Socioeconomic status and race were the primary concerns raised at last night’s mayoral debate in Chicago’s Blue Island area. Chicago residents voiced their concerns and opinions of current mayor Rahm Emmanuel and his other political running counterparts.
The event was moderated by rolling out’s TJ Crawford and included a panel discussion that featured two community advocates in the Chicago area who’ve served on the congressional board, Anton Seals Jr. and Brian Sleet. In addition to Seals and Sleet; Celina Villanueva, youth engagement program manager for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, also served as a panelist.
Citizens expressed their concerns about the current economic state in Chicago and solutions to the problems. Participant Nana Ofori’tta expressed, “I think this was an excellent forum. I think one of the most important things people need to realize, is that we need to get the information out there and let people know that you have engaged and connected people out there. We’re not just being apathetic and sitting and waiting. People become disconnected when other people don’t come and fight for the cause together. There are strengths in numbers and we can start building the momentum to changing things [that are] wrong.”
Many shared the same views as Ofori’tta, that unity and being educated about the issues in your community can help. Others expressed the lack of concern for education, like educator Olga Jewusiak. “The most important portion of the debate hardly mentioned was the discussion of education, because the disparity that’s occurring within the CPS system is effectively creating a second-class citizenship as its being brought up in the rank,” Jewusiak said.
Ytasha Womack, attendee and author of the book Afrofuturism, said she was super excited to come out and see so many people being engaged in the political dialogue and hoped that it would encourage a difference in Chicago.
Voting begins Feb. 24 and is open to all registered voters. Early voting is also available. Check out more photos from the event.
(Photos by: Dana Williams)