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The Dyett Hunger Strikers Stand On The Shoulders Of These Forgotten Heroes

Today is Day Six of the Dyett Hunger Strike. Twelve Chicago activists have put their bodies on the line to persuade the suits at City Hall and Chicago Public Schools that the now-shuttered Walter H. Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., should be reopened as a neighborhood high school, and not as a politically-connected charter or contract school.

By stepping up their fight for quality public education, the Dyett 12 join a venerable list of Chicago's social justice reformers.

The courage shown by these South Side hunger strikers, who are subsisting only on fluids, brings to mind the determination of the Payton 16, a group of North Side attorneys and consultants who, in 2013, went without food for close to 25 minutes, until Mayor Emanuel grudgingly agreed to use roughly $17 million in TIF funds to build an addition for their kids' selective-enrollment high school.

The Payton 16 were said to have drawn their strength from the UNO 13, a group of political insiders who, in 2009, refused to eat for nearly 45 minutes, until the Illinois legislature awarded them a $98 million grant to build charter schools.

The UNO 13, of course, continue to cite as their chief inspiration the LAZ 40, a group of Chicago aldermen who, in 2008, refused to leave the city council chambers until they were allowed to vote in favor of former Mayor Daley's plan to lease Chicago's parking meters for 75 years.

The Dyett Hunger Strike is a great opportunity for both Mayor Emanuel and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to help their kids (who attend the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, roughly two miles away from Dyett) earn some community service hours by bringing bottled water to courageous Chicagoans who are risking their own well-being on behalf of thousands of clout-free kids in their historically underserved neighborhood.

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Previously in Matt Farmer:
* Dear Manny Flores.

* Another Super Bowl Shuffle.

* I'd Love To Talk To You But There's An Ongoing Investigation.

* Twelve Percent Of The People Have Spoken.

* If Daley Managed The Cubs.

* I Tried To Break Into George Blanda's Car.

* Good King Rich b/w Pay To Play (But Keep Love In Your Heart) & Crawl Back To Crawford.

* Rahm: Too Big To Fail.

* Clemente FOIA: Show Us The Paper Trail.

* These Are Your Schools, Chicago: Tell 'Em What To Do, G.

* The Apology Kristen McQueary Should Have Written.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on August 22, 2015


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