Sunday, September 30, 2012
Are Black Chicagoans Finally Waking Up?
In the most segregated city in America, there are two Chicago's
one white, one Black. The white one works really well because the Black one doesn’t
I wrote about this summer’s pandemic of violence that systematically removed young Black males from this earth. Part of this crisis has to do with Black unemployment being double that of the white community, triple when you consider how many Black males have given up the search for work.
The fact that Black people are denied access to construction jobs isn’t a new Chicago story, but the fact that it continues to be an issue should be. For the last three months, city workers have been doing major work on the streets in front and around my house. The construction crews are all white except for a few Hispanics. I have yet to see one Black person.
Last week, 86 year old WWII War vet Ed Gardner, also the retired founder of Soft Sheen Hair Care Products, was driving three blocks from his home in the heart of the Black southside, when he passed a construction site and saw no Blacks employed. Mr. Gardner got out of his car and stood in the middle of the site bringing all work to a stop.
"They allow us to sell drugs and kill one another for the promise of drugs, yet they won't employ us in the black community," he said.
The next day Gardner led followers to construction sites for Menard's and Meijer stores, again in the hood, and again not one Black person was employed. Demonstrators also pointed to the lack of Blacks on construction crews repairing the 95th Street CTA El. When asked to comment, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, stated Chicago has increased minority contracts and pointed to the fact that the prime contractor for the 95th Street project( remember all Black community) is Asian.
So today, Ed Gardner lead 3000 marchers to 95th and Western, to yet another major construction site with no Blacks working. This protest barely got mainstream coverage, but a much smaller protest downtown about puppy mills was covered on ABC News. I guess we know our place in Chicago’s hierarchy.
But could it be the Chicago Teacher's Union Strike has started to wake Black folks up?