The March 28 opinion piece by former members of Proviso Together voices many frustrations with the current District 209 high school board that are valid and widely shared. But the viewpoints they advance are also highly selective regarding the leadership of that movement starting in 2015 and the reform records of the incumbents in the race. As a former participant in the Proviso Together movement, I take particular exception to the group’s characterization of incumbent Claudia Medina.

When Claudia tells voters that she was among Proviso Together’s founders, she is not “bragging,” but rather understating her role in driving the success of PT’s successful campaign against the corrupt power structure that controlled the D209 board in 2015.

 As PT’s only Spanish-speaking candidate, she engaged every community across diverse Proviso Township, and brought an unprecedented number of Latino voters into active political participation. As the group’s only professional educator, she was equally comfortable crossing the district’s rigid racial boundaries, talking with African American and white voters about how the board was failing ALL Proviso students, and offering a vision for dynamic transformations of instruction and student services. And as a passionate advocate for integrity in government, Claudia has not hesitated to call out corrupt and self-serving board practices, boldly and loudly, whether embodied in the abject cronyism of the 2015 board or the authoritarianism and lack of transparency all too evident in the current policies of Supt. [James] Henderson and his board allies.

 In this regard, the March 28 opinion piece is especially flawed in mis-representing Claudia’s record, her consistency in confronting board malfeasance, and the personal price she has paid to secure educational justice for Proviso’s citizens. And let there be no doubt – given the entrenched self-interest driving the current board majority, there is no path forward toward integrity and competence that will not involve conflict and a willingness to root out corrupt practices. Proviso cannot afford to lose Claudia Medina’s deep knowledge, experience, and fearless voice for reform and renewal over the next four years.

Samuel Whalen
Forest Park