At this pivotal moment, we should be building a fairer, safer future. Instead, our leaders are using fear to double down on the status quo.
This is a moment of national and local reckoning with police violence, of which Chicago has a particularly sordid history. Yet instead of responding to the calls from the people of Chicago to hold police accountable and make our criminal legal system fairer, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is engaging in fearmongering and calling for an increase in policing and criminalization. Instead of leading, she is using the outdated and false tough-on-crime playbook — at the expense of housing, education, mental health treatment, or other services that can make communities safer while improving life outcomes for all. We must demand justice not fear.
Dear Mayor Lightfoot: make good on your promises by embracing a reimagined and transformed vision of public safety.
On August 24, 2020, a group of Chicago community members, organizers, stakeholders and faith leaders issued an urgent call to Mayor Lori Lightfoot to immediately cease her fearmongering and misguided and harmful escalation of law enforcement.
The leaders ask the Mayor to listen, reflect and lead the city instead of signing a blank check to the Chicago Police Department to commit more violence in the name of “quelling” protestors and protecting property.
"As Mayor of Chicago you occupy one of the most powerful and influential platforms for change in our city, and we are facing a pivotal moment that begs for moral leadership. Unfortunately, your response has been to point fingers at other city leaders and double down on the use of heavily armed, militarized police to protect property interests, all while ignoring urgent calls for meaningful police reform. We can and must do so much better if the unrest is ever to end."
We can’t let bad faith attacks set our community back. What our families need are resources and investment, not more police on the streets.
Chicago is not a war zone. Chicago residents are not enemy combatants.
The most recent unrest, triggered by the police shooting of 20-year-old Latrell Allen, follows decades of mistreatment, abuse, oppression and violence by Chicago police against Black and brown communities. Chicago needs to hold police accountable, but the Mayor is calling for more police. Chicago needs to invest in communities, but the Mayor is blaming District Attorney Kim Foxx for not prosecuting and jailing Chicago needs to listen Black and brown communities, but the Mayor is repeating Donald Trump’s narrative that Chicagoans are dangerous, chaotic criminals.
THE TRUTH: Mayor Lightfoot's rhetoric imperils the safety and trust everyone in Chicago deserves. We need to focus on real solutions: violence interruption, restorative justice, and investment in neighborhoods Chicago has abandoned.
Community: Mayor Lightfoot must listen, reflect and lead the city.
India Jackson of Good Kids Mad City: "When Mayor Lightfoot first ran for office, she visited one of our events in Hyde Park where we were collecting donations for Maurice Granton Jr.'s family after he was killed by the Police Department, leaving his two daughters and the mother of his children to fend for themselves. She came in support of us and Maurice’s family. Where is that support now? How many more lives have been lost since then? As mayor, Lightfoot now has a unique opportunity to change this by heeding our collective voices for substantive changes.”
Tanya Watkins of Southsiders Organized for Unity & Liberation (SOUL): “What’s needed in this city is not more policing, not more incarceration -- but equity. Our obsession with locking up Black and brown people in record numbers and oversaturating their communities with militarized cops, while concurrently defunding their schools, shuttering community hospitals and health care centers and depriving vulnerable residents of needed resources is actually the problem. Shifting the blame to other government bodies who are actively taking the steps to restore harm and invest in communities does nothing to address any of these issues in the city.”
As they* continue to peddle fear, let us spread the truth. Because truth and justice are greater than fear.