When State Sen. Rev. James Meeks prepared to lead a protest of Chicago children at New Trier High School against inequitable public school funding, Gail Schechter of Open Communities, then the Interfaith Housin Center, helped initiate what for many was an unexpected - and therefore powerful - of support. Parents called her, looking to join forces to engage school officials in a plan to welcome the Chicagoans. One woman asked Gail, If not Interfaith, who? A week before the 2008 rally, Gail catalyzed the conduit by which two dozen people gathered in a Winnetka home and organized what they called “United We Learn” (UWL), getting the ear of school officials.
North suburban voices had weighed in for other people’s children as well as their own. UWL became a campaign of over 200 people of diverse backgrounds, holding several forums on school funding and education justice and producing the documentary, The Education They Deserve. The film captures student and teacher voices from the city and suburbs, portraying a stark “two worlds” reality and challenging people to do something to change it.