Bill Ayers Joins Call for UN Probe of Chicago School Closings

Sunday, 28 Jul 2013 09:56 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers and others have signed a letter calling on the United Nations to probe the closing of 49 Chicago elementary schools, claiming the action is causing human rights violations for children in the area.

The 24-page letter, compiled by the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights, was sent to the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland this past week, reports The Daily Caller.

The coalition consists of more than 50 organizations that came together to fight human rights violations in the United States, and several individuals and organizations sponsored the letter. Other signers include four people associated with Action Now, which split off from the controversial ACORN organization just before it dissolved. The letter was also signed by Michael Klonsky, a former member of the Students for a Democratic Society and leader of the New Communist Movement.

The letter claims the school closings force students to cross gang lines to get to the new schools they will now have to attend, and affect black families disproportionately.

While with the radical Weather Underground, Ayers participated in the bombings of public buildings in the early 1970s, including police stations, the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. He is now a retired professor from the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago who has worked to bring millions of dollars in grant money to Chicago's schools over the years.

His relationship with President Barack Obama came under scrutiny when the president was running for office in 2004, but both men say they were Chicago neighbors who have served on some boards together. Ayers now says Obama should be tried for war crimes for the use of drone strikes.

Ayers' connection to the call for United Nations' investigation is not being stressed as organizers push for the probe into the school closings.

Sital Kalantry, a clinical law professor at the University of Chicago Law School, said she filed the letter with the United Nations.

She told Chicago radio station WBEZ that if the U.N. takes up the issue and gives it serious attention, it "will really bring home to Chicago and the United States that there are violations occurring here of human rights, potentially, not just about a budget crisis."

Even if the U.N. conducts a probe, it can't regulate any government activities in the United States, but it still can issue findings and conduct a probe of the issue.

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