Today

Women’s March to the Polls Draws Thousands, Lyric Opera Musicians Settle Strike, Officer Cleared in Shooting – TODAY 10-15-18

Women’s ‘March to the Polls’ Draws Thousands

Thousands gathered in Grant Park over the weekend for the “Women’s March to the Polls,” a rally and voting drive put together by the organizers of the Chicago Women’s March designed to encourage first-time voters to head to the ballot box.

A demonstrator carries a sign at the Chicago Women’s March in January 2018. Photo by Aaron Cynic

“I hope you are angry and energized enough to vote on Nov. 6, I hope you’re still angry and energized to come out and elect Chicago’s next mayor on Feb. 26,” University of Illinois at Chicago Prof. Barbara Ransby told the crowd, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“And I hope you remain energized until Nov. 3, 2020, so that we can give Donald Trump an eviction notice and tell him to take his entire racist agenda and all of his corrupt cronies and get the hell out of Washington, D.C.,” she added.

While the Women’s March isn’t specifically endorsing any political candidate, plenty of people running for office were on hand, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who’s running for Mayor of Chicago, State Comptroller Susana Mendoza, candidate for Attorney General State Sen. Kwame Raoul, and billionaire Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker, who has donated to the Women’s March.

During the rally before the march, attendees were also encouraged to check out a “voter village,” where campaigns and other community groups provided information and opportunities to volunteer.

“For the last four years, we have been running our Parade to the Polls ™ program in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, local nonprofits, artists, and community activists,” said Rudy Garrett, co-deputy director of Chicago Votes, who partnered with the Women’s March to organize the event. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to combine the enthusiasm this program brings out of young people with the enthusiasm of Women’s March Chicago. We anticipate this partnership materializing into something magical that will create a first-time voter experience young Chicagoans will never forget.”

After a march to Federal Plaza, attendees were encouraged to head to several early voting locations in the Loop.

Community Groups, Family of Teen Shot by Police Outraged After Officer Reinstated to Active Duty

The Chicago Police Board on Friday cleared an officer of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of an unarmed African American teenager in 2012.

In a 5-3 vote, the board absolved Officer Brandon Ternand of any wrongdoing in shooting 15-year-old Dakota Bright in the back of the head, killing him.

Ternand, who is white, was responding to a call regarding a burglary that turned out to be a false alarm. Police alleged that Bright was spotted walking through an alley with a gun in his hand, despite him being unarmed when he was shot. Ternand shot Bright after a foot chase, alleging the teenaged boy turned towards him and reached for his waist. Police alleged that a revolver was found near where the foot chase began.

Though the Independent Police Review Authority reviewed the case and found Bright’s shooting unjustified and recommended Ternand be fired for the use of excessive force, he was placed on desk duty from 2012 to 2017 and then suspended without pay last November. Now the Police Board has cleared him of wrongdoing and he will be reinstated to active duty immediately, according to CBS2.

Bright’s mother, Panzy Edwards, told ABC7 that the ruling “killed” her.

“My baby don’t come home. They hurt me. They is wrong they is wrong on so many levels,” said Edwards. “They killed my baby almost six years ago back there and they killed me yesterday when I got that call. They are tearing us down.”

Community groups are outraged as well, and some are demanding Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx open a criminal investigation similar to that of Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted of the second-degree murder of Laquan McDonald earlier this month.

“The fact that the Board’s decision comes on the heels of the Van Dyke verdict shows what communities in this city have known for far too long—the unelected Chicago Police Board refuses to do its part to end racist police murder,” said the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression in a Monday morning press release.

The group compared Ternand to Van Dyke, pointing out that the officer had “numerous complaints lodged against him before he killed a child,” and said that the shootings of McDonald and Bright are why Chicago needs more civilian control of the police department.

“That the Police Board has gone against such calls for justice shows its utter illegitimacy and irrelevance at a time when we need fundamental, systemic and transformative solutions to Chicago’s history of police corruption, impunity, and crime,” CAARPR wrote. “That includes a clear demand for community control of the Chicago police as the next step in this mass movement for police accountability.”

Lyric Opera Musicians Back to Work After 5-Day Strike

Striking musicians with the Chicago Lyric Opera will be performing again this week, after ratifying a new contract.

The musicians began picketing at 10am last Tuesday, which led to performances on Thursday and Saturday being cancelled.

“Over the last six years, the budget of the Lyric Opera has increased by $24 million. None of that has come to the musicians. In fact, our share of the budget has gone down from about 14 percent to below 12 percent,” Kathleen Breuer, a violinist and member of the musician’s union told ABC7.

According to a statement from the orchestra given to the Chicago Reader, the Lyric’s budget grew from $60 million in 2012 to $84 million in 2017, but nothing really went to the musicians. In fact, though their salary has increased by 1 percent annually, that becomes a 5 percent decrease in pay since 2011 when adjusted for inflation. Now, Lyric wants to eliminate five positions, cut pay by 8 percent, reduce the number of work weeks by two, and eliminate all Lyric radio broadcasts.

Lyric said the proposed cuts were “necessary to ensure Lyric’s survival.”

“Lyric simply cannot agree to the terms CFM demands, given our current financial circumstances,” management wrote in a statement.

Lyric Board Chairman David Ormesher said the company was adjusting to changing times.

“I think the biggest challenge for Lyric is adjusting the organization to the realities as they are not as we wish they were,” said Ormesher. “All of us have fond memories of when we did 90 shows a year. We’re now doing 50 shows a year.”

On Sunday, workers and management ratified a contract that will still mean a reduction in staff and guaranteed work weeks, but include a bump in salary.

According to the New York Times, the number of guaranteed weeks will still drop from 24 to 22 and the number of full-time orchestra members will drop from 74 to 70, rather than to 69. Weekly salary however, will increase by 5.6 percent over the course of the three-year contract.

“A world-class opera company needs a world-class orchestra,” the musicians said in a statement. “The musicians will never stop fighting for that ideal; but at this time, the music needs to return to the Civic Opera House.”

Recommended Reads:

Trump Administration Says Chicago Police Don’t Need Reforms Laid Out In Consent Decree, Sparking New Battle – Heather Cherone/The Daily Line/Block Club Chicago

The Story Behind Our FOIA Request of Gov. Rauner’s Emails – One Illinois

Addressing Trauma at the Community Level in Chicago – Jonathan Foiles/Belt Magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *