Lightfoot’s CPS team has not yet committed to the kind of grassroots outreach needed to maximize vaccination access in hard-hit communities, which have suffered from segregation, disinvestment and inequity for decades.
- 3:30 p.m., Wed., July 14: press conference with rank and file CTU educators and officers, Lawndale Community Academy, 3500 W. Douglass Blvd., Chicago
CHICAGO — Rank-and-file members of the Chicago Teachers Union will take to the streets in North Lawndale Wednesday — doing what CPS should be doing — going door-to-door helping residents obtain life-saving COVID-19 vaccinations. The outreach is part of CTU’s Summer Organizing Institute, a four-week intensive program that trains members in the grassroots organizing that is the heart of the Union’s work.
CTU members will meet at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14 at Lawndale Community Academy, 3500 W. Douglass Boulevard, for a brief press conference, and will then fan out into the community to share information with residents about a vaccine event the Union is co-hosting with Illinois Rep. Lakesia Collins on Thursday. Vaccines will be available to residents at Collins’ office, 2165 S. Millard, Thursday, July 15, from 2 – 6 p.m.
The CTU was the first union in the country to win student and family vaccinations as part of a reopening agreement ratified in April. Since then, the Union has sponsored a series of vaccine opportunities and partnered with CPS on additional events. But vaccination rates for the neighborhoods in which Chicago’s Black and Brown public students live — neighborhoods that have been devastated disproportionately by the pandemic — still lag behind vaccination rates in predominantly white neighborhoods.
CPS recently announced it will offer vaccines at more sites for students and families on the South and West Sides of the city. But Mayor Lightfoot’s CPS team has not yet committed to the kind of grassroots outreach needed to maximize vaccination access in hard-hit communities that have also suffered from segregation, disinvestment and inequity for decades — among them West Englewood, Gage Park, North Lawndale, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, Roseland, Archer Heights, Washington Heights, Austin, Montclare, South Deering, Belmont Cragin, Humboldt Park, La Villita, and Back of the Yards. CPS has also so far failed to agree to the CTU’s call for an 80 percent baseline vaccination rate for eligible students, as a key component to reopening schools safely in the fall.
The vast majority of Chicago’s Black and Brown families chose to keep their students out of public school buildings this spring, and the Union is calling on CPS to build trust among families concerned about their children’s safety by providing every school community with the resources to help families recover and heal from the pandemic’s ravages.