By Michelle Strater Gunderson for Living in Dialogue. Chicago, IL - September 19, 2015. The hunger strike for Dyett High School ended this morning on day 34. Once again I headed to the south side to be with my friends and fellow education fighters known as the Dyett Twelve. Education activists had been told that the hunger strikers would have an announcement this morning, and many of us converged at the Rainbow Push Coalition broadcast to be there in support. I sit in the pews behind Cathy Dale and Jeanette Taylor-Ramann – two women who I have come to love and respect through this struggle. After 34 days of fasting the hunger strikers have an other-worldly presence. They seem so strong and focused, yet vulnerable at the same time.
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By Mackenzie McDonald Wilkins of Popular Resistance. Washington, DC - Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) fasted in solidarity with organizers and hunger strikers working to reopen the Dyett High School with a green energy curriculum. This was the 9th day of the BXE fast and the 30th day of the Dyett hunger strike. BXE is fasting at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) demanding an end to all new fossil fuel infrastructure permits. Their continued permitting of fossil fuel projects disproportionately impacts poor folks and people of color due to project placement (like many LNG terminals in the Gulf South that need FERC approval) and climate change (like Katrina or Sandy).
By Michelle Gunderson in Living In Dialogue - We sit under the trees at Dyett High School yet again on Sunday night. The Dyett 12 hunger strikers sit in a tight circle while a crowd of over a hundred of Chicago’s activists listen in. I know almost every face in this crowd. They are people who understand struggle and know what the word solidarity truly means. It is day 22 of a hunger strike to re-open Dyett High School as an open enrollment school that is community supported and community sustained. The activists are here to see what the hunger strikers are asking and to have their guidance in how to support them. Last Thursday Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, held a press conference to announce that a compromise had been made. Dyett High School would open as an open enrollment high school with an arts focus and a technology component.
By Melissa Sanchez and Kalyn Belsha in Catalyst Chicago - Dyett High School will reopen a year from now as a neighborhood high school, but not with a focus on green energy, as community activists have been demanding for years — most recently through a hunger strike that is now on its 18th day. Nor will the Washington Park school have a focus on sports business, as the former principal proposed, or become a privately run contract school focused on the arts, as an arts organization proposed. Instead, CPS officials announced Thursday, Dyett will be an open-enrollment, arts-focused neighborhood high school and community innovation lab. CPS officials said the school will keep its name, thereby continuing to honor the legacy of Walter H. Dyett, a CPS music teacher credited with producing some of Chicago’s best jazz artists. “It is something that really represents the will of the community, and more importantly than anything else, the needs of the children who live in Bronzeville and the surrounding areas,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool during a press conference at CPS Central Office.
By Ted Cox in DNAInfo - Chicago Public Schools will launch an open-enrollment, neighborhood arts school at Dyett High School, district officials announced Thursday. In doing so, they circumvented a formal request for proposals on the school by coming up with a concept of their own, not submitted in the conventional process. "Ultimately, the goal was to do what was right for the children," said Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool in making the announcement at CPS headquarters. Yet the dozen Dyett hunger strikers urging acceptance of their proposal for a Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School were quick to signal their disappointment outside after the announcement was made. "The hunger strike is not over," said Jeanette Ramann. "CPS did not follow its own process."