The motivation for the GARLIC & GREENS project has always been rooted in food justice. But if we look at food justice from a different perspective, fasting and the denial of food are frequently used in spiritual and religious practices. Hunger protests have a long history dating back to ancient India and pre-Christian Ireland. I mention this today because right now, 12 people in Chicago are are on a hunger strike that began August 17th. This hunger strike is a direct action to revitalize the place where the GARLIC & GREENS project first started: Dyett High School.

Soon after GARLIC & GREENS began in 2011, the city of Chicago announced their decision to phase out the school. A group of community members have collectively submitted a proposal to the Chicago Public School (CPS) system to re-open Dyett High School as an open-enrollment school in their neighborhood, but CPS has been stalling and canceling public hearings and board elections.

Dyett Hunger Strikers

Dyett hunger strikers. Photos by Sarah Jane Rhee

These are the people who are, right now, resisting the displacement of the youth in their communities. Clockwise from the top right: Aisha Wade-Bey, Anna Jones, April Stogner, Cathy Dale, Irene Robinson, Jeanette Taylor-Ramann, Jitu Brown, Marc Kaplan, Monique Redeaux-Smith, Nelson Souza, Prudence Brown, Robert Jones.

Irene Robinson was admitted to the hospital today, but shamefully there has still been no response from the city or the mayor’s office.

To learn more, read the essays by Monique Redeaux-Smith “Why I go hungry for Dyett”, and “Why I’m hunger striking for Dyett High School” by Jeanette Taylor-Ramann. Follow Jitu Brown on Facebook for daily updates, as well as the hashtags #FightForDyett and #WeAreDyett and #SaveDyett on social media for up-to-date info, and use those hashtags to spread the word.

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