Category Archives: Chicago
A coalition of DePaul University students, faculty and alumni held a press conference on Thursday, October 1st, 2015 with academics Dr. Frank Summers and M. Cherif Bassiouni to demand removal of Gerald P. Koocher from his position of Dean of the College of Science and Health. Dr. Frank Summers and M. Cherif Bassiouni, spoke on the collusion between the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), and torture as an international crime.
From September 21th through the 27th, The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) called for a “World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.” The PIEF was launched by the World Council of Churches in 2007 to catalyze and co-ordinate new and existing church advocacy for peace, aimed at ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories in accordance with UN resolutions, and demonstrate its commitment to inter-religious action for peace and to justice that serves all peoples of the region. On Monday, Chicagoans from the Working Group on the Middle East – Metro Chicago Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and other church representatives in the area held a “Gathering for Peace in Palestine/Israel.” Monday was also the UN International Day of Peace.
Crime in Chicago has long drawn the attention of politicians, media, and the general public. In particular, the influx of violent crime often associated with gang activity and rising shooting rates continue to trouble the city. Chicagoans know contemporary gang violence in a homogenized form. It is seen as an issue which primarily affects low-income, minority communities. When analyzing statistics, historically poor communities suffering from high unemployment display drastically higher violent crime rates. Members of these communities continuously take part in the fight for violent crime reduction and seek assistance from the rest of the city in doing so. While different initiatives have been put forth by both the city and grassroots organizations, funding is hard to come by.
Frank Chapman, Field Organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR), said about Saturday’s rally and march for community control of the police – “This is just a knock on the door.” On Saturday, 3,000 people from communities all over Chicago came pounding on City Hall’s door demanding justice for the 400 victims of police violence. #StopPoliceCrimes #BlackLivesMatter
“I, like many American Jews, have always identified with Israel,” Rabbi Brant Rosen said. “More recently, I have broken with Zionism and have realized that, in many important ways, the birth of Israel was the result of an injustice that Israel and world Jewry have not really reckoned with.” Brant Rosen has been a congregational rabbi for almost his entire adult life. For over 20 years, he was present for the births, bat mitzvahs, marriages and funerals of family members at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC) in Evanston, Illinois.
“Every minority in America is treated like a problem long before they are treated like a person,” began a member of the Arab American Action Network’s (AAAN’s) Youth Organizing Program at a community event last week. During the summer of 2012, a small group of youth at the AAAN was determined to begin a community-based campaign to put an end to racial, national, and religious profiling by law enforcement, which saw a sharp increase subsequent to the events of 9/11. The youth of the campaign have conducted surveys, data analysis, and extensive research, and have built alliances across racial lines with other organizations, communities, and youth to further their ultimate goal of equality and justice for all. On Thursday, August 13th, AAAN youth publicly and officially launched the campaign at a community town hall meeting that attracted 175 people.
Undoubtedly, discussion of issues pertaining to mental health has reached a forefront—inching into the everyday narrative of policy reform—placing a higher demand on reshaping the social, political, and religious considerations applied towards health and the institutions that govern its policies. The increase in discussion comes at a critical moment in history as rates of illness keep increasing ever so rapidly. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) latest reporting in 2011 indicated that eleven percent of the US population over the age of 12 is on antidepressant medication, a glaring testament to the overall epidemic and swiftly growing societal emphasis, or lack thereof, towards mental health. One group of individuals feeling this shift—often in a polarizing way—is the Muslim community.
By Mary Koptik
While no one can argue that the mental health care scene in Chicago is bright, it would be a lot worse off without the help of organizations like Thresholds. Since 1959, Thresholds has functioned as a nonprofit serving the greater Chicago area. Thousands of individuals struggling with mental illness have been able to find housing, employment, and recovery through Thresholds services. But for every client that Thresholds has been able to help, there are countless more who are unable to access services that stabilize their illness. Their already inadequate funds are dropping due to recent budget cuts.
As a logical follow-on to its successful initiative to pass a resolution designating May 19 as “Malcolm X Day” in the State of Illinois, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) is supporting and mobilizing for the August 29 mass march for community control of the police. The march was initiated by the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) who have been fighting for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) for many years. Now with the momentum built by CAARPR, Black Lives Matter Movement, We Change Genocide, Fearless Leading by the Youth (F.L.Y.), and many other organizations – the demand for civilian control over the Chicago Police has grown into a mass movement of solidarity between community organizations in the city. With the CIOGC being a federation of over 60 greater Chicagoland Islamic organizations representing over 400,000 Muslim Americans, the Chicago Muslim community is actively helping to mobilize for this march.
By Mary Koptik
Four years ago Rahm Emanuel took office as the Mayor of Chicago in a city that was drowning financially. The over 600 million dollar deficit was understandably a main concern for Emanuel. His solution came in the form of a heavily reformed budget for the city. That proposal was met with approval, in fact, the 2012 Budget was passed in a unanimous 50-0 vote. In the hours leading up to the vote however, the support was not so clear cut. While council members understood that things had to change, there was dissent on who the burden would fall on. One of the areas hit the hardest, and thus one of the biggest points of contention, was mental health services.