CTU had hundreds of rank and file members and allies volunteering on Election Day, supporting the Workers Rights Amendment and collecting signatures to get Brandon Johnson on the ballot for mayor and CTU members Lori Torres and Mueze Bawany on the ballot for alderperson. CTU member Paula Ladin, a teacher at Prieto Math and Science Academy, provided this report of her day out in the field.
Like many of us, I feel very concerned looking at political trends since 2016. So many of our families in CPS are not getting the resources or services they need. I’ve worked on elections in the past and support the progressive grassroots bloc that has been growing on the Northwest Side for the past dozen years or so. I want to help keep that coalition growing strong.
So, when my union rep announced that CTU was looking for election day volunteers I stepped up. But, for me, canvassing is a lot like exercising. It’s hard to get up the motivation to do it, but once you get to the gym you feel better.
I spent a couple hours out in the field at Chopin Elementary School in West Town. Three other CPS teachers joined me. We were getting signatures on petitions for mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson and Lori Torres Whitt, who is running for alderperson in the newly drawn 36th Ward.
Brandon and Lori are inspirational candidates, committed to transforming our city into a place where working people can thrive. The people we spoke with were very receptive and friendly.A few of them were even fellow CPS teachers voting at that polling place. With one seasoned gentleman, we talked about Karen and reminisced about the 2016 and 2012 strikes.
It was a cold day in contrast to the 70 degree weather we’d had the week before. But once you start talking to people, you get energized and if you’ve got a good coat, hat and gloves, the cold doesn’t bother you because canvassing is a very rewarding activity.
It can be an antidote to feeling helpless or hopeless. It’s effective, it puts us in the community, and you always meet at least one new person who also really cares, which is heartening. So I encourage my CTU colleagues to give it a shot. CTU will provide the materials you need and help you get your rap down. Remember, as teachers, we spend all day talking to people — after a little practice, you’ll be a pro.
Editor’s note: The mayoral election is Feb. 28 so get your warm gloves on and sign up to volunteer to help Brandon Johnson’s campaign for mayor and Lori Torres and Mueze Bawany’s aldermanic campaigns.