Jewish Community Rallies Against School Closings With Letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—April 17, 2013. Jewish community members will gather on Thursday, April 18th at 4:30 p.m. to deliver a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel that demands an end to the planned CPS school closings.  Organized by the group Jewish Solidarity and Action for Schools (JSAS), the letter calls on Jews and the greater community “to show our public officials, Jewish and non-Jewish, that while CPS’s ill-conceived and destabilizing reforms put some children at risk more than others, the resistance will come from people of all ages, races, and neighborhoods.”

In this spirit the group will arrive at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office with cries of “Don’t cut down the tree of knowledge!” and “What would your Bubbie say?”  There, Rabbi Brant Rosen will lead the group in prayer before the delivery of the letter.

Citing the disproportionate effect of the school closings on African American and Latino neighborhoods, the letter expresses outrage at the racism inherent in the school closings.  It reads: “These discriminatory school closings fly in the face of our Jewish and human values…The proposed school closings would exacerbate inequity, particularly along lines of race and class.  They would undermine the promise of our education system to be open to all of us, no matter what neighborhood we live in… Although injustice may not affect all of us equally, we all must struggle together for our liberation.”  The letter is signed by over 150 Jews including important Rabbis and religious leaders from the Chicago area.

This event is part of JSAS’s ongoing participation in the movement to stop school closings, led by the Chicago Teachers’ Union and Grassroots Education Movement. JSAS formed as a place for the Jewish community to stand in solidarity and act for education justice in the city of Chicago and beyond.