CPS are treated like they are in a police state. Metal detectors, police with guns in the school. Limited resources. Terrible Food.

Yet, students are told, if you work really hard you can overcome all of this. You can make it.

No doubt the amazing kids in Chicago do overcome. BUT kids should not have to overcome. Kids should just have what they need.

So instead of building a new cop academy invest that money into the schools.

Instead of policing and incarceration we could try fully funding education.

But Rahm says no.

Rahm closes schools.

Closing over 50 elementary schools in 2013 was not enough. He wants more closures. Now it is TEAM Englewood, Roberson, Hope, and Harper high schools. Eliminating all of the public neighborhood high schools in Englewood.

But even that is not enough, so he takes out a high performing elementary school in the South Loop, National Teachers Academy. This closure is done to appease white parents afraid of sending their children to school with a majority of Black students

Rahm says screw the Black community. Because surely if Rahm truly cared about the Black residents of Chicago he would be upset by the fact that over 200,000 Black families have left the city.

But not Rahm.

He would rather close a school than fix a neighborhood.

Put policing over education.

Blame the victims.

Put Incarceration over improving communities.

This is policy. These are calculated choices. This is Chicago.

Courtesy of In These Times

Why Did Kajuan Raye Run If He Was Not Guilty?

CHICAGO SUN TIMES
Kajuan Raye

This is the question that white people love to ask. Because surely if Kajuan was innocent he would’ve just stood there, explained he did nothing wrong, the police would’ve realized he did nothing wrong, and then all parties would’ve gone peacefully on their merry ways. Unfortunately, this is not the way the system of policing works for many people of color.

When I was in high school, my bored friends and I would frequently do dumb things to pass the time. One of the dumbest things we enjoyed doing was running from the cops. We were fit 17 and 18-year-old kids full of boredom, white privilege, and a strong sense of invincibility.

A group of us went to a local park, called the police from a pay phone and told the dispatcher that there was a fight in the park. To ensure a sense of urgency during the phone call we would yell and smash glass bottles in the background. We would then wait the short amount of time that it would take to see a cop car pulling up before taking off running. We knew the area well and also believed we could not be caught and we never were.

Now is this the reason Kajuan Raye ran? Maybe, but it’s not likely

Having taught in Chicago Public Schools for ten years, I’ve heard many, many stories from my students about the police harassing them, far too often, for no reason. In my first year teaching, one of my students came to my 1st period class crying. This 15-year-old kid told me how the police came speeding up on him while he was walking to school. They urgently got out of their cars cursing with their guns drawn. They made him lay in the snow before eventually realizing he was not who they were looking for. He was simply walking to school.

So did Kajuan run out of fear of police harassment? Maybe.

Maybe he ran because he was aware that Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray died while in police custody. Maybe he ran because Chicago still operates Homan Square, a secret detention site used to torture our own citizens and he was in fear of being taken to a place like that.

Or maybe he ran because he was aware that in Chicago alone, Rekia Boyd was murdered by a cop for no reason other than being outside at night, Bettie Jones was murdered by a cop for no other reason than opening her door and Joshua Beal was murdered by a cop because he was blocking a fire lane.

Maybe these are the reasons he ran.

Regardless of why he ran, we know that the police were called because of reports of a battery that happened relatively close to where Kajuan Raye happened to be waiting for the bus. Kajuan ran. A cop said Kajuan pointed a gun at him, twice. The cop shot him in the back and killed him.

Yet no gun has been found.

So instead of asking why he ran, instead of digging through a teenager’s Facebook profile to imply that he deserved to die, maybe ask why did the police shoot a kid for running? Why did the officer lie about the gun? What is the name of the officer who did this?

These are the questions we should be asking.

But because Kajuan is Black and was killed by the police, we instead look for any and every possible way to justify his death.

Thankfully I’m not dead from running from the police when I was younger. Kajuan Raye who did less than I did, should not be dead either.

View this piece on the Huffington Post by clicking here.

What Mount Greenwood’s Reaction To Joshua Beal’s Death Says About White Chicago

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 Chicago Sun-Times
Joshua Beal who was in Chicago for a funeral, was killed Saturday by an off duty Chicago Police Officer. The reason an off duty police officer felt the need to start waving his gun around and pointing it at a lot of different people is baffling. To see the video click here.

I, however, don’t want to focus on the killing itself ― I want to focus on the reaction of white people. Specifically in Mount Greenwood where the incident occurred. Last night, hours after his death, while people gathered to support Josh’s family, some residents of Mount Greenwood came out of their homes with Blue Lives Matter flags to apparently show that Black people are not welcome in Mount Greenwood. Instead of letting people grieve the loss of a life, these white residents thought it appropriate to call them names and tell them to leave “their” neighborhood. To see this video click here.
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Photo courtesy of Black Lives Matter Chicago
It would be easy to write that group of flag waving people off as not representative of the Mount Greenwood neighborhood, but unfortunately that neighborhood has a very long history of trying to stay white while keeping black people out.

It was a common saying for Black Chicagoans who lived in the Morgan Park, Beverly, and Roseland areas in the ‘90s to say, “Don’t go west of Western,” because you would be venturing into Mount Greenwood.

While White Chicago likes to try to cover up our racism, Mount Greenwood has historically been a neighborhood that flaunts racism more openly.

Are all White people in Mount Greenwood blatantly racist? Hopefully not, but because of its past, not being racist in Mount Greenwood is difficult. It is tough to not be racist as a white person in America, period, but some places like Mount Greenwood make it harder than others.

Here is a brief history of Mount Greenwood’s racist past:
In 1968, the Chicago Tribune published an article about how 11 Black elementary students wanted to attend an elementary school in Mount Greenwood. White parents protested the fact that Black students would be going to “their” school.

In 1992 the New York Times wrote an article about the feeling the White residents of Mount Greenwod had about Black people. One of the quotes among many that stuck out was, “’I don’t mind them, but I don’t want them living next to me,’ said Peggy O’Connor, a waitress and wife of a police officer. ‘I don’t want to be too close to them. I think they’ve been whining too long, and I’m sick of it.’”

Also in 1992 the Chicago Reader wrote about how the residents of Mount Greenwood did not want a new magnet high school built in their community. Some of the reasons that people cited of why they didn’t want students from other schools to come to this new school is because, “’You have felons in that school’ referring to the schools in other communities, and we don’t want, ‘more noisy, littering, grass-stomping students.’” The residents perpetuated stereotypes of Black people being lazy, criminal, loud and messy.

In 2008, seven of the Black students who had integrated that Mount Greenwood elementary school in 1968 returned for their 40th elementary reunion. They were greeted with a Swastika on the door of the school and people across the street telling them to “Go back to your old school”.

In 2010 on a community blog someone described a scene in which a group of white teenagers on a summer evening started chasing people and yelling, “all sp*cs and ni**ers out of the fu**ing park!”.

In 2014 at McNally’s, a bar in Mount Greenwood a Police offIcer could be heard saying, “There are too many Black people in here”.

Also in 2014 racist graffiti was found in 6 different locations in the area including the N-word being spray painted onto vehicles.

The reason for this history lesson is because as a white person I know that we love to try to pretend that racism does not exist or it is something that is over with. The tragic murder of another Black person by an off duty officer and the reactions of the community to the death, show us once again that racism is alive and well.

The options are simple as white people. We can work to change the system of policing by admitting there is a problem with it. Once we admit the system of policing has a problem we can then work to fix it. This option would benefit our whole society. People of color wouldn’t need to fear the police, the police would feel safer, and then white people wouldn’t have to hear as much about racism.

The other option is we can get defensive, chant “Blue Lives Matter,” wave the American flag when someone is killed, call Black people names, wear Confederate flag shirts, and just continue the systems that let policing and white supremacy operate unchecked in our city and country.

Clearly by these videos, video 1 and video 2, far too many people are choosing my second option…

To view this article on the Huffington Post please click here.