We are at an historic moment, on the precipice of securing a more just and equitable city for everyone in Chicago.
If we want fully funded schools and a mayor who respects our work as educators, we must elect our union brother Brandon Johnson mayor of Chicago. No other candidate in the race will bring the change our schools and city need — not Mayor Lightfoot and certainly not Paul Vallas, whose reign as CPS CEO unleashed the decades of disinvestment and destabilization we still grapple with in our classrooms today.
Imagine what it would be like to have a teacher and organizer as mayor, someone who has looked into the eyes of our students and seen the promise and potential of our young people and the obstacles too many face in our under-resourced school communities.
Imagine if we had a mayor who governed by collaboration, by bringing stakeholders together instead of driving them apart because of petty, personal vendettas. Or, a mayor who understands that resources and investment matter more than standardized test scores and that your zip code should not determine whether you go to a well-resourced school. Or, a mayor who is willing to ensure that educators have paid family leave and migrant students have access to the bilingual resources they need to grow and thrive in our city.
Brandon Johnson will be that mayor.
Brandon is the only candidate who has put forth a plan to invest in our schools and neighborhoods, without raising property taxes. He is the only candidate with a meaningful public safety plan that addresses the root causes of violence and invests in people and communities. And he is the only candidate who has a plan to pay for desperately needed new investments by asking the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share.
Our members endorsed Brandon because, as an educator, he knows firsthand what it means to manage a classroom without the necessary resources. He understands that good paying, union jobs with retirement security are a pathway to the middle class, especially for Black and Brown families and women-headed households.
That is why, in the final weeks of the campaign, polls show Brandon surging and poised to make the April 4 runoff. He is crisscrossing the city, meeting with voters and spreading the vision of our movement. And when people meet, hear from and learn about Brandon, they want him in City Hall.
This election is about the multi-generational, multi-ethnic, multi-racial movement of working people we have built in coalition with our allies for the last decade. It is a movement that is standing for Chicagoans in every neighborhood in the city.
Make no mistake, there are interests who are seriously worried about losing power and they are not sitting by idly. They are dumping millions into dark money super PACs aimed at stopping Brandon and other education champions from gaining the power to change lives.
That is why every one of us must act in this moment to ensure Brandon makes it into the April 4 run off. Brandon is doing his part — Mayor Lightfoot’s own poll shows he is surging — but we must do ours.
Sign up to canvass or phone bank before Feb. 28 and get five of your friends or colleagues to join you. Help work a poll near your school or home after work on election day. And donate what you can to help Brandon make it over the finish line.
This month, we commemorated the loss of our beloved Karen Lewis two years ago. Through her many decades of service and dedication, Karen taught us the importance of fighting for equity and educational justice.
A part of Karen’s legacy is this moment. She inspired our movement to have the audacity to organize a multi racial and multi generational movement to build the city and schools Chicagoans deserve.
Stacy Davis Gates