While Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was at a pricey downtown breakfast event on homelessness, city housing activists and homeless families protested outside Thursday morning citing the mayor's "failure to support reform of the Chicago Housing Authority."
"Under Mayor Emanuel's watch, the CHA has failed to release 13,500 available housing vouchers, left thousands of public housing units vacant, stopped rebuilding public housing and stockpiled over $432 million in surplus cash at the expense of housing for thousands," said Paul Burns with the Metropolitan Tenants Organization and the Chicago Housing Initiative, which organized today's protest.
"And yet today, the mayor shows up to a breakfast about ending homelessness," he continued. "This is hypocrisy, and we will not be silent ... The truth is that until the mayor begins talking about reforming the CHA and setting clear standards for the agency, he is not talking about ending homelessness."
Chicago education activists who have been fighting to save Walter H. Dyett High School from closing next year are furious over the prospect of a contract operator taking control of the Bronzeville school.
Members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, who for nearly a year have been pushing a plan to turn Dyett into a "global leadership and green technology" open-enrollment high school, took their outrage to City Hall on Wednesday morning, warning that local Ald. Will Burns (4th) and Mayor Rahm Emanuel "will have a major case of civil disobedience on their hands" if their community-driven proposal for the South Side school is not adopted.
"If a white, middle-class community came up with an in-depth, community-based plan for their neighborhood public school, they would get it," said Joy Clendenning, a 4th Ward resident who sits on the local school council at Kenwood Academy High. "We want the Walter H. Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology Community High School, and we want it now."
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal to lift the city's hourly minimum wage to $13 would leave out approximately 65,000 low-wage workers who are mostly women and people of color.
That's according to a new Center for Popular Democracy report, which compared the potential impacts of the mayor's $13 minimum wage plan with a competing $15 minimum wage ordinance introduced in late May by a group of aldermen, including members of the council's Progressive Reform Caucus.
The proposed $13 ordinance specifically "shortchanges" domestic and tipped workers, the majority of whom are women of color, according to the report.
The Raise Chicago coalition, which supports the $15 plan, released the report's findings at a City Hall press conference Wednesday morning. More low-wage Chicago workers would be covered by the $15 plan, which would also almost double the economic impact for the city compared to the $13 measure, the report found.
"With the opportunity to nearly double the economic growth of people across the city, our Raise Chicago ordinance would help propel people towards financial stability, help this city and state with tax revenues, and its effects would ripple through every community in Chicago," said Action Now Executive Director Katelyn Johnson, a Raise Chicago leader. "The mayor's proposal does not do enough to address the needs of Chicagoans and, in fact, will keep people living paycheck to paycheck."
African Americans are not being provided an equal opportunity for work at Ferrara Candy Company, according to a group of protesters who took their message to the company's Forest Park factory Tuesday morning.
"Ferrara Candy makes millions of dollars, particularly in the Halloween season, on the folks in this community. We want them to ensure the people who make their candy in this community are the folks that actually live in this community," said Elce Redmond, organizer with the South Austin Coalition Community Council.
With just seven days until the election, the national "Nuns on the Bus" tour rolled into Chicago on Tuesday for get-out-the-vote efforts at the Lincoln Park public library and DePaul University on the city's North Side.
The bus tour of nuns, spearheaded by the national Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK, has traveled to 38 cities in 10 states thus far to register and engage voters this midterm election season. The "We the People, We the Voters" bus is covered in signatures from people who have pledged to the nuns that they will vote.
The cross-country tour, led by NETWORK's Executive Director Sister Simone Campbell, made an afternoon stop Tuesday at the Lincoln Park branch of the Chicago Public Library, an early voting site. Six Chicago-based nuns who met up with the bus tour voted early at the library. The small group of nuns later went to nearby DePaul University for a "campus pop-up" to urge students to vote.
"Some people feel like they don't know how to (vote), or what to do, so they just say, '[It's] too much. I'm not doing it,'" Campbell said outside of the public library. "We're going to lose our democracy unless everyone stands up."
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