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AFT Chief Weingarten to Mayor Emanuel: “Shame on you”
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten blasted Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday for closing Chicago schools, saying he was not “walking the walk” Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders would have wanted.
“Shame on you,” Weingarten said.
Weingarten, chief of a union with 1.5 million members, talked about Emanuel and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nuter—who she also scorched for school closings—in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times in advance of her remarks at the Lincoln Memorial commemoration marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
“I have a big message for both Mayor Emanuel and for Mayor Nutter, which is, what my 11th graders used to tell me when I taught at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn, New York,” Weingarten said.
“They used to say, ‘Miss Weingarten, you can’t just talk the talk. You must walk the walk.’ Walking the walk means that you start investing in schools, not closing them, that you stabilize neighborhoods, not destabilize them.
“And that you make sure that every single child has a great public education in a great neighborhood public school complete with art and music and the wherewithal to actually not only dream their dreams but achieve them. So I say to both of them, shame on you. Shame on you for actually not actually walking the walk that Martin Luther King and Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph would have wanted you to walk.”
Randolph was the civil rights leader who delivered the first speech at the Aug. 28, 1963 march. Rustin, who died in 1987 was also a civil rights leader who will be given a posthumous Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in November.