Parents, Community Members to Hold Vigil to Demand New Fieldhouse at Whittier Elementary

Photo by Christine Geovanis, Chicago IndyMedia

La Casita Community Center Destroyed by Chicago Public Schools Early This Morning

Chicago 8/17 — Saturday 8/17, at 4pm, parents, teachers, community members, and supporters from around the city will hold a vigil at Whittier Elementary, at 1900 W. 23rd Street, to demand a new fieldhouse be built after the La Casita community center at Whittier was destroyed early this morning by Chicago Public Schools.

Supporters of La Casita began gathering last night when a demolition crew arrived unannounced at Whittier with orders to demolish the fieldhouse. They staged an overnight protest, attempting to stop the destruction of La Casita. In 2010, parents held a 43-day sit-in to turn the unused fieldhouse at Whittier Elementary into the La Casita community center and library.

“Alderman Solis and Chicago Public Schools have broken every commitment they have ever made to this community,” says Gema Gaete, a Whittier community member. “We demand a new fieldhouse. The community will not stand by and let them turn Whittier’s land into a playground for private school kids. The Mayor and Alderman Solis are engaged in ethnic cleansing, trying to push low-income Latino students out of this neighborhood.”

Alderman Solis and Chicago Public Schools officials promised to meet with Whittier parents this morning, but later refused to meet with parents at the school.

Ten people were arrested today attempting to defend La Casita. They are being held at the District 10 police station, at 3315 W Ogden Ave. Supporters have set up a We Pay fund for their legal support, which has raised over $1,000 in just a few hours: