Meet Asean Johnson: 9-year-old activist fights Chicago school closings
The charisma and charm of 9-year-old Asean Johnson has many suggesting that he may be the future mayor of Chicago, while others herald him as a strong prospect in becoming one of America’s greatest leaders.
The impassioned third-grade student recently rose to fame after he took Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel to task after his support in the decision to close 54 schools in the city’s public school system.
In challenging this notion, Johnson delivered an arguably empowering and impressive speech to hundreds who rallied against the school closings.
“I wanted to be there to support my school and for the other schools that are closing, because really, I think that no school should be closing,” he told theGrio.
Now, weeks since his national debut, Johnson has garnered support from protestors, the Chicago Teachers Union and those who hope that the schools remain open.
Johnson, who attends Marcus Garvey School on the South Side of Chicago, is also the president of his third-grade class.
“Asean has always been a leader and a peacemaker,” his mother, Shoneice Reynolds, tells NBC Chicago.
In the debate over the mass school closings, Johnson has voiced his opinion at school board meetings and events throughout the city – all in effort to keep the schools open.
Earlier school board plans listed Johnson’s school l for closure while students from the elementary school would join those who attended Mount Vernon Elementary, which is a few blocks away.
But after rallying the help of others, Johnson was successful in keeping his school open. However, Johnson doesn’t take all the credit – instead, he says it was a “team effort.”
He tells NBC Chicago: “It wasn’t just me, it was a team help, a team effort and all the teachers came out with their students it was pretty cool and we all fought for our school to stay open.”
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