Announcing the Karen GJ Lewis Scholarship Award
Karen GJ Lewis Scholarship Award
On February 7, 2022, family, friends, and colleagues commemorated the life and light that was Karen with a special Yahrzeit Memorial. In honor of her immense contributions to labor, education, social justice and community engagement, the Chicago Teachers Union is donating $100,000 to the Children & Teachers Foundation to fund the Karen GJ Lewis Scholarship Award. This scholarship will be awarded to aspiring Black youth and adults who will lead for racial and economic justice in Chicago. Graciously, Randi Weingarten matched the contribution from the American Federation of Teachers.
Karen GJ Lewis, National Board Certified Teacher, was elected president of the Chicago Teachers Union in 2010, and through her bold leadership, changed the narrative around public education in Chicago and the United States. During her tenure, the CTU created a model for union organizing and the fight for education justice, and built strong and lasting relationships with parents and community organizations across the city.
Under Karen’s dynamic vision, Chicago public school educators launched the city’s first strike in more than 25 years, after which teachers returned to classrooms not only with fair wages, but a new path centered on social justice unionism and increased engagement of rank-and-file members. A longtime high school chemistry teacher and daughter of two CPS educators, Karen and her team also fought to end school privatization and the influence of high-stakes, standardized testing, empowered educators to take on positions in city and state leadership, and reactivated the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation and the Children & Teachers Foundation.
Each year the Children & Teachers Foundation of the Chicago Teachers Union will award a $10,000 scholarship to promote and encourage the next generation of servant leaders in public education.
Scholarship Criteria: Black individuals who are Chicago Public School students entering college, adult non-traditional new, or transitioning students pursuing a career in education.