About 70 people from across Proviso Township packed the upper floor of Brian Boru Irish Pub in Forest Park, Dec. 2, to kick off the “209 Together” school board campaigns of Claudia Medina and Nathan ‘Ned’ Wagner.
Since that meeting, Theresa Kelly, long-serving board member of Proviso Township High School District 209, agreed to campaign with the two Forest Park parents. The three have also formed a committee, Citizens for Kelly, Medina and Wagner.
Kelly said the campaign’s momentum impressed her. Using language coined by Chicago’s Rev. Jesse Jackson during his 1984 presidential campaign, she said: “We have a Rainbow Coalition working together for all the children. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for when you have a team that cares about kids and school and the community.”
Medina, a native of Bogota, Colombia, said voices in the district were not being heard.
“There should be a Latino voice on the board and Forest Park representation,” she said. “Our children are feeding into a failing school district. We want a say in how we’re educating our children. We are part of that community whether they like it or not. Our voice is a proactive voice for all children. They all deserve dignity and excellence. That is the responsibility of a public education: Everybody’s child comes first.”
Wagner said he appreciated the perspectives of Kelly and board member Kevin McDermott of Westchester, who is not running for reelection.
“Meshing of our different perspectives is proving to be inspirational to us and the people we meet,” Wagner said. “We haven’t reached everyone in the township yet, but we can feel the energy growing with each conversation.”
Right now the group communicates largely through Facebook, but a 209together.com website is taking volunteer names.