CHICAGO—Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis, NBCT, is among 100 scholars, politicians, athletes and civic leaders selected for the class of 2013 by theGrio.com, NBC’s online news community site devoted to stories and perspectives that reflect and affect African-Americans. Each year, theGrio’s 100 honors Black history by celebrating influential individuals in a number of fields who strive to make a difference in the lives of all Americans.
“This is such a humbling honor to be among some of the most gifted minds in our nation,” Lewis said. “It’s wonderful to be recognized, but this recognition isn’t just for me—this is for all of Chicago’s public school educators, and the children and families who inspire me to do the work each day.”
Lewis, a graduate of Dartmouth College, is a national board certified chemistry teacher who taught in Chicago’s public schools for 22 years before becoming president of the 30,000-member CTU in the nation’s third-largest school district in 2010. She was chosen for “theGrio’s 100” for her strong and galvanizing leadership during the CTU strike in the summer of 2012, when she put the spotlight back on urban education and became a national spokeswoman for public school educators, labor rights and the need for education equality and justice for families in America’s inner cities. At the end of the eight-day strike, the Union won important concessions limiting much of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s draconian reform program.
Lewis remains a leader on the national stage and an outspoken advocate against the privatization of public education and the impact of poverty on student academic performance.
The fourth-annual “theGrio’s 100” list shines a light on African-American history makers and industry leaders who are fostering change in their local communities and nationwide. Other honorees include former U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, NFL linebacker Oladele Ayanbadejo, Best Actress Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis, and Ariel Investments, LLC President Mellody Hobson, among others.