2,000 demonstrators massed outside School District headquarters here, March 7, 2913 in an attempt to stop the threatened closing of nearly 30 public schools.
The diverse crowd included parent activists; high school, elementary and middle school students; teachers and school support personnel; and community activists. They chanted "Save our Schools!" and "Fix don't close schools! Some played drums and led cheers for their schools; and they heard speakers including parents, teachers and union leaders.
In an attempt to prevent the vote and shut down the meeting at the outset, 19 people blocked the entrance to the hall and were arrested. They included Randi Weingarten, president of American Federation of Teachers and Jed Dodd, president of Pennsylvania Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees.
John Vago, a retired public worker, who was AFSCME chief steward in the city's water department, and one of those arrested, told peoplesworld.org they were released later that night after being held in a room at the school district building.
In an interview, Lisa Haver, a retired teacher and activist, said the response of city leaders to calls for funding seems to show their priorities. She recalled that when a leading Philadelphia medical school was faced with having to sell off a large iconic Thomas Eakins painting to an out-of-state collector, prominent city leaders got busy and raised $60 million in a week.
"Aren't our kids worth that kind of effort?" she asked.
Interim National Council
- Donna DeWitt, President, South Carolina AFL-CIO - Co-Chair
- Bill Kane, President, New Jersey Industrial Union Council - Co-Chair
- Baldemar Velasquez, President, Farm Labor Organizing Committee - Co-Chair
- Noel Beasley, International Vice President, UNITE HERE
- Ed Bruno, California Nurses Association
- Deborah Burger, President, CNA
- Dave Campbell, Secretary-Treasurer, PACE Local 8-675
- Marilyn Clement, Director, CNHP NOW
- Russ Davis, Vice President, AFGE Local 2782
- Rose Ann DeMoro, Executive Director, CNA
- Mark Dimondstein, NC Piedmont Triad chapter
- Jed Dodd, General Chairman, Penn. Federation, BMWE
- Lisa Frank, Metro Pittsburgh chapter
- Cheri Honkala, Founder, Kensington Welfare Rights Union
- Bruce Klipple, General Secretary-Treasurer, UE
- C. Robert McDevitt, President, UNITE HERE Local 54
- Bill Onasch, Kansas City chapter
- Cecilia Perry, Public Policy Analyst, AFSCME
- Linda Raisovich-Parsons, UMWA
- Adolph Reed, Jr., Professor, University of Pennsylvania
- David H. Richardson, PhD, Secretary, AFGE Local 12
- Dean Robinson, Professor, UMASS-Amherst
- Anthony Rochon, BMWE
- Preston Smith II, Professor, Mount Holyoke College
- Brenda Stokely, President, AFSCME DC 1707
- Chris Townsend, Political Action Director, UE
- Gerry Zero, IBT Local 705
- PW, 19 arrested in attempt to stop school closings by: Ben Sears March 8 2013
- Labor Party News April 2005 (accessed on Dec. 31, 2010)