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The Night That We Were Shocked... That We Were Shocked by CPS

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Written by CPS teachers and LTAB poetry coaches Missy Hughes and Dave Stieber after attending an Englewood School Closing Hearing.

Our skin has become thicker
From Chicago
Thicker from the winters
Thicker from the corruption
The lies and double speak
From sacrifices demanded by our city
The violence
The violent sacrifices of our students
Of spirit --- Antoine, Terrell, Dre
Of body--Patrice
Of life--Trevell

We know our skin is thicker
It has to be

We know you CPS
Perpetuators of Educational Apartheid
Our Chief Officer
"Graduation Rates?
College Acceptance & Persistence?
Those matter less
Standardized test scores that's what shows a quality school.
Our CEO says
Trust Us
I come from people like you
I am you
We will listen to you
We are with you
She baptizes Englewood with her lies:
Like she did Detroit

We know you CPS
Been to your bogus meetings before
Seen people yell at you about your budget and supposed deficit
Saw your arrogance (no questions while god is speaking)
Heard your disrespect (25 percent of kids won't amount to anything to Rahm?)
Paternalistic tendencies

That Monday night our skin wasn't thick enough
School field trips
Yellow busses
100's of kids/teachers K-8
Thousand parents
In Englewood
On a school night
Going to church

Picture the alter, elevated, on the stage
Only the CPS anointed are allowed on this alter
Protected by position
By power
By the pastors prayers of appropriate worship
Picture the anointed
Security guarded
Suited up
Salaried up
Faulty dated up
Walton family funded
B.S.'ed up

Picture the congregation, coming to pay homage, or bear witness
To repent for their sins
Being Poor,
Being Black,
Being from Englewood
They have come to beg for mercy
Their souls must be saved

Forgive us CPS for we have sinned
Is that what you wanted to hear?
You give the people six minutes of your holy ear

Picture confession
Confessions of children
"We will find the space you say we have if you let us stay open"
"I'm in the second grade please don't close my school"
They know their god is a just god
A father says, "I challenge you to let your children walk in our children's shoes"
Their penance

Confessions of parents and teachers
Presentations, speeches
Data, testimony
Just visit our school -- you will see
You demand confessions

But on your time
Just six minutes ( Fiske, Stagg, Bontemps, Banneker, Davis)
Times up
Next in line
Still not enough
You must tithe 33 percent of your schools
No more public schools in, Auburn-Gresham, Woodlawn, Lawndale, Englewood

Let the children walk longer to school
It is in god's hands now
Make them cross major streets, neighborhood lines, gang lines,
Make them bus
If they want it bad enough they will go
Make them pray about it
God will guide them

But last night in Englewood a thousand people
Realized they were not the sinners
Realized you were just playing
Just playing god

They flipped the script
When you asked for two minutes
They gave you 10 seconds
They counted you down
10 all the way to one
They will not listen
Will not stand by
Will not let this happen
God no longer
CPS
Times up

To watch the performance of this poem:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2NZHbrB99A&list=UUMMzbrtWIt4k-GKtqSOCzng&index=1