Many have said that the Jena 6 march was the re-awakening of the Civil Rights movement. When I looked at the Jena 6 facts, I was most insulted by the fact that in 2006, a young person would have to ask permission to sit under a “white” tree. Others have focused on the nooses hanging from the tree. Those who put the emphasis on the noose have now seen a plethora of nooses being displayed all over the country.
A professor at Columbia University in New York found one on the door to her office. A noose was found hanging in a Home Depot in New Jersey. A high school kid drives a truck with a noose hanging from it. Worst have been the pundits who have given the noose more power than it deserves by making it sound as if black people will faint at the mere presence of a noose. Well be forewarned. If you threaten me with a noose, I will probably use it on you!
The Jena 6 case also brought about the largest civil rights march in recent history. What will make you march? What will make you get off your butt, no matter the weather, no matter the day, no matter … what? What will motivate you to adopt an I-don’t-care-attitude about everything else and take to the streets in protest?
For me, it will be the unjust taxes our local elected officials seem to think we can just reach in our pockets and pay. As I read and watch the news reports, our elected representatives who used to proclaim that they worked for us, are now taxing us to the point that we will soon be working for them.
Most amazing is Mayor Daley’s pronouncement that we need all of these taxes for new libraries. Yet he gives millions of tax dollars hidden in TIF funds to companies like Navistar to move a couple of blocks away from their old Merchandise Mart location to a new office. Or even more millions to the Mercantile Exchange. Worst is his wanting to give Loyola University, a non-taxpaying, private institution, whose tuition is more than what some of us make a year, $40 million from TIF funds.
All while the average one of us must fight job layoffs, raises of less than 2 percent, increased CTA fares and higher prices for gasoline, food, electric and home heating gas. We don’t get a pension like government workers. Instead we have to fend for ourselves in 401k plans that, if you make the wrong decisions, lose rather than gain money towards retirement. For our politicians, all they seem to know is spend, spend and spend even more.
Right now, North Avenue between Harlem and Oak Park avenues is being torn up to add those flower pots down the middle of the street. Those flower pots represent money the city must spend every year to fill them with plants. In today’s economy, is it fair to ask us to pay for flower pots when we don’t even have grocery stores? Do we really need flowers pots, or is this just another appeasement to Oak Park? Let the Chicago side pay for it while they benefit?
Every household in Austin pays property taxes, whether you rent or own. Yet Chicago Avenue has more potholes than any street in Baghdad. We pay taxes, but we have the worst schools. We pay taxes, but we get the least amount of police protection. We pay taxes, but the filth of garbage blowing in the wind is disgusting. We pay a ridiculous amount for a city sticker, and what does it give you? Less and less parking spaces. Should you go downtown, the price to park is what some people pay for food for a week. Yet the Black community, which always gets hits the hardest, is the first area that our politicians look to when they want more money.
Where are all the tax dollars going from all the new high rises with 400 apartments/condos in them? Wait. Those new houses were built in a TIF zone. So that money will not be seen in the regular city budget for 23 years. But since the bungalow belt is now the black belt, you can bet we will be asked to pay more and more to get less and less.
But whose fault is it? It is yours, and yours and, yes, even … you! It’s all of us who have been sitting on our duffs-too lazy, busy or unconcerned to step up and tell our elected officials we’re sick of it and we’re not going to take it anymore. We have sat back and allowed all sorts of games to be played on us. Now we can no longer take the financial nooses that they want to put around our necks to suck every dime out of us by increasing fees, taxes and other costs.
What will make you take to the streets in protest? Decide now. Our elected officials are setting the stage. All you have to do is … perform!