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Chicago Activists Raise Funds For Oaxacan Teachers After Protesters Were Killed By Police

By aaroncynic in News on Jun 27, 2016 6:41PM

Demonstrators showing solidarity with Oaxacan teachers outside the Mexican Consulate in Chicago (photo via @constantnatalie).
Local activists will host a fundraiser Monday night for teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico, after government forces killed a at least nine people and injured more than 100 at a massive demonstration last week.

Teachers in Mexico have been struggling against government-imposed neoliberal reforms, which include requiring more standardized testing and threatening a long-standing teacher training policy that promotes social justice.

“A lot of Chicagoans are tired of watching teachers be treated poorly,” said Natalie Wahlberg, one of the organizers of the fundraiser, which will take place beginning at 8:00 p.m. at Bernice’s Tavern in Bridgeport. Wahlberg is part of a group of activists who organized a previous fundraiser at Bernice’s for those affected by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which netted more than 1 ton of water along with about $700 in cash.

This time, all proceeds collected will go to purchase medical supplies for Oaxacan teachers. “Here in Chicago the teacher’s union struggles to fight for the same things the folks in Mexico are fighting for. Funding for their under-resourced students in schools. We’re all supportive of that fight and of teachers,” said Wahlberg.

Last week the Chicago Teachers Union and other education activists held a solidarity rally for Oaxacan teachers at the Mexican Consulate on the Near West Side. Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey, who delivered a letter on behalf of the union supporting the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación, told In These Times that teachers in Chicago and Oaxaca have similar struggles.

“There's obvious parallels between education reform in Mexico and the U.S., in particular here in Chicago,” said Sharkey. “We’ve learned a lot from Mexican teachers and we’ve got actual relationships with unions in México. On a very personal level, the reports that community leaders have been arrested—and we can’t even get an answer regarding what they were arrested for or even if they were arrested at all —is extremely troubling and it’s not something that we want to let slip by.”

The fundraiser begins at 8:00 p.m. at Bernice’s Tavern at 3238 S. Halsted St. Suggested donations begin at $5.00.