In the latest edition of Complex News Presents, which last featured a deep-dive on the Chicago legacy of ZackTV and the death of founder Zack Stoner, efforts to strengthen education services in the city are detailed with activist interviews and comments from those working in the school system.
As Chance the Rapper and others have helped shine a national spotlight on in recent years, Chicago has been met with community-altering school closures, with many arguing that such decisions—despite their potential for widespread impact—are often made with no regard for the desires of the communities themselves.
Chance's previous comments on being "frustrated and disappointed" by the local government's education moves are echoed here, including in a sit-down with Chicago Teachers Union attorney Latoyia Kimbrough.
"I attended the community meetings when they announced they were going to close all the public high schools in Englewood and again they did not listen to what the community wanted," Kimbrough said, noting that she has a generational connection with the area, including the fact that she and her parents all had the same English teacher.
"The decision was always made before they held these community meetings, so it brought up a lot of those feelings that I had when I was a student and just how helpless I felt and how sad, I mean, Englewood was my home," she said. "My family, my mother, my father, my grandparents, everyone went to Englewood. So it was like a legacy to go there, graduate there, and to be able to come back and see those teachers."
Having that taken away, she added, was "really hard."
But those difficulties have not deterred activists and educators from continuing their efforts aimed at ensuring a fair and equal school system for children in Chicago.
The full Complex News Presents special, also featuring R.A.G.E. co-founder Asiaha Butler, can be found up top.