It’s important to remember that as Chicago’s school buildings re-open, that students going back won’t be greeted with mental health experts. They will be met by police. We need to reimagine our schools and what supports our students should have to help them, instead of the looming threat of arrest against them. I was honored to be on a panel discussing what our students should have instead of police put on by Raise Your Hand Illinois. To watch the full panel featuring CPS students, parents, educators and elected officials click here. #CopsOutCPS #PoliceFreeSchools
I was interviewed on a new podcast to discuss why schools should only open remotely this fall. My interview starts just after 18 mins. in. Before is a principal from New York City Public Schools and after me is the head of the Milwaukee Educators Association.
After weeks of teachers, parents, and students expressing their fears with the proposed hybrid model by Chicago Public Schools, CPS announced they would start the school year remotely. I was asked back on Fox 32 to discuss that decision.
After my blog post about why schools should be remote only this fall gained popularity, Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens interviewed me. She wrote this column based on a conversation that we had.
On Friday June 12th, I was on the We Still Teach TV show where I got to discuss the Reparations Won curriculum. This episode also featured one of my students and an amazing documentary about the struggle for equity in Chicago Public Schools.
I was a part of this virtual panel sponsored by Raise Your Hand and the Chicago Teachers Union.
Listen in to youth leaders, parents, educators, and stakeholders discuss their experiences with SROs, the current organizing around removing SROs in schools, and why they believe cops should be out of schools.
This is a piece that I had published in the Chicago Reporter about why all Chicago’s schools and every school system in the country should have police free schools.
During our Chicago Educators Strike during the fall of 2019, a group of educators including myself were on the John King radio show on WGN talking about why we were striking. Spoiler we were striking in an attempt to give our students EVERYTHING that the deserve. You can listen to our interview here.
Chicago Public Schools finally replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day
My maternal grandfather Dominick Colella came over from Italy when he was 12 years old. At that time our country was far more welcoming to immigrants and his family was allowed to come here for a better life. I always looked up to my grandfather. He was a story teller, a hard worker, and someone who cared about people. I looked up to him so much that I named my first born child after him.
It’s important to find honorable people that inspire us and that we can look up to. As someone with Italian ancestry let me just reiterate what many have been saying for generations…Christopher Columbus is not it.
Growing up I always heard the tired regurgitated lines of “…in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered America…”. It wasn’t until college that I learned that when Columbus came to America he raped, enslaved, murdered, and tortured indigenous Arawak people. Columbus never deserved a holiday. The recent step by Chicago Public Schools to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day is one Native Americans and other activists have been fighting for for years.
There are many other, appropriate, Italian Americans that could be celebrated if Italian Americans felt that they needed someone to look up to.
Chicago Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th Ward) and Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st Ward) are extremely opposed to replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. But let’s be clear, Alderman Sposato and Alderman Napolitano don’t really care about celebrating Columbus or not, they are threatened by the idea of anyone trying to challenge their problematic white history. They are fragile white people, both of them are textbook examples of white fragility. For these Alderman who are clearly unaware of what white fragility is, “it is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves”. For example, Alderman Sposato saying he will bring an “army of Italians” to the next Board of Education meeting and the fact that he even tries to compare Columbus and Dr. King.
As a white person, as someone who has half Italian ethnicity, I’m embarrassed by their actions and their resistance to replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.
Teaching true history is necessary in our society. There are age appropriate ways to teach the truth about Columbus to children. Last year I had my high school students research what Columbus actually did and then create 1st grade age-appropriate yet historically accurate books. The students then took the books to a local elementary school and read the books to the 1st graders there. Many resources exist already to teach children of all ages what Columbus actually did. Many states and cities have stopped celebrating the holiday.
In time, nearly all people will realize that honoring a raping murder is not a good idea. It’s time that white people, especially Italian American white people, speak up. The name Columbus, should be said with the same disgust as the name Hitler, Mussolini, and every other person who has committed atrocities in history. The Columbus “holiday” needs to be erased from the fabric of our country.
It is now time for all of Chicago to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day.
It is beyond time to honor the people who were here first.
To view this piece on ChicagoNow click here.