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CTU officers, impacted teachers and community partners will speak at a press conference before the Chicago Board of Education meeting tomorrow, July 27 at 9 a.m., at CPS headquarters, 42 W. Madison.

CHICAGO, July 26, 2022Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates issued the following statement today regarding Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s move to fire two environmental activists and George Washington High School educators for their participation in protests against General Iron’s proposed move to the Southeast Side:

“The mayor is running this city straight from the Ron DeSantis playbook. The ink isn’t even dry on a federal investigation from President Joe Biden’s Department of Housing and Urban Development which found that the City violated the civil rights of Black and brown Chicagoans by trying to move a known pollutant — General Iron — into their communities. Now, the mayor is doubling down on that callous decision with another, by firing two well-respected, near-tenured George Washington High School educators who used their voice to advocate for the safety of their students and the Southeast Side community.

“At a time of attacks on educators from red states and Republican lawmakers for teaching the truth about our country’s history, it’s disgraceful that educators are targeted by the mayor for protecting their students and their school communities. We teach youth the importance of our democracy, the sacred nature of first amendment rights, and the need to be part of an engaged constituency, so it’s disappointing to see the leader of this city trampling democracy for no reason other than vindictiveness and retaliation.

“Remember, the George Washington High School building was literally falling apart and the ceiling collapsing on students and workers at the end of the school year. This happened after community organizations forced Lightfoot to keep General Iron from operating a toxic metal shredding and recycling plant in their community — a move the federal government has deemed a racist violation of civil rights. So the mayor is furthering that destabilization by firing educators for teaching the truth about her policies that were exacerbating racial disparities in the 10th Ward.

“It’s an affront to racial and environmental justice, and an attack on educators’ and students’ rights, that has sadly become the hallmark of this administration.”

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 www.ctulocal1.org.