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Chicago teachers have had enough.

"We are frustrated; we are angry," Anna Stevens, a third-grade teacher on the city's north side, told Upworthy. "And our students deserve better."


Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Teachers in Chicago are striking for one day to send a strong message to city and state officials.

Stevens is one of the Windy City's roughly 27,000 public school teachers taking part in the April 1, 2016, strike — an "unprecedented" move by educators in the third-largest school district in America.


"We know that students need so much more than what we’re offering them," she said.

The Chicago Teachers Union's "day of action" is in direct response to abysmal state education funding and a local failure to manage what many would consider a school district in crisis.

Budget cuts have left schools grappling to make ends meet — particularly on the city's impoverished west and south sides — and teachers are fed up with seeing their students carry the brunt of the inequality.

The strike on April 1 included protests across the city, followed by a rally at City Hall, and a "shut it down" march in the bustling Chicago Loop area downtown intended to draw as much attention as possible to the education crisis.


Union representative Ed Dziedzic told DNA Info about a west-side school where students were forced to sit at desks with sharp edges that could have been from the 1930s. That school, like so many others in recent years, has since closed.

"What message are we sending to those kids?" he said. "That they are not worthy."

Art programs have been slashed, physical education curriculums have been tossed aside, and shrinking budgets have left educators like Gloria Fallon, a swimming instructor, teaching in unsafe conditions — there have been days where she's been in charge of 30 children in a pool all by herself, she explained to CBS News.

Teachers have been largely affected by budget cuts and labor disputes too.

They're currently working without a contract. After the previous one between the Chicago Teachers Union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel — not quite a hometown hero amongst Chicago's teachers — expired last summer, a new agreement has yet to be reached, leaving educators working with little security as the 2016-2017 school year looms ahead.

There have been unfair changes to rules regarding teacher salary pay increases, and teachers have been forced to take multiple furlough days in order for the district to save money.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The situation facing Chicago's students and teachers is tough. But it's part of a much larger problem when it comes to public education in America.

School districts across the country are "fundamentally separate and unequal," former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncansaid last March — a reality that disproportionately affects communities of color.


Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

The stats back up the former secretary's claim. Across the U.S., districts in more affluent areas are funded by state and local governments at substantially higher rates than in impoverished communities. This funding gap is the worst in Pennsylvania, where the wealthiest districts receive, on average, 33% more funding than the poorest.

Disparities in Chicago are not the exception.

We should all be rallying around Chicago's educators right now because this is a problem that goes far beyond the Windy City.

And the good news is, it sounds like Chicagoans have their teachers' backs.

Stevens, who rallied alongside dozens of other teachers and parents, told Upworthy that it's been wonderful hearing input from community members outside the system.

"It was lovely," she said of the passing honking cars and outspoken supporters who want what's best for students and teachers. "Almost everyone was very supportive."

Bravo, Chicago teachers, for standing up for kids who deserve better.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via LinkedIn

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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