Congressman Danny K. Davis in 1974, while delivering the annual WACA report message to community people at the Driftwood Steak House, said, “We cannot rest upon our laurels, for a man who is content with what he has done will never become famous for what he will do.”
Davis, who was president of the Westside Association for Community Action (WACA) at that time, went on to say, “The year 1974 can be characterized as the year that WACA came into its own and made believers out of those who said it couldn’t be done. All of you, some 76 community organizations and corporate representatives, are now providing much of the leadership and action that is necessary to bring this community out of economic, mental, political and social slavery.”
Today in the Austin community and every black community in Chicago, organizations, corporate representatives, as well as black and white churches of the theological liberation, need to come together, similar to WACA groups of 1974. Why? To help bring the Austin community and other urban communities out of the economic, mental, social and political slavery of 2005. Chicago African-American urban centers need a plan of “bold action” to help solve the serious problems of unemployment and schools in crisis.
These problems have reached the crisis level of “red” under the present Richard Daley machine. Yet Time magazine had the gall to rate Daley as one of the five best big-city mayors. Time said it consulted with “urban experts” who used criteria that did not include “human conditions” or standards of living of people in those big cities in putting together their lists of best mayors. The so-called Time experts only used “concrete and steel” evaluations to reach their decisions (eg. working traffic lights, smell of streets and Daley’s near imperial power). I heard the news on my car radio and at first, thought it was an April Fool’s joke. Time’s experts must have been “smoking dope” to even consider Daley because of the many scandals plaguing his administration. Some started when he became mayor in 1989.
Black employment under Daley in the city “set-asides” program for African Americans dropped from around 29 percent under the former late Mayor Washington to around 5 percent today. That’s pitiful and shameful because there are over one million black citizens in Chicago. Are white males getting 95 percent of the work?
Nearly three months ago, when Jesse Jackson Jr. criticized Daley and his “yes sir boss” black alderpersons for allowing this decline, some alderperson said they were working behind the scene to make changes. Mayor Daley later held a press conference stating he would put an end to the corruption in the procurement department. Switching heads, he appointed Mary Dempsey to replace Eric Griggs. But as of today, nothing has changed. It’s business as usual. Only bodies have been moved around, but the scandal merry-go-round is still spinning. The blacks in city council have not introduced any legislation that would bring contract bidding and approval before the entire city council instead of behind closed doors. When the late Washington was mayor, contracts and bidding business were conducted before the entire city council.
Yes, downtown Chicago is beautiful. But at what cost? The black communities were the sacrificial lamb, especially the West Side.
Examples: Unemployment among young black males became so dangerously high that they have become job “untouchables.”
After nine years of school reform, around 70 percent of children still can’t read at grade level in the Chicago Public School system, mainly because of poor leadership from downtown central office and from most local school councils and principals. Parents also must share the blame along with some teachers who voted for a contract that my 10-year-old grandson would have turned down.
Writers from this paper?”LaDonna Redmond, Arlene Jones, and James Hammonds?”have been informing the Austin residents about these serious issues and problems for the past few years. Yet those who come out to vote keep voting for the people who abuse them. Why? A totally new system of government is needed in Chicago, a bold new plan.
Here are some questions to ponder on: Do we need 50 aldermen to run the city? Other large cities like Chicago don’t have but a few. The way things are messed up now, the city government would do better on “auto pilot.” It could not get any worse.
People are hurting inside and need jobs now! This bold new approach starts by replacing all present aldermen because most are not part of the “people’s team.” They are “stamps” for Daley. Not rubber stamps. They don’t bounce. They roll over like puppies and approve everything, right or wrong. This is not the democratic way; it’s not democracy in action.
Ike Carothers said after he won the 29th Ward committeeman position from Cong. Davis (under questionable results), “We now have come full circle.” Yes, the Daley machine was back in power 100 percent. Davis was the last independent Democrat who was not part of the corrupt machine. He represented all of the people of the 29th Ward, the haves and the have-nots, and voted their way?”not the mayor’s or the president’s way. Black Chicagoans need Davis’ kind of leadership.
It’s time for a “bold action” change in Chicago’s city government, and look at plans similar to the Brach Coalition plan to create jobs on the West Side. The new political slavery train promoting plantation politics for black people in Chicago must be derailed. Tune in on WVON 1450 AM, 6 to 10:00 a.m., and On Target, 10 p.m. to midnight for information about black issues in Chicago.