During a rally earlier this week opposing the closing of 54
schools in the CPS district, one 9-year-old stepped up to the mic
with some powerful words that have quickly gained him national
Asean Johnson, a third grader at Marcus
Garvey Elementary School, passionately explained why he
thinks the school closings are wrong during his speech. By the end,
he had the whole crowd chanting "Education is a right, that is why
we have to fight" and cheering for the young activist.
The video is a must-watch. We expect this isn't the last we'll
be hearing about Asean Johnson.
Video Catalyst Project, who posted the video of Asean's rally
speech, also interviewed him
in a separate video.
During the interview, Asean said he didn't understand why his
school was being closed and that it met CPS requirements.
"My school is a great school. Its an exceptional school... We
have everything that CPS says that it wants us to have. We have
computer labs, we have an award-winning garden, we have several
science labs, we have SEL, we have air conditioning throughout the
whole building. So I don't know why they're trying to close some
schools that have everything they say they want all the schools to
We also found a video of
Asean explaining why SEL is important in his
Today, CPS announced that four schools, including Marcus Garvey
Elementary, have been spared from closure. The other schools that
will not be closed are Mahalia Jackson Elementary School, Leif
Ericson Elementary Scholastic Academy and George Manierre
If Marcus Garvey had been closed, Asean said he would have
Mount Vernon Elementary, just a few blocks south. During
the interview, Asean said he was concerned about the potential
"I think its pretty bad. They do not like us. If they send us
behind a gang territory where the kids don't like us, what do you
think it's going to be? Violence or safety?"
Gang territory crossovers have been a frequently voiced concern
during the debate over school closings.
The Chicago Board of Education is meeting today to decide the
fate of the remaining 50 schools on the closing list.
Alaina is the digital content editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Chicago.
See more of Alaina's stories here.
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