When perusing the web and news for women to showcase as SheHero of the Week, I always try and keep my eye out for not just women doing amazing things, but women doing amazing things to help young girls. And when I read the story of these moms in Chicago’s Southwest Side I knew that they certainly qualified.
A few weeks ago a group of moms from Whittier Elementary School decided to take matters into their own hands when the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced plans to demolish the Whittier’s adjacent field house and replace it with an Astroturf field. Instead, parents wanted to see the building turned into a library since Whittier school has only a small book collection, and there is no public library close by.
Though CPS claimed the field house was not structurally sound the community had gotten a second opinion, which proved their own claims that the building was only in need of a few repairs. Which is much less of an expense than demolition.
So, these moms, along with local school council (LSC) members, students, teachers, and community members in the predominantly Latino Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago decided to move in to the field house to prevent the city from demolishing the building.
After 36 days of camping out the mothers finally got their wish. CPS finally agreed to build a library in the school and dropped plans to demolish the field house, which will be turned over to the mothers’ group through a $1-a-year lease. The moms don’t plan to leave the field house until after the school board, set to meet Oct. 27, approves the agreement.
We here at SheHeroes congratulate and stand with the Whittier moms and everyone camped out at the Whittier field house. This group has shown their kids first hand that when a community stands up together they can be more powerful than the strongest demolition team in Chicago.