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Health Professionals Challenge Mayor Emanuel to End Hunger Strike #WeAreDyett

Twelve parents from Bronzeville and allies from communities across Chicago launch a hunger strike in front of Dyett High School to call out the injustice suffered at the hands of CPS and the appointed Board of Education and to demand the adoption of the Global Leadership and Green Technology plan for Dyett.
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On August 17th Chicago parents embarked on a Journey For Justice, Education Justice. After more than fifteen years of struggle, the people felt determined to secure moral justness. Twelve parents from communities across Chicago launched a hunger strike in front of Dyett High School. Dyett was the last remaining open-enrollment High School in the historic Black community of Bronzeville. Despite, years of steady significant gains, the Mayoral-appointed Board of Education voted to phase-out the school in 2012. Ultimately, a decision was made to close Dyett or at least convert it into what likely will deny the community’s children a public, open-enrollment education.

In support of the just cause around which Chicago parents rally, Physicians and Nurses register a deep concern as medical professionals, not only about the deteriorating state of the hunger striker’s health as individuals. But also, and significantly, the medical professionals support the need for public education in the historic Bronzeville community. Registered Nurse, Erin Raether, reminds us of what needs to be spoken #BlackLivesMatter as does the education of our Black children. In harmony, Dr Linda Rae Murray Chief Medical Officer, Erin Raether, Registered Nurse and other health professionals implore Mayor Rahm Emanuel to hear the community’s concerns and give serious consideration to the their proposal, to preserve the integrity of Dyett High School as a public, open-enrollment school in the heart of the historic Bronzeville neighborhood — The Walter H. Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School. The medical professionals submit, “We urge you to accept it.”

Health Professionals Challenge Mayor Emanuel to End Hunger Strike

AUGUST 24, 2015

Dear Mayor Emanuel:

We are physicians, nurses and other health care professionals working in the City of Chicago. Many of us have visited the hunger strikers camped outside of Dyett High School for nearly a week.

We write to you to express our support for the just cause around which our fellow Chicagoans have rallied, and to register deep concern as medical professionals about the deteriorating state of their health as individuals. As you must know, the longer this protest continues, each of the twelve hunger strikers is vulnerable to a variety of conditions that compromise their overall well-being and may result in permanent damage to their health. None of us want this. We trust you share our deep concern about this very serious situation.

The parents and grandparents, friends and relatives of Dyett students have turned to this tactic as a last resort. We implore you to hear their concerns and give serious consideration to their proposal to preserve the integrity of Dyett High School as a public, open-enrollment high school in the heart of the historic Bronzeville neighborhood. They have a proposal on the table for the Dyett High School of Global Leadership and Green Technology. We urge you to accept it.

We consider the current situation to be a deepening health care emergency in our city.

It is one that you can abate by reaching out to the strikers, entertaining their grievances and accepting their proposal.

Please exert your leadership and demonstrate your compassion by intervening in what is an increasingly dangerous health emergency. As doctors and nurses who have treated gun shot victims, terminally ill patients, and even children who we have lost all too soon to injury and disease, we feel we have to speak out as loudly as possible in this instance where the health of community leaders is at stake and further damage to their health is preventable. This is a serious situation. Please intervene now. We are counting on you to do the right thing.


Linda Rae Murray, MD Susan Avila RN
Peter Orris MD MPH Rachel Rubin MD MPH
Peter Sporn MD Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Richard Stephenson MD
Susan Rogers MD
Cynthia Henderson MD MPH Peter Drapper MD
Bob Cohen, MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and UIC School of Public Health.
Arsh Kaur Dhaliwal MD
Geraldine Gorman, RN, PhD
Nurses for Social Justice and Clinical Associate Professor, College of Nursing at
University of Illinois @ Chicago
Erin Raether, RN – Nurses for Social Justice, Chicago Healing Justice Network
Deborah Sontag, Family Nurse Practitioner
Ruth Oppenheim-Rothschild, RN Nurses for Social Justice
Wendy Mironov, RN, NSJ
Mary Bowm, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC
National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United
UPDATES; 1. This is taking a physical and emotional toll on our people. My sister Jeanette Ramann was hospitalized yesterday after collapsing at the CPS board meeting. She is ok. She’ll be released today and declared herself “still hungry for Dyett!” Ms. Irene Robinson, who was hospitalized Monday, was with us yesterday in powerful spirit, but she went to get some rest early in the afternoon.

2. We had a powerful press conference yesterday! Thank you to Commissioner Chuy Garcia, Reps Flowers, Martwick, Hernandez, Ford, and others. Thank you to Aldermen John Arena, Sue Susan Sadlowski Garza, Carlos Rosa and others. Thank you to the Chicago Teacher Union [CTU], Institute of Food Technologists [IFT] and of course the American Federated Teachers [AFT] for your strong words and well wishes. We are breaking through the media blackout!

3. Unbelievable support from around the world! Thank you to my Journey for Justice family, Alliance to Reclaim our Schools, Equal Education in South Africa, Puerto Rican Teachers, BATS around country and all of you who are tweeting and posting on FB! We have to stay hot on social media!

4. A special thanks to my brothers and sisters in Little Village! You have walked the walk for Black and Brown unity! To Chuy, Alderman Munoz, Manuelita, Patty, Caero (thank you sis for bringing the BT youth), Fanny and everyone we love you. Bronzeville and Little Village are sister communities for real!

5. This Friday is a jamboree to celebrate this struggle, 5pm at Rainbow Push. Enjoy music, poetry, singing, testimony (no food!) Join us!


This is so much bigger than the fight for one school. We don’t know how long we will have to be on this hunger strike, but we are committed to do it until we win for our children and for the struggle for education justice! Stay with us! We need you!
— with Brotha Jitu.

Share [pdfs] Health Professionals Letter to Mayor, Parents Launch Hunger Strike, and Dyett Chronology

Irene Robinson, Grandparent, Hunger Striker
Jeanette Taylor Ramann, Mom and Hunger Striker
Jitu Brown, Father and Hunger Striker
Dyett Green Technology Supporters
Hunger Strikers stand strong for The Walter H. Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School
Hunger strikers and supporters