On a nationwide tour promoting his $95 million police academy agenda, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been busy but this doesn’t mean everyone is happy about it.
According to Blavity, this week at UCLA as well as the University of Michigan, students protested the arrival of Emmanuel and their schools for hosting him.
And now Harvard University plans to do the same. Student and community members have been organizing a protest against Emmanuel’s Feb. 20 onstage conversation at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Written by the Harvard Urban Planning Organization, in an open letter, students said they were disappointed by the administration’s choice to highlight Emmanuel instead of removing the illusion and pointing out his corrupt politics and actions.
“The event will highlight Emanuel’s tenure as mayor and touts how he has made Chicago ‘a great place to live, work, and play.’ This erases how destructive Emanuel’s policies have been to Black and Brown residents of Chicago and to the City of Chicago as a whole. As future and current designers, urban planners, policy-makers, organizers, and educators, we cannot disregard the people who are in danger because of Rahm Emanuel’s administration.”
The letter continues to explain how they believe Mayor Emmanual has failed minority communities in Chicago.
“In the last 15 years, Chicago has seen its African American population decline by roughly 200,000 residents as they have been priced out or pushed out of their communities. The lack of economic investment in communities of color and the failure to address violence contributed to the exodus. In 2017 alone, a person was shot in Chicago every 2 minutes and 27 seconds. The Mayor’s focus on downtown while ignoring broad swaths of the city means vital resources that address poverty and violence are not deployed to the places of most need.”
When Emanuel spoke at UCLA on Feb 12., he responded to a protester, saying “I didn’t realize there were these many direct flights [from Chicago].” A spokesman for Emanuel, Adam Colling, said during the protest “the vast majority of audience members themselves made it clear they were annoyed with the interruption. Anyone who has spent any amount of time on any college campus has probably protested something at some point. There’s really no surprise here.”
The controversy stems from Emanuel pushing his plans for a new police academy across the nation, while local schools in Chicago are shutting down due to lack of funding. In 2017, the city shut down 50 schools along with 12 health clinics in 2017.
Chance the rapper has been a longtime advocate in stopping the agenda of the police academy and instead focusing on boosting Chicago’s education.
“There’s a lot of ways to transform the city that don’t have anything to do with police training,” Chance told ThinkProgress. “What are we doing? I’ve been asking for months, over a year now, to fund these classrooms. And on the 4th of July weekend, they announced, in like a cool finessing way, that they have $95 million?” Bennett said. “What else can I say. What is y’all doing? What is y’all doing? It doesn’t make sense. I’m very confused.”