Feb 16, 2023 - Things to Do

Documentary spotlights gentrification, activism and CPS

Image of a poster for a moving showing kids and protesters

Photo courtesy of Argot Pictures

In 2019, CPS considered closing a high-performing South Side grade school to turn it into a high school.

What happened: The students marched to City Hall, Chance the Rapper got involved and school leaders sued CPS.

  • If you don't recall the end of this story, I won't spoil it. Instead I urge you to watch the documentary "Let the Little Light Shine," streaming free through POV on PBS until March 11.

Why it matters: The film is about more than a single school. Instead it offers a keen study of our community's racial dynamics, activism, gentrification and, ultimately, hope.

  • Plus, the upshot of this struggle is why Chicago is still fighting about a Near South Side high school today.
  • Still, like the best films, it's less about naming bad guys and good guys than showing people facing tough decisions.

The latest: You can attend a discussion with the documentary's creator and main subjects Thursday night at Row 24, 2411 S Michigan Ave.

  • I'd recommend watching the whole doc before you go. The film caused quite a stir when it premiered at a film festival last year as the Tribune's Michael Phillips reported, and it should raise the same questions tonight.

Bonus: Educators and activists can download a discussion guide and organizing tool kit from the filmmakers here.

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