CHICAGO, September 23, 2020Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey issued the following statement today in response to news that the Kentucky Attorney General will not charge the officer for the shots that killed Breonna Taylor.
"For Black lives to matter, the lives of Black and Brown people must be valued in our courts and in our public institutions. Instead, this decision not to prosecute Breonna Taylor's killers simply reinforces a status quo that treats Black lives as disposable, unimportant and unvalued.
"We struggle with this dynamic in Chicago every day, where Black and Latinx neighborhoods are starved of resources even as those community residents bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic and the abiding weight of police violence. We were promised change, when instead we see bridges again being raised to protect the property of elites while hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown Chicagoans struggle under the weight of ongoing and profound inequality in health care, wages, housing and basic human rights. Our students in CPS struggle every day under the lash of punitive discipline that feeds the school-to-prison pipeline instead of supporting their mental and emotional development and well-being.
"It's long past time for public officials who promised Chicago's people real change, real equity and real hope to at last make good on those promises. We can start with a sweeping re-imagining of public safety that ends racist police repression and instead addresses the root causes of inequality and institutionalized racism in our civic institutions.
"The mayor should support Chicago Alderman Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez' call to create a city-wide Crisis Response & Care System to connect people in need with mental health professionals instead of cops, and embrace Senator Robert Peters' Pretrial Fairness Act, which ends racist, classist cash bond policies. And the mayor must move immediately to defund cops in our schools and replace them with caring clinical professionals who are there to nurture and support our Black and Brown schoolchildren. Anything less in this moment is a betrayal of the promise for real changeand a rejection of the demand for real justice."
The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in schools funded by City of Chicago School District 299, and by extension, over 350,000 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 .