FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Saturday, April 22, 2017
For more information contact:
CPS OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
CHICAGO - On the eve of a critical court decision in CPS’ civil rights lawsuit against the State, more than 200 houses of worship are supporting “CPS Sabbath” this weekend and raising awareness of the State’s separate and unequal education funding system that racially discriminates against Chicago’s students.
Together, the faith leaders will urge the state to end the racially discriminatory funding system that has deprived our students of $500 million this year alone.
CPS CEO Forrest Claypool and Chief Education Officer Janice K. Jackson will again join worshippers this weekend to discuss the urgency of ending the State’s discrimination. CEO Claypool and CEdO Jackson will be available to media after addressing the 1:30 service at Christian Faith for All Nations, 4750 N. Sheridan.
“The fight to end racial discrimination against Chicago’s students will be fought in the court, in the pews and in Springfield – and this broad support shows that the community understands what is at stake for Chicago students, families and educators,” CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said. “Together with faith leaders, members of the community and families, we’re sending a clear and united message that racial discrimination against CPS students will not be tolerated.”
“CPS Sabbath represents a strong display of unity for our school district,” CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson said. “The State of Illinois believes that racial discrimination is allowed under the law, and we’re fighting to hold them accountable. We’re grateful for the support and enthusiasm demonstrated by the faith community, not only to fight against unequal funding but also to remind our students that they are worthy of the same resources their peers receive in other parts of Illinois.”
On Feb. 14, 2017, five CPS families and the Board of Education sued to end the State of Illinois’ discriminatory funding system. Since then, Gov. Rauner’s attorneys have argued in court that Chicago children should “make do” with “bubble gum and baling wire” while predominantly white students in the rest of Illinois benefit from more resources.
Leaders of congregations joining the civil rights campaign said:
- “This is a matter of Civil Rights! To the Governor, if the numbers are wrong refute them, but if you cannot refute them then at least institute economic educational equality for all the children in Illinois," said Bishop Simon Gordon of Tried Stone Church of Chicago. "Again, if you cannot refute the disparity, institute equity with integrity!”
- “The year is 2017, and black and brown Chicagoans are still the victims of state-sponsored discrimination,” said Rev. Stan Davis, Executive Director of the Council of Religious Leaders of Chicago. “We will not be silenced, and we will unify to oppose this great injustice of our time.”
- "Here in Chicago we are blessed with community, resolve, and unwavering unity in support of our students and our schools,” said Rev. Lou Ramos of Storehouse Church. “The children of Chicago are our future, and on Sunday, we will come together and make sure our communities and elected officials know what is at stake.”
- “It's time to end discrimination against students of color once and for all,” said Rev. Leon Finney Jr. of Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church. “This weekend, we will gather to demand a timely resolution to this racial discrimination that has plagued our students and communities for far too long.”
- “Obviously this is a civil rights issue,” said Rev. Michael Pfleger of the Faith Community of St. Sabina. “This is a moral issue about the education of our children, about the constitutional right that they deserve to have a good education and complete the school year. All I heard the State come back with is number one that they have a right to discriminate if they want to and secondly that why should the rest of the state be hurt just because the black and brown children are being hurt.”
Since announcing the lawsuit, faith leaders, CPS families, and civil rights activists have joined CPS in its effort to raise awareness and encourage a swift resolution in order to secure funding for the rest of the school year. Members of the City Council Black caucus, Latino caucus, as well as leaders of the faith and business communities have filed amicus briefs in support of the civil rights lawsuit.
Earlier this week in a court hearing, lawyers for Gov. Rauner doubled down on their argument that Chicago children deserve less and that the State is legally allowed to discriminate against Chicago students. In court, his lawyers even argued that Chicago children don’t need equal funding because they “were able to make do through additional revenues. Through borrowing. And through cuts. Whatever they can do. As my colleague likes to say, bubble gum and baling wire. And they were able to make do.”
Forcing Chicago students to “make do” with “bubble gum and baling wire” while other students get more resources has no place in the 21st Century.
The judge is set to rule on the case on April 28, 2017. A map of participating congregations can be found at bit.ly/fairfundingcps
For additional information on the Board’s lawsuit and the need for equal funding, visit equality