Society

9-Year-Old Galvanizes Protest Against Chicago School Closings (Video)

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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A 9-year-old boy in Chicago inspired demonstrators with his speech at Monday's rally protesting a city plan that will close dozens of Chicago public schools. Touted as the future mayor of Chicago, Asean Johnson has spoken at school board meetings and hearings in the past. His school, Marcus Garvey Math and Science School, is one of those listed to close.

“We are not toys,” Johnson announced to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We are not going down without a fight.”

As noted by The Grio, if Johnson’s school closes, he will moved to Mount Vernon Elementary, which reportedly has lower test scores than Garvey.

Chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced in March that 53 elementary schools and one high school would be closed in an effort to close a $1 billion budget gap. The schools listed were considered “underutilized” and “low-performing.”

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Asean and other demonstrators say the schools being closed target African-American and Hispanic communities.

“No matter what the color is … it doesn’t matter. You should not be closing these schools without walking into them, seeing what is happening in these schools.”

“Education is our right, “ Johnson led the crowd in chant, “that is why we have to fight.”

His mother, Shoniece Reynolds, started a petition on Change.org to keep Marcus Garvey Math and Science School open.

Petition signer Marc Hoover said he signed because “This School has been a Pilar in the community for years and consistently has the top test scores of schools in Chicago and definitely in the neighborhood.”

“I wanted to be there to support my school and for the other schools that are closing, because really, I think that no school should be closing,” he told theGrio.

Sources: ChicagoisttheGrio