Karen Lewis, Street Fighter
Her dreadlocked hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and her nails were painted green with silver sparkles (she changes the color often). The room was littered with souvenirs: A glass block etched with the words Bitch Brick rested on her desk, and a pair of blue boxing gloves hung on the wall, a gift from a friend after Lewis told the Chicago Tribune she was going to buy some following the announcement of the mayors education team.
A Halloween mask of Rahm Emanuels face was tacked onto a shelf in front of Lewiss desk, staring straight at her and leaving little doubt that she considers the mayor her chief opponent. Yet Lewis marveled that she and Emanuel dont like each other more. I dont understand it, she said, shaking her head. We should be best friends. We have way more in common than we dont.
Shortly before he took office in May 2011, Emanuel invited Lewis to a dance performance and dinner at Henri, the upscale French restaurant across from Millennium Park. She said they had the same tastesthey both drank malbec and ordered the lamband talked about their shared love of ballet. They are also both Jewish. Raised Lutheran, Lewis converted in the early 1990s when she was looking for something spiritual and says she was drawn by the idea that you could question God.
The evening was meant to establish a working relationship. But the conversation took a turn when, according to Lewis, Emanuel said that 25 percent of students in CPSor nearly 100,000 kids at the districts current enrollmentwere never going to make it and that he wasnt going to throw money at the problem. The comment came to light a year later when Lewis talked about it in an on-camera interview with local NBC reporter Mary Ann Ahern; Emanuel denied it, calling the story totally false. The episode likely damaged whatever trust they had established.
“They are also both Jewish. Raised Lutheran, Lewis converted in the early 1990s when she was looking for something spiritual and says she was drawn by the idea that you could question God.
If I was Jewish, this would make me wince. I’m not Jewish, and it still makes me wince; what the heck does she mean by this?