CHICAGO (CBS) — A group of about 100 protesters was using this Independence Day holiday to vent their frustrations about the direction of the city, outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house in Ravenswood.
WBBM’s Bob Roberts reports about a dozen police officers stood guard as community activists converged on the 4200 block of North Hermitage Avenue for a block party where they aired their grievances against the mayor, saying they see plenty wrong within the Emanuel administration.
Protesters slammed the closing of 49 elementary schools, the shuttering of six of the 12 city mental health clinics, for the pace of mortgage foreclosures in Chicago, and for spending public money on a new basketball arena for DePaul University.
“Let me say this: Rahm may not have started this, and he may not be the only one who’s doing this, but you know what? I think he’s a pretty good place to start the offensive,” said protest organizer Katie Osgood. “It’s time to take back our city, take back our schools, and let’s make Rahm be a one term mayor.”
The protesters said the millions of dollars used on a new arena for a private university would be better spent on many other needs in the city budget.
“They want to wear us out, they want to beat us down, they want to keep us too tired to speak up, but will they succeed?” Osgood said, as protesters answered with a shout of “No!”
Osgood, who teaches at a psychiatric hospital, said “What they will never understand is that we are fighting for flesh and blood children.”
Chicago Public Schools teacher Carolyn Brown said Emanuel’s school closing and longer school day policies are wrong for students.
“I don’t buy what you’re selling, nor do I have trust in the system that’s supposedly all about the children,” she said. “In this era of austerity, none of us can afford to buy into a public school system that Chicago’s trying to sell us. That’s why we have a moral responsibility to keep fighting, until we have taken back the power, and regained control of our communities, our schools, and our children’s futures.”