Wake Up, Black Community

There are two Chicagos, one Black and one White. There are two districts in the city – the White one north and the Black one combining the South and West Sides.

By the time Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s term is up in 2019, the city will be revamped, the redesign of Chicago will be complete, and the divide will be greater than ever through economic maneuvers.

The Black community, the Black vote, as usual is being taken for granted by the Democrats and ignored by the Republicans. You can see it everywhere and the Black community is losing as the renaissance of the city goes forth before your very eyes.

Taxes are increasing, housing is changing, and the cranes in the south loop and downtown Chicago are erecting condos and hotels as fast as possible. Hyde Park is a new community with high-rise rentals and new stores as they prepare for the Obama library.

Alderman Pat Dowell

Where is the claim that the city with big shoulders is broke coming from? Alderman Pat Dowell just raised such a question. In her Third Ward, where McCormick Place sits and is being developed into McCormick Square, the $55 million TIF funds earmarked for neighborhood economic development shifted to Navy Pier, for a hotel for tourists no less.

A shell game was played with that money by the city and Dowell is furious. Rightfully so. She was lied to and is calling for public hearings. I hope the Black community en masse plans to attend the hearings to listen to what will probably be more lies about how earmarked money goes downtown and misses the South and West Sides.

The State of Illinois has been in crisis for nearly three years, with no budget playing political dragnet and Chicago Public Schools and other schools in the state might not open in the fall due to more partisan political maneuvering by Gov. Rauner’s new right wing staff.

I attended the presentation by President Barack Obama on his presidential library to, be located on the South Side in Jackson Park. As the presentation was being made, transformation of the neighborhood was discussed, the dream of the library was revealed, but interestingly enough, not one word was mentioned at that meeting about the golf course, which threatens to close off streets and redirect traffic in Hyde Park and South Shore on Cornell Drive, Stony Island and Marquette.

Economic development is not coming our way, the politicians lie, and racism in our city government is alive and well.

That was interesting, as the conversation has now moved from the library to the proposed championship caliber pro golf course. And now we hear that changes will come to north Lake Shore Drive and south Lake Shore Drive, too, but what a difference the direction makes.

The Black community is asleep, a sleeping giant, the voting elephant in a room where Black lives don’t matter in reality. Wake up, if you please, and look at the surroundings.

The neighborhoods are changing rapidly and Black folk don’t matter and we don’t know the plan. Hopefully we will look through the political talk and hold the politicians accountable.

Crime is rampant in our neighborhoods that will change soon, bringing new land development and new populations. Displacement abounds. New schools are coming. New stores are coming. New restaurants are coming, but they are not for the Black community that is currently in those neighborhoods now. Economic development is not coming our way. The newest innovation is pianos in the park, where Blacks are afraid to play, ride bicycles or picnic for fear of being shot, while listening to the tinkling piano music, I suppose.

The politicians lie and racism in our city government is alive and well. The Water Department top brass has the audacity to issue racist emails to a staff of professional Blacks sounding like Mississippi’s yester-year racist talk.

The best thing I have heard this political season, as the guns are blazing and the news reports give us the neighborhood violence score, comes from Democratic governor candidate Tio Hardiman.

He suggests a hardy way to fund economic development is a “transactional tax” of a $1 to the financial community for stock transactions. It would add $3 billion to Chicago coffers and fund the schools.

What am I saying? It is time for racial politics to cease. It is time for the Black community to wake up and smell the coffee and call it out. Thanks, Alderman Patricia Dowell.

Hermene Hartman
Hermene Hartman

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