CHICAGO–On Friday, the Chicago Teachers Union along with several organizations including the “Fight for 15”, low-wage workers from fast food restaurants executed a one-day strike throughout the city in protest of the Illinois State budget cuts.

The day of action included an early morning with members of the Chicago Teachers Union positioning staff pickets at schools. Roosevelt High School was the kick-off with Fight for $15 demonstrators blocking the entrance of a near-by McDonalds. Several schools were utilize as the meet up including Harlan High School where nursing home workers joined teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians marching to Chicago State University for a teach-in.

As the day progressed, CSU students along with members from BYP100 and others, forced police to shut down the Southbound 95th St. exit on the Dan Ryan expressway. Protestors marched to the Red Line train station temporarily creating a traffic headache for police authorities.

From a news conference held at the Nabisco Plant where unions stood in solidarity over 600 jobs being lost to SEIU’s childcare march to the Ambassador Nursing and Rehab on the North Side.

The one-day strike presented no jokester and pranks on April Fools Day. The serious nature as described by one union representative as ‘Armageddon’ was demonstrated by thousands of Illinois residents who joined forces at the Thompson Center–a stone’s throw from City Hall and Daley Center.  CTU President Karen Lewis charged up the crowd with thunderous roar of unity for the thousands in attendance–calling out Emanuel for the contractual issues plagued by Rauner’s refusal to release state monies to save CPS from further debt. Reverend Jesse Jackson also was onstage addressing many with his signature, ‘I am somebody.’ cheer preparing attendees for the march.

Throughout the sea of people flowing onto Randolph and Clark St., nothing was more colorful and explanatory than the creative signs displaying harsh feelings for Governor Rauner, Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool over the past year’s political fiasco. People from all cultural, economic and academic backgrounds marched together–some holding their small children while others wheeled their loved ones. Each group fighting for a different cause but all understanding the meaning of Public Enemy’s infamous song, “Shut It Down”.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Photo Credit: Mary L. Datcher/Chicago Defender

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