Black Student Protesters in Chicago Are Denied Access to Public Restrooms at City Hall

Chicago student organizers stage a die-in at Chicago's City Hall on Wednesday to protest a proposed police academy facility. Students created cardboard headstones in memory of people killed by police as well as community hubs, such as schools and clinics, that have been shuttered under Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (Photo: Sarah-Ji)Chicago student organizers stage a die-in at Chicago’s City Hall on Wednesday to protest a proposed police academy facility. Students created cardboard headstones in memory of people killed by police as well as community hubs, such as schools and clinics, that have been shuttered under Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (Photo: Sarah-Ji)

It’s spring break for Chicago’s public school students, and some of the city’s young people are taking the opportunity to protest. This week, dozens of high school and middle school students from the city’s South and West Sides have participated in a series of actions to demand that Chicago’s City Council halt the proposed construction of a new $95 million training facility for the Chicago Police Department.

The training facility, like the city’s police department, has been mired in controversy. Young activists, who say the $95 million should instead be invested in their communities have flyered, staged protests and held teach-ins in opposition to the project since last summer, building significant community support.

The city was also hit with a lawsuit on Monday filed by activists with the #NoCopAcademy campaign who are seeking to expose emails and records that they believe will disprove Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s claims that the police academy is being built in response to recommendations from the Department of Justice (DOJ). Activists say available evidence indicates that the project was being planned months before the DOJ report, which offered a scathing review of Chicago police practices, was released.

Students lift each other's spirits and amplify their message with speak-outs and performances during their daylong protest at Chicago's City Hall on Wednesday. (Photo: Sarah-Ji)Students lift each other’s spirits and amplify their message with speakouts and performances during their daylong protest at Chicago’s City Hall on Wednesday. (Photo: Sarah-Ji)

But despite public outcry, Chicago’s City Council is expected to vote to approve the contractor and design of the facility later this spring. Students and adults opposed to the project attended a Chicago City Council meeting on Wednesday to voice their disapproval…

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