Category Archives: Chicago

National Crisis of Homelessness Felt Deeply in Chicago


By Najlah Iqbal

As winter approaches, many families will be seeking warmth and comfort in their homes. However, many individuals do not have the accessibility to shelter, and struggle to find safety and relief on a day to day basis. The National Alliance to End Homelessness says “On a single night in January 2014, 578,424 people were experiencing homelessness — meaning they were sleeping outside or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program.”

Chicago Faith Leaders Demand Governor Rauner Reverse Decision on Syrian Refugees


By Bill Chambers

On Friday, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) held a press conference at their office and were joined by US Representative Jan Schakowsky, Suzanne Akhras Sahloul of the Syrian Community Network, multiple faith leaders, immigrant advocates and two families of Syrian refugees. All were there to demand that Governor Rauner change his position and show compassion for Syrians refugees fleeing the devastating war in their country.

Op Ed: The Police Execution of Laquan McDonald


A year and one month ago 17 year old Laquan McDonald was murdered (shot 16 times) by Chicago police officer, Craig Van Dyke.  A police car dashboard camera video-recorded the shooting. After Chicago city officials saw the video they decided to give the McDonald family $5 million before a lawsuit was even filed.  The video recording has been viewed by McDonald’s family and the attorneys on all sides. The video reportedly shows Laquan McDonald walking away from Van Dyke when he was shot, and the shooting continued even after he fell to the ground.  All agree that it is graphic and quite disturbing.  Some would justify keeping the recording under wraps because its release might cause civil unrest.  The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) would suggest that this is precisely what is needed – non-violent civil unrest – to stop police crimes and bring police criminals to justice.  It appears that this is the only thing that can bring even a chance of justice.

Op Ed: What’s Going On With Our Movement Against Police Crimes?

Photo by Bill Chambers

Here in Chicago, on August 29, 2015 when we took 3,000 people to the streets calling for community control of the police, we said the movement had entered a new stage of struggle. Now we are faced with new challenges as we transition from spontaneous rebellion to organized resistance and conscious political struggle. As a result of our work in the neighborhoods (in Chicago) we have 25,000 supporters and about 800 volunteers. We need to study closer the ideological, political and practical implications of this change, this new development.

Navy Pier Muralist Pete Nawara Focuses on Art for the City He Loves


Pete Nawara may have completed Navy Pier’s 100-foot-long mural only a month ago, but he’s already referred to as the “artist who painted the mural” by many, including colleagues and friends. The mural, which depicts Chicago’s diversity through its “Neighborhood’s of the World” series at the Pier’s Crystal Garden, is Nawara’s biggest commissioned project to date.

Disgraced at the Goodman Theater: What Does It Really Say About Islam and Race?


By Mary Byrne

I wanted to enjoy Disgraced when I went to see it at the Goodman Theatre. I really did.

When I first read the synopsis, I thought, great — a show that deals with race and religion in the context of both personal and professional relationships; a show that’s not afraid to take on the subjects so many people are afraid to even broach, the conversations that many people, in all honesty, are just too afraid to have.

Chicago Public Schools Budget Cuts Severely Impact Special Education Programs


By Mary Byrne

Parents and advocates for students with special needs took to City Hall on October 9, protesting the Chicago Public School’s 2016 proposed spending plan, a plan that includes a significant amount of cuts in the area of special education.

Op Ed: Who is Going to Apologize to the Children of Chicago?

Barbara Byrd-Bennett
ex-CEO Chicago Public Schools

As the image of Barbara Byrd-Bennett pleading guilty and apologizing to the surrounding cameras is broadcast across our city, the realities of our Chicago schools flash through my mind.

Prison Reform and the Black Lives Matter Movement


By Ryeshia Farmer

The current Prison Reform and Black Lives Matter movements are two of the most significant social justice campaigns of our time. The two are receiving long overdue (though not just recently sought) attention at both national and local levels, especially in Chicago. Though much is being done, there is still much more at stake, leaving a long path ahead of activists and politicians devoted to either cause. At this juncture, it is vital to acknowledge their accomplishments thus far, review their current action plans, and prepare for their future work. In doing so, we will find commonalities between the two movements and more thoroughly understand their impacts.

Rasmea Odeh & Supporters Fight for Justice in the Appeals Court


By Bill Chambers

About 100 hundred supporters from Chicago, Ohio, Minnesota, Florida, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan rallied for Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati yesterday. To chants of “Out of our communities, out of our mosques, FBI go get lost!” – the group waited for a critical stage in the USA vs. Rasmea Odeh case to begin. Little did they know that all the cases they would listen to in the Appeals Court would represent a microcosm of the greed, attacks on unions, and the suppression of Palestine activism in the country.