Chicago United for Equity began as a response to national and local reporting of modern-day school segregation. After Nikole Hannah-Jones sparked a national conversation on school segregation, an early form of CUE brought Chicagoans together to hear their experiences with segregated and integrated schools in a house meeting.
A few months later, WBEZ covered how new school construction fuels race and class segregation in Chicago Public Schools. CUE then launched community dialogues between parents from some of the schools covered in this story, specifically National Teachers Academy and South Loop Elementary School, to find ways to integrate equitably.
These efforts accelerated after Chicago Public Schools announced their interest in closing National Teachers Academy, which serves a predominantly low-income African-American population. Through 10 community meetings on this topic and engagement of over 400 Chicagoans, CUE determined that the closure of NTA and forced displacement of 700 students would not be an equitable strategy for school integration. As a result, we launched a campaign to study this proposal and develop a more just solution by asking for a Racial Equity Analysis from Chicago Public Schools before moving forward.
After 45 public testimonies at the Board of Education, 471 letters to state representatives, and over 1200 signatures collected, CUE launched a Racial Equity Town Hall Series, where we conducted our city's first public Racial Equity Analysis. We trained Fellows who participated in facilitating this analysis and have gone on to facilitate REIAs in communities across Chicago.
As we look to the future, we are focused on promoting racial justice by:
Building and sharing key tools for equity,
Connecting residents, activists, researchers, lawyers, and policymakers who promote racial justice, and
Transforming policies to bridge our city's divides.
We are thankful for early support from The Chicago Community Trust to help launch our efforts and for the partnership of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee on Civil Rights as our fiscal sponsor.