It’s past time for politicians who promise real change, real equity and real hope to make good on those promises

CHICAGO, September 23, 2020—Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey issued the following statement today in response to news that the Kentucky Attorney General will not charge the officer who murdered Breonna Taylor:

“For Black lives to matter, the lives of Black and Brown people must be valued in our courts and in our public institutions. Instead, this decision not to prosecute Breonna Taylor’s killers simply reinforces a status quo that treats Black lives as disposable, unimportant and unvalued.

“We struggle with this dynamic in Chicago every day, where Black and Latinx neighborhoods are starved of resources while those same communities bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic and police violence. We were promised change; instead, we see bridges raised to protect the property of the privileged, while Black and Brown Chicagoans struggle under the weight of inequality in health care, wages, housing and basic human rights. Even our students struggle every day under the lash of punitive discipline that feeds the school-to-prison pipeline instead of supporting their emotional development and well-being.

“It’s past time for politicians who promise real change, real equity and real hope to make good on those promises. We can start with a sweeping re-imagining of public safety that addresses white supremacy and the root causes of inequality and institutionalized racism. We can start with a Civilian Police Accountability Council.

“The mayor should also support Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez’ call to create a citywide Crisis Response & Care System to connect people in need with mental health professionals instead of police, and embrace Sen. Robert Peters’ Pretrial Fairness Act, which would end pretrial bond and dramatically reduce the number of people incarcerated while awaiting trial in Illinois. The mayor must also move immediately to remove police from our schools and replace them with counselors, clinicians and social workers who will provide nurturing and support. Anything less in this moment is a betrayal of the promise for real change, and a rejection of the demand for real justice.”

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at