The hunger strike over Dyett High School on Chicago's South Side ended on Saturday.
Activists who participated in the 34-day hunger strike plan to detail their "next phase in the fight for Dyett High School" during a Monday afternoon press conference.
About a dozen activists went without solid food for over a month in an effort to advance their plan to convert Dyett, which closed in June after being slated for phaseout in 2012, into a district-operated neighborhood high school focused on global leadership and green technology.
During the hunger strike, which began on August 17, the school district announced that Dyett, located in Washington Park, will be reopened as a district-operated neighborhood high school with an arts focus and an "innovation technology lab."
The hunger strikers opposed the district's plan, however, and continued their protest.
Last week, two of Dyett hunger strikers had to end their participation in the action due to health concerns.
In a Facebook post Saturday announcing the official end of the hunger strike, one of the Dyett protesters said the activists did achieve "several key victories."
"Last year we made CPS [the Chicago Public Schools] commit to reopening Dyett," Jitu Brown with the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett wrote. "This hunger strike stopped it from being privatized."
Check back with Progress Illinois for coverage of the Monday afternoon press conference with the Dyett activists.
Meanwhile, in other Dyett-related news, CPS announced Monday morning that it has formed two advisory committees that will provide the district guidance on the arts programming and technology center slated for Dyett.
CPS says the so-called Technical Advisory Committees "will provide strategic recommendations to ensure the new Dyett High School meets the community's high expectations."
"We have a tremendous opportunity to develop a modern, high-quality high school at Dyett, and these industry leaders will help us ensure that vision is realized," CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in a news release. "They bring a wealth of experience and wisdom crucial to the development of this progressive school and technology center on the South Side."
The school district provided the following information about the individuals on the Dyett Innovation Technical Advisory Committee:
Gerald Doyle, Vice Provost at the Illinois Institute of Technology
Gerald Doyle is the Vice Provost for Student Access, Success, and Diversity Initiatives at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). Doyle has collaborated on the introduction of the IIT Exelon Summer Institute as a bridge program for newly enrolled university students. In Summer 2011, Doyle developed and launched with his colleagues the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy--a two-year free STEM initiative to build the pipeline of diverse and underrepresented Chicago Public School students beginning in the 11th grade. Doyle's professional experience includes teaching economics and mathematics in Tanzania, and working for the University of Brunei in Southeast Asia. Within the U.S., his admission experience includes positions at Emerson College, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Harvard University as a Resident Tutor, and in the Office of Admission at the University of Chicago.
Jerrold Martin, Vice Chancellor and CIO for City Colleges of Chicago
Jerrold Martin is the Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer for City Colleges of Chicago. Martin leads City Colleges' efforts to use information systems and technology to support teaching, learning, administrative support, and decision-making for the seven colleges and the District Office. Martin previously served as the Vice President-IT Energy Delivery for Exelon Business Services where he led the areas of customer/marketing, operations, asset management, support services and real time operations. Prior to joining ComEd in 1998, Mr. Martin held multiple IT senior management positions at Ameritech and Accenture.
Nichole Pinkard, Associate Professor at DePaul University and Founder of the Digital Youth Network
Nichole Pinkard is an Associate Professor in the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University in Chicago. She is the founder of Digital Youth Network, co-founder of Inquirium LLC and Remix Learning, home of iRemix, a social learning platform that connects learning opportunities in school, home and beyond. In collaboration with the Chicago Public Library, Dr. Pinkard helped found YOUmedia, a public learning space that immerses high school students in a context of traditional media to make and produce new media artifacts like music, games, videos and virtual worlds. Dr. Pinkard is the recipient of a 2014 Northwestern Alumni Award, a 2010 Common Sense Media Award for Outstanding Commitment to Creativity and Youth, and the 2004 the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies, in addition to a NSF Early CAREER Fellowship, and a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for research on how digital media affects literacy.
Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871
Howard Tullman is the CEO of 1871, one of the largest technology incubators in the United States. Tullman has over 45 years of start-up, management, IPO and turn-around experience and an extensive operations background in web development, online services, large-scale information assembly and delivery systems, database design and implementation and the development, creation and production of all types and formats of multimedia, computer games and audio/video digital content. He has designed and developed GUI and natural user interfaces, interactive and immersive games and instruction systems and other electronic entertainments, training products and services, as well as other information-based products and services in a variety of fields including automotive, insurance, CRM, employment, real estate, consumer goods and social media.
Here are the Dyett Arts Technical Advisory Committee members:
Homer Bryant, Artistic Director and Founder of Chicago Multicultural Dance Center
Homer Hans Bryant is a former principal dancer with the world renowned Dance Theater of Harlem. His professional credits span from a command performance for the Royal Families of Norway and England to Timbuktu, with the Legendary Eartha Kitt and the motion picture The Wiz with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Homer was a former member of Prima Ballerina Maria Tallchief's Chicago City Ballet. Bryant's approach to teaching and changing lives has attracted many high profile students; President and First Lady Obama's children, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Linda Johnson Rice. In 1990, Bryant founded the Bryant Ballet on the city's North side. In October of 1997, Mayor Daley issued a proclamation to officially change the growing organization's name to the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center to reflect the diversity of the school's students, class offerings and the overall diversity of Chicago. In the summer of 1998, he was the lead artist for the first downtown dance site for the City of Chicago's Gallery 37 program; currently named After Schools Matters.
Mary Ellen Caron, CEO of After School Matters
Mary Ellen Caron, Ph.D. is Chief Executive Officer at After School Matters. Dr. Caron is responsible for managing a workforce of more than 500 people to ensure that Chicago teens have access to the high-quality, out-of-school opportunities that will prepare them for their futures. Prior to After School Matters, Dr. Caron served as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services. At the time of her appointment in January 2009, the department was a consolidation of several of the City's former human service departments. Dr. Caron successfully managed the transition and worked to provide a continuum of support for Chicago's vulnerable residents, from birth through the senior years.
Joan Collaso, Professional Vocalist
Joan Collaso is an Emmy Award winner and international vocalist who blends the textures of jazz, R&B, blues and gospel. Collaso has performed at numerous jazz festivals around the world, including the Chicago Jazz Festival where she was named one of the top 5 "must see" performances in 2012. In addition to her solo work, Collaso has supported numerous artists including Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Tim McGraw. In 2010 Collaso founded Timeless Gifts, a Chicago-based mentoring and performance program for young people in the arts.
Ernest Dawkins, Musician and Composer
Ernest Dawkins is one of the world's premiere saxophonists and composers, and an entrepreneur with years of experience working with new media technologies to produce and promote the jazz community. Dawkins was named 'Chicagoan of the Year' twice by the Chicago Tribune, most recently in 2001. He received a Meet the Composers Round VII New Residencies grant in 2000 and has been awarded the State of Illinois Governor's Fellowship award twice. In 2008, he received a Governor's International Grant. Dawkins established The Englewood Jazz Festival, now in its 16th year and founded Live The Spirit Residency, a not-for-profit arts organization committed to improving access to creative and improvised music for under-served communities within the city of Chicago. Dawkins is an active member in the local arts community and Chairman of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.
Theaster Gates Jr., Director of Arts and Public Life at the University of Chicago
Theaster Gates Jr. is an is an internationally acclaimed artist who deals with issues of urban planning and revitalization of poor and underserved neighborhoods through combining urban planning and art practices. In his performances, installations and urban interventions, Gates transforms spaces, institutions, traditions and perceptions. When not making art for museums, Gates is committed to the restoration of poor neighborhoods, converting abandoned buildings into cultural spaces that allow not only new cultural moments to happen in unexpected places, but raise the city's expectations of where "place-making" happens and why. Gates has received awards from the Joyce Foundation, Driehaus, Artadia, and the Graham Foundation, and was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2010-2011. In 2012, the Wall Street Journal recognized Gates as Arts Innovator of the Year and he was honored as the Commissioned Artist of the New York Armory Show and featured at Documenta (13), the international art festival in Kassel, Germany. Currently, an exhibition of his artwork, Theaster Gates: 13th Ballad, is featured at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art.
Joan Gray, President of Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago
Joan Gray first arrived at Muntu Dance Theatre in 1977 when she joined as a principal dancer, and she has been involved in a leadership role since 1986. Ms. Gray also currently serves on the board of directors for the African American Arts Alliance and is a past chair of the Chicago Dance Coalition. She has served on numerous policy and review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, and several state arts agencies around the country. Ms. Gray is a recipient of the Sidney R. Yates Award presented by the Illinois Arts Alliance and the Paul Robeson Award presented by the African American Arts Alliance.
Perri Irmer, President and CEO of the DuSable Museum of African American History
Perri Irmer is an attorney and architect who currently serves as the President and CEO of the DuSable Museum of African American History. Irmer is a lifelong resident of the south side of Chicago and previously served as the CEO of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, which operates U.S. Cellular Field. Irmer previously worked for the Board of Education as the administrator for the District's capital improvement plan, in addition to serving in leadership roles with the Public Building Commission of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Buildings. Perri is a lifelong resident of the Hyde Park-Kenwood community, and she is a graduate of Kenwood Academy High School.
Tenille Jackson, President of The Intelligence Groupt, Ltd.
As a business consultant and social strategist Tenille has worked on a variety of arts related projects in and around the south side of chicago including the Dan Ryan Art Wall Project with Little Black Pearl, The Bronzeville Art District Trolley Tour and most recently The Renaming of 31st Street Beach after Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs Project. Tenille also served as the Director of Enrollment for Chicago International Charter School Longwood Campus and Office Manager for CICS Loomis Primary Academy where she was responsible for family recruitment, enrollment and engagement.
Brenda (Malika ) Moore, Professional Dancer and Choreographer
From the South side of Chicago to Senegal, West Africa, Brenda (Malika) Moore has fashioned a unique brand of mystical, magical dance in motion and considers herself a dance ambassador. An electrifying performer, incomparable choreographer and master instructor, Ms. Moore's extensive dance career has spanned across cities, states and continents. Ms. Moore's captivating Caribbean, mesmerizing modern, enticing African, and sizzling fire dances have hypnotized hundreds and thrilled thousands. Ms. Moore was selected by a panel of dance experts to participate as an Artist-in-Residence for the City of Chicago and served on the Dance Program Advisory Panel for the Illinois Arts Council.
Kemati Porter, Interim Executive Director of the eta Creative Arts Foundation
Kemati Porter is the Interim Executive Director of the eta Creative Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides training and performance opportunities for children and adults. Porter previously worked as a producing director at eta and has been affiliated with the foundation since 1976. Porter has contributed to the ArtsLab at Chicago State University as a lecturer and board member, and she serves on the Advisory Committee for the Black Theatre Network.
Mario Rossero, Senior Vice President of Education at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Mario Rossero is the Vice President for Education at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Rossero previously served as Chief of Core Curriculum for Chicago Public Schools. He began his career as a visual art teacher in both public and private settings and has a long history as an administrator in educational institutions.