Chicago, Nov. 6—As part of its growing advocacy for local relief of the vulnerable, Zakat Foundation of America provided dinner to a contingent of Chicago Public School teacher’s, who technically suspended their recent 11-day strike until 19 and 20 November when all 25,000 Chicago Teachers Union members will vote on ratifying their 5-year tentative agreement with the city.
“Teacher means to me the prophets,” Halil Demir, Zakat Foundation executive director, told dozens of teachers in attendance, some with family. “You call Jesus ‘rabbi,’ this is from the word ‘rabb,’ ‘murabbi,’ which means a master, a teacher, because the prophets are teachers. So you are doing the work of the prophets.”
That’s why “we decided last week to deliver food to you every single day as long as you strike, for a 120 people — and we were prepared to feed you for as long as it goes.”
The previously scheduled strikers meal turned celebration took place at Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) headquarters, and came about in part at the suggestion of Rev. C.J. Hawking, executive director of Arise Chicago, an anti-poverty group of diverse religious communities and leaders that advocates for “God’s justice in the workplace.” Demir is an Arise ex-officio board member.
“We forget that around the world teachers are revered, unlike our experience,” said Maria Moreno, CTU Financial Secretary, who presented Demir to the partaking teachers.
Demir also thanked the parents and more than 300,000 children of the nation’s third largest public school system for standing with teachers “to live a dignified life.”
The support dinner follows on Zakat Foundation’s increased advocacy for locally vulnerable people in the Chicagoland area, where its headquarters is located. This includes sponsorship of anti-violence programs, funding STEAM education courses, and providing back-to-school backpacks and school supplies for children. Zakat Foundation also holds November turkey giveaways for hundreds of families in need.
Zakat Foundation plans to promote its local advocacy for the vulnerable nationwide.