Fall is here, the cooler weather energizes me, and I try to make the most of my continuing isolation during the pandemic.
In July, I moved into a new apartment, a couple of blocks away from my former studio. This is a one-bedroom, larger, more comfortable, with windows offering views both to the north and south. The act of moving, of choosing new furniture, decorating, and making decisions, occupied my mind and my energies for about a month, offering a respite from the concerns of COVID-19.
It’s also a sentimental journey for me, since I’m on the same street where I lived at age 22, fresh out of college, and being here feels almost like coming home. The reminders of my youth offer a counterpoint to my imminent 65th birthday, and that signifier of older age, Medicare.
Recently, in response to threats by the Chicago City Colleges board to cut teaching hours and teacher positions, our local AFSCME union stages a protest outside Chicago City Hall. To threaten to cut Adult Education programs, at a time when they offer a lifeline to segments of our society most in need, and to threaten teachers’ jobs at a time when 22 million Americans jobs have been lost, is insane.
We made our points – rather loudly – and felt that we were taking positive steps to stand up for our careers and those we serve. This is not the time to cut spending; government, in fact, should be spending more to keep our education system and economy afloat. Instead of shrinking our programs, City Colleges needs to expand its offerings to more of the community, through outreach and recruitment programs for students.
Here are some highlights from our protest: