Youth-Led Women’s March Rally to Move Forward, CTU Poll Puts Preckwinkle Ahead in the Race for Mayor

CTU Poll Puts Preckwinkle in the Lead, Many Still Undecided A new poll released by the Chicago Teachers Union shows that while Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle holds the lead among candidates in the Chicago Mayor’s race, a good chunk of likely voters are still undecided. The poll, conducted in mid-December by Lake Research Partners, shows Preckwinkle in the lead, garnering 18 percent of the 600 likely voters surveyed. Preckwinkle is followed by Susana Mendoza and Bill Daley, with 12 and 10 percent respectively. While all other candidates received single digit percentages, some 19 percent say they’re still firmly undecided. The CTU endorsed Preckwinkle in December.  Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle speaks at an endorsement press conference alongside CTU and SEIU officials in December. Photo by Aaron Cynic. More than half surveyed say they’re both pessimistic about the direction the city is headed in as well as the state of Chicago Public Schools. Meanwhile, some 62 percent have a favorable view of the CTU - but lower ratings for both the Chicago City Council and Board of Education - at 48 percent and 45 percent unfavorable respectively. The data in the poll also suggests a majority of voters want to see whoever ends up occupying the office on the fifth floor of City Hall make educational investment a priority, as well as addressing wealth inequality in Chicago’s neighborhoods and racial segregation in determining attendance boundaries for schools. The union says the poll confirms its agenda. "A majority of voters say both the city and CPS are on the wrong track," said CTU President Jesse Sharkey in a press release. "Voters want wealthy corporations and individuals to pay their fair share of taxes, and they want a new mayor to prioritize the needs of Chicago's working class families, including the Black and Latinx families whose children make up the vast majority of the city's public school students." A large number of those surveyed say they’re in favor of making wealthier individuals and corporations in Chicago pay their fair share in taxes. 73 percent say they’re in favor of a millionaires’ income tax, while about 60 percent say they’re in favor of suing banks to recover losses from ‘toxic swaps’ and taxing large corporations that pay their employees less than $12 an hour. “This poll confirms strong public support for what this union is battling for—adequately funded schools, dignity for our teachers and paraprofessionals, safe communities, and a city that is livable and affordable for every Chicagoan, regardless of the color of their skin or the size of their wallet,” said CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates. "People want to live in a truly equitable city—and they want the next mayor to take up that challenge in our schools and in our neighborhoods." Youth-Led Women’s March Slated for January 19th While a formal Women’s March from organizers of previous marches late last year, a youth-led rally will take place on January 19th in Chicago. Women’s March Chicago organizers cancelled their January march in late November, citing concerns over cost and resources. A woman holds a sign at the Chicago Women's March in 2018. Photo by Aaron Cynic. “Because WMC put so much time, money, energy, and effort into our October event, we will not be marching in January,” the group wrote in a Facebook post. The first Women’s March drew more than a quarter-million people to Grant Park downtown, and subsequent marches and rallies drew hundreds of thousands over the past two years. The announcement from Women’s March Chicago organizers came amid a controversy over alleged links between national organizers with the movement and Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan. According to the Chicago Tribune, Farrakhan gave a speech in February of 2018 where he praised Tamika Mallory, co-President of Women’s March Inc, and simultaneously made anti-Semitic remarks. The national organization denounced those comments in March, and over the following months Women’s March chapters across the country followed suit and in some cases, distanced themselves from the national organization. Organizers with Women’s March Chicago said they’re not directly affiliated with Women’s March Inc, but rallies and marches in the past have been held in step with ones occurring nationwide. “That sort of infighting within the movement is very painful. It’s very painful to watch,” Sara Kurensky, a Women’s March Chicago Board Member, told the Tribune at the time. “When a handful of leaders ... say something, they are not speaking for an entire movement.” Jazmine-Marie Cruz, a freshman at Roosevelt University who’s organizing the march on the 19th, said she didn’t feel she knew she had a voice until the 2017 Women’s March took place. “I watched countless racial and hate-based acts of violence happen on the news, and I watched privileged white men make decisions regarding women's rights,” said Cruz in a Tuesday morning press release. “It was infuriating. And then the 2017 Women's March happened. Thousands of women gathered to show that when our voices are united, we can move mountains. I participated in the 2018 Milwaukee March and joined thousands of others in resistance to bigotry.” A woman holds a sign at the Chicago Women's March in 2018. Photo by Aaron Cynic. The event is being supported by Women’s March Illinois, an affiliate of the Women’s March Network, and is in part promoting the group’s 10 point ‘Women’s Agenda.’ That agenda includes ending state violence, immigrant and LGBTQIA+ rights, racial, environmental, reproductive, and economic justice, disability rights, and ending violence against women and femmes. “I want to make sure that young women have a chance to raise their voices here in Chicago on January 19, 2019, and that we show the diversity and inclusion of the Women’s March,” said Cruz. “I want to show others who, like me, have felt powerless that they are dynamic and life changing. All voices deserve to be heard no matter the age, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or size.” The Young Women's March rally will take place Saturday, January 19th in Federal Plaza beginning at 10:00am. Recommended Reads: Burke Spurns Calls To Drop His Bid For Re-election, But Change Is Coming To City Council Regardless - Heather Cherone and A.D. Quig/Block Club Chicago & Daily Line Nobody Wants to Be Ed Burke’s Friend Anymore - Edward McClelland/Chicago Magazine City Council Receives F In Racial Justice, Says Center For Racial And Gender Equity - Susie An/WBEZ
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Aaron Cynic