CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago Public Schools parents’ group staged a protest Saturday that looked a lot more like a picnic.
Those who came expecting angry rhetoric and people crowded around a megaphone were in for a surprise.
The group BAM hired a disk jockey who played dance music and classic rock as children ran and played in McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Rd.
“We got the bouncy house, we have free food, we have a DJ, we have free cake pops, plenty of food, games and prizes and we definitely have a lot of good stuff going on here and again a lot of good people,” said BAM Founder and picnic organizer Rosemary Vega, who had to place three children elsewhere when the Lafayette School was closed a year ago.
It was billed as a memorial to the 50 schools the Chicago Board of Education closed this time last year as an economy measure. And flanking the DJ on either side were 50 signs — one for each school, bearing facts and parents’ views about the schools they have lost.
Vega said Mayor Emanuel understands the “power of money,” but she said what she hopes to build is an organization that has a foundation of “people power.”
BAM began to organize a year ago and staged a sit-in at Lafayette School on the last day of classes. It had a booth at thee Neighborhood School Fair in November and plans to participate in the Neighborhood School Parade. Vega said BAM hopes to organize more light events, such as Saturday’s picnic, to attract parents.