CHICAGO (CBS) — The activist pastor who helped organize a small anti-violence march that briefly shut down Lake Shore Drive earlier this month now plans another march that would block traffic in and out of O’Hare International Airport on Labor Day.
Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston said his top demands remains the same as before: he wants Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Eddie Johnson to resign over the city’s ongoing violent crime problems. He also has called for more economic investment in the South and West sides.
Livingston led a group of about 150 people in a protest rally on Lake Shore Drive on Aug. 5, before marching to Wrigley Field. His goal was to get people on the North Side to pay more attention to crime on the poorer South and West sides.
The weekend after that march was the bloodiest of the year in Chicago, with at least 66 people shot, 12 of them fatally. Livingston criticized the mayor’s response to that weekend’s violence, taking the mayor to task for blaming a “shortage of values.”
“Mayor Rahm Emanuel has publicly confessed his befuddlement at reducing this violence by talking about community values when the stark and tragic truth of the matter is that it is his values that are actually fueling this continued mayhem,” Livingston said in a statement announcing the plans for a protest march at O’Hare.
Specifically, Livingston pointed to the mayor’s decision in 2013 to close 50 public schools, Emanuel’s move to phase out health care benefits for retired city workers, and the mayor’s acceptance of campaign contributions from real estate developers who require city approval for construction projects.
“Rahm’s Values rain down millions of dollars on his developer cronies like a man making it rain down dollar bills on a stripper at a strip club. Rahm’s Values brag about taking healthcare benefits from retirees. I could go on and on: murder cover-ups, school children scarred by sex scandals and to add insult to injury he appoints school superintendents who are as proficient as he is at the art of cover-up,” he said.
Livingston called on the mayor to “desegregate” healthcare assets, economic investments, and education assets in the city.
“The list is long but doable – if you stop focusing only on downtown and the elite,” Livingston said.
Asserting he and his allies cannot be bought off “like slaves in a slave auction,” Livingston said they want a face-to-face meeting with the mayor about solutions to the city’s crime problems.
A spokesman for the mayor’s office told the Sun-Times the planned O’Hare protest would only harm thousands of people who work at the airport – on ground crews, at restaurants, and at the airlines – and live in the neighborhoods Livingston wants to help.