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Thousands march on Michigan Ave. in support of striking teachers

Updated: September 11, 2012 9:40PM



Thousands of Chicago teachers and their supporters marched in the Loop again Tuesday, closing down the southbound lanes of Michigan Avenue and other busy streets at rush hour as they made their way to Buckingham Fountain.


A crowd of about 2,000 gathered outside of Chicago Public School Headquarters, 125 S. Clark, and received plenty of support from passing motorists, many of whom are slowing down and honking their horns. As the afternoon wore on, thousands more joined the march as they made their way through downtown; the crowd stretched for blocks.

The teachers were upset over how the city diverts tax increment financing money from the schools to help some of the city’s largest corporations, like the financial district downtown.

“Silly rich guy, Tifs are for kids!” one sign read. Another: “Tax Wall Street.”

“Tired of getting the Rahm-around,” another sign read.

Several teachers and other CPS staff said they couldn’t make Monday’s rally, so they were particularly energized Tuesday.


“I’m a newcomer,” said Cynthia Lenow, a laid-off CPS payroll clerk. “I’m ready. I couldn’t come out yesterday, but I couldn’t let them down. ... I don’t think this is going to wane. Our livelihood is on the line.”


By 2:15 p.m., police began moving barricades to accommodate the crowd at the initial rally. Chanting, “Union Power!” CTU teachers and their supporters blocked the intersection at Clark and Adams.

The crowd, fired up by the presence of Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, greeted the Lewis with cheers of “C-T-U!”

Lewis ventured into the crowd, waving, smiling and giving hugs. She was instantly surrounded by a swarm of red shirts.

The crowd then marched west on Adams and south on LaSalle, then past the Chicago Board of Trade chanting “Whose schools? Our schools!” before heading back north on Dearborn.

Throughout, protesters remained in a jubilant mood, obeying police orders to wait at intersections until cars have passed by.

Several teachers at the rally were asked about those parents and the rest of the public who may be losing patience with teachers.

“It’s a no-win situation,” said Christine Hauville, a music teacher at Jane Addams Elementary School. “I don’t have children, so it’s easy for me to come out here, but I have a lot of co-workers who have young kids. They have to make [child care] arrangements. So it’s not easy

for anyone. I’d rather be teaching music.”




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