[Guest post by DRJ]
Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee reports that in 1995, “Barack Obama had known Bill Ayers at least eight years since their shared involvement in the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools, if not longer.” He submits that Obama and Ayers have worked together on community and education issues on and off for the past 21 years.
Meanwhile, the Drudge Report confirms Ayers’s and Obama’s common interests with this link to a University of Chicago Chronicle article. The article reports on a 1997 University of Chicago juvenile justice forum in which William Ayers and Barack Obama appeared as speakers in support of the same goals:
Children who kill are called “super predators,” “people with no conscience,” “feral pre-social beings” — and “adults.”
William Ayers, author of A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court (Beacon Press, 1997), says “We should call a child a child. A 13-year-old who picks up a gun isn’t suddenly an adult. We have to ask other questions: How did he get the gun? Where did it come from?”
Ayers, who spent a year observing the Cook County Temporary Juvenile Detention Center in Chicago, is one of four [sic] panelists who will speak on juvenile justice at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, in the C-Shop. The panel, which marks the 100th anniversary of the juvenile justice system in the United States, is part of the Community Service Center’s monthly discussion series on issues affecting the city of Chicago. The event is free and open to the public.
Ayers will be joined by [Illinois State] Sen. Barack Obama, Senior Lecturer in the Law School, who is working to combat legislation that would put more juvenile offenders into the adult system; Randolph Stone, Director of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic; Alex Correa, a reformed juvenile offender who spent seven years in Cook County Temporary Detention Center; Frank Tobin, a former priest and teacher at the Detention Center who helped Correa; and Willy Baldwin, who grew up in public housing and is currently a teacher at the Detention Center.”
Michelle Obama was a proponent of the event and may have been the coordinator:
“Michelle Obama, Associate Dean of Student Services and Director of the University Community Service Center, hopes bringing issues like this to campus will open a dialogue between members of the University community and the broader community.
“Students and faculty explore these issues in the classroom, but it is an internal conversation,” Obama said. “We know that issues like juvenile justice impact the city of Chicago, this nation and — directly or indirectly — this campus. This panel gives students a chance to hear about the juvenile justice system not only on a theoretical level, but from the people who have experienced it.”
Ayers and the Obamas, together again.