John Byrne and Juan Perez Jr., THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE
CHICAGO (The Chicago Tribune) — Hunger strike protesters trying to save a high school ratcheted up the pressure on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to meet their demands on Thursday, with supporters delivering a letter to City Hall detailing the health dangers to those who say they’ve gone without solid food for 11 days.
Around the same time the letter was delivered, Emanuel told reporters that Chicago Board of Education President Frank Clark met with the hunger strikers Wednesday. But the mayor was noncommittal about the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School’s attempts to force the city to make a decision on the fate of the Bronzeville school.
“I would remind everybody what they’re trying to work through, within a 3-mile radius there’s 10 high schools,” Emanuel said when asked about the hunger strike at an unrelated event. “Within about a mile of the school is King College Prep. So there’s a lot of high schools in that area, and how do you talk about another one when even some of the high schools that are within the 3-mile radius are not at capacity yet?”
The letter, put together by a group of health care professionals, called on the mayor to accept the hunger strikers’ proposal to turn Dyett into the “Dyett High School of Global Leadership and Green Technology.”
As you must know, the longer this protest continues, each of the 12 hunger strikers is vulnerable to a variety of conditions that compromise their overall well-being and may result in permanent damage to their health,” reads the letter, signed by 17 doctors and nurses.
“The parents and grandparents, friends and relatives of Dyett students have turned to this tactic as a last resort,” the letter reads. “We implore you to hear their concerns and give serious consideration to their proposal to preserve the integrity of Dyett High School as a public, open-enrollment high school in the heart of the historic Bronzeville neighborhood.”