Category Archives: Chicago

Chicago Activists and Teachers Occupy City Hall for Community Control of Police

(Photo by Bill Chambers)

By Bill Chambers

Protestors from the large coalition fighting for community control of the Chicago Police were joined by hundreds of members of the Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) before the Wednesday City Counsel meeting to demand an all elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC). Mayor Rahm Emanuel had planned to have “the final details worked out on a comprehensive plan to fundamentally reshape our system of police accountability” and introduce his plan at this City Council meeting.

But seeing the planned protest that grew to an occupation of three floors of City Hall, the Mayor blinked and “postponed” announcing his plan.

Op Ed – Rebuttal to Mayor Rahm Emanuel Proposal for Police Accountability

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On May 13, 2016, Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued an opinion stating that the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) would be abolished, and that he was going to oversee the drafting of a new ordinance to tackle the issue of police accountability. He added, “The framework for the new structure was outlined in the Task Force’s reforms and is driven by core principles that lie at the heart of the police accountability: independence, integrity, transparency and citizen participation.” Let’s not forget that members of the Task Force he refers to were handpicked by him. He plans to unveil this new structure on June 22, 2016.

Governor Rauner’s Failing Record on Minority Inclusion

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Governor Bruce Rauner was elected in Illinois in 2014, replacing the interim governor Pat Quinn who took over after the indictment of Rod Blagojevich. While one of the biggest criticisms of his administration has been the state’s failure to pass a budget for over a year, what many critics fail to further recognize is Rauner’s questionable track record concerning minority inclusion.

Palestinian Community Leader Rasmea Odeh Moves Closer to a New Trial

(Photo by Bill Chambers)

By Bill Chambers

On Monday morning, over 100 of Rasmea Odeh’s supporters gathered from five states at the Federal Courthouse in Detroit to hear the results of her hearing on whether she would be allowed to present her full story and potentially be granted a new trial. In February, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to the original District Court Judge Drain, saying he had wrongfully barred the testimony of a torture expert that was critical to Rasmea’s defense.

Danger of Pharmaceuticals in Chicago’s Water Supply

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“Salmon in Puget Sound would not pass a drug test,” said Debora Shore, a commissioner with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, which operates seven wastewater treatment plants around Cook County. From Puget Sound to Chicago’s North Shore Channel, fish and other aquatic life have become victim to water contamination including contamination from improperly disposed pharmaceuticals, Shore said. The Flint water crisis caused water quality to come to the forefront of media coverage. However, while people are increasingly aware of the effects of water contaminants like lead, there are many other contaminants that can harm aquatic life and humans.

Op Ed – Memo to Mayor Emanuel: Fire Yourself

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We’ve all seen the video. It’s late at night, a young man walking down the middle of the street, lit up by the headlights from a half-dozen police cars. Everything is happening in an eerie silence, because the audio on the dash-cam has been intentionally disabled by the police.

The Gentrification of Chicago’s Public Housing

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Chicago is one of many cities that has a notorious past with public housing. When most people hear those words “public housing”, media-driven images of poverty-stricken, crime-ridden Cabrini Green and Robert Taylor homes come to mind. While we have taken down those “projects” and have installed some new public housing buildings, we have a long way to go to make up for all the units that were torn down. Progress is slow. As of 2015, 100,000 people are on the CHA’s housing wait list. In 2014 when the list opened, 200,000 people entered their names into a lottery and 100,000 were picked to register for the wait list. This left thousands denied the right to wait for public housing.

Arab and Muslim Groups Protest Southwest Airlines Profiling at Stockholders Meeting

Photo by Bill Chambers

By Bill Chambers

On Wednesday morning, Southwest Airlines held its annual shareholder meeting in downtown Chicago. This year the stockholders were greeted by Arab and Muslim groups who were protesting the trend of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab incidents on Southwest Airlines flights. The groups also showed solidarity with the picketing pilots, flight attendants, and mechanic union members.

Op Ed – We Don’t Need Another Mayor Controlled Chicago Police Review Board

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Last week Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced his proposal to abolish the current Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) and “restore trust”:

“Today I can announce that in the coming weeks, we will have the final details worked out on a comprehensive plan to fundamentally reshape our system of police accountability and it will be introduced at the following meeting of the full City Council on June 22. It will be based on the thoughtful suggestions made by my Police Accountability Task Force. It will also be informed by the conversations my administration is having with aldermen, community leaders, the U.S. Department of Justice and experts in the field. We want to make sure the police accountability system is trusted by the members of the Chicago Police Department and the residents of Chicago.”

Anita Alvarez Wants to Withdraw From Laquan McDonald Murder Case But Is It Enough?

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By Joseph Kerins

Following a petition filed in Cook County court by a coalition of 25 community organizations, prominent attorneys and civil rights activists, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has motioned to withdraw from the high-profile Laquan McDonald murder case against Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke.