The campaign to elect Ed Hershey organized a rally, Saturday February 7, at the National Museum of Mexican Art in the Pilsen neighborhood of the 25th Ward. Ed spoke, and then answered questions and comments from the audience. Afterwards, people shared light refreshments, while talking with Ed and with others who came to hear Ed.
What follows are excerpts from Ed Hershey’s speech at the rally.
I’ve lived the attacks on our students, on our children, for years now. Every year, they tell us that cutbacks are necessary at the schools, that there is not enough money....
I’ve been part of the fight against these attacks. I led the strike organizing at Lindblom. I helped organize students and teachers who wanted to fight the school closings. I’ve spoken against new charter schools. I stood with the mothers at Whittier, when they fought for a library at their school. I was arrested when Solis demolished their community center. When students organized a protest and die-in against police violence at Lindblom, I stood with them....
Emanuel cut hours at all the libraries, where working people go to look for work. Just look at the decaying viaducts south of here – how long has it been since those were repaired? They gave a big contract for red light cameras, which they use to fleece us of money, rather than trying to maintain safe speeds.
They are taking money from services and schools so they can give our tax money to fancy hotels here and in Hyde Park, to profitable companies like Target that are doing just fine. They are taking money away from working people to give it to the rich....
Ed then talked about the problems of housing, of jobs and of wages, making it clear that there is no answer to any of these problems until the working class fights to take that stolen money back, to use it for all of our needs. He went on, to say:
Some people tell me they don’t vote – that they never vote. And I can’t blame them. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are parties of the wealthy. The Democratic Party, the only party that counts in this city, imposes the policy demanded by the banks and corporations, by the capitalist class. Working people who feel they get nothing out of voting for those politicians are right.
But we are running this campaign to make this election different. A vote for me is a vote against them – against the money interests and their politicians. It’s a vote for a fight. A big vote would make a statement that other working people could hear – it would say that there is a part of the working class that has had enough with business as ususal. People would be saying, with their vote, that a fight is necessary.
So I hope you agree, and I hope you will vote for me, and that you will get your friends, family and neighbors to vote for me as well.
Also know that for us, this election will not be the end. Together with other teachers and staff, I was fighting against the Board of Education before this election, and I plan to continue to do so after – win or lose the election.
Elected or not I will get up to support anyone who makes a fight, and I will come out and stand on the front lines with you.