Social Issues May 23, 2013
Awesome Speech By Chicago 3rd Grader Might Have Saved His School

The young guy in this video is Asean Johnson, a 9-year-old boy in the 3rd grade at Marcus Garvey Elementary school in Chicago.

In late March, the Chicago Public School District announced plans to close 54 schools in the city, including Asean's.

This week, there have been protests against the closures, as critics said closing these schools is like closing the communities.

That's where Asean comes in.

At a rally on Monday, he walked up to the mic and let city officials have it - including Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel - with an amazing speech about why these schools should stay open.

"You should be investing in these schools, not closing them. You should be supporting these schools, not closing them," Asean said. "We shall not be moved today. We're going to City Hall... We are not going down without a fight."

Asean also had this to say: "It is 90 percent of school closings [that affect] African Americans. This is racism right here."


Despite the protests, the Board of Education voted 6-0 to close 49 schools and transfer thousands of children to new classrooms.

But Asean's school - Marcus Garvey Elementary - was spared. Coincidence?

Last week, the Chicago Teachers Union filed two federal lawsuits to try to block the district from closing the schools.

After the vote, Mayor Emanuel released a statement saying the decision was "incredibly difficult" but he added "I firmly believe the most important thing we can do as a city is provide the next generation with a brighter future."

Emanuel, who was once President Barack Obama's chief of staff, wants to downsize Chicago's school system. He says it will help the city cut its huge budget deficit and allow it to make more efficient use of resources.


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