Chicago continues to struggle with its ability to treat taxpayers and property owners equally. When compared on paper, some people and communities could appear to be the tale of two cities. The South and West Sides of the city continue to be headed toward destruction. Destruction of communities and future generations continue to hurt black families in Chicago.
The recent murder of Laquan McDonald — and its subsequent cover up — and the slaying of Tyshawn Lee are the most recent proofs of what we know about the ongoing destruction and lack of respect for Black Lives in Chicago. The destruction and disrespect has hit a boiling point with the people in Chicago, and protests are underway.
It is my hope that we, the people, never let up on the protests and continue to demand better for Black Lives in Chicago, for the good of the entire city. Chicago can never be great if Black Lives don’t matter in the city. The recent protest with many West Side leaders, including with young leaders, elected officials, ministers, pastors, and the West Side NAACP was and continues to be the spirit of hope — hope for a more unified fight for change in Chicago.
Mohandas K. Gandhi once said, “I believe in the essential unity of all people and for that matter of all lives. Therefore, I believe that if one person gains spiritually, the whole world gains, and if one person falls, the whole world falls to that extent.”
During these turbulent and difficult times, I believe more strongly than ever in the concept of social justice: the promise that every member of society is deserving of equal economic, political and social rights; extending the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to every child, woman and man.
Let this year be a year when we ask ourselves, “Am I my brother/sister’s keeper?” Let this be the time now when we ask ourselves, regardless of our personal condition, “Are we doing our part to help eliminate poverty and inequality and assure legal, social and economic justice?”
Dr. King said, “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice”. About that arc towards justice, President Barack Obama said, “…it does not bend on its own. It bends because each of us in our own ways put our hand on that arc and we bend it in the direction of justice…”
Let us continue the work of bending the arc towards justice as we fight join one another in the fight for fair treatment for all lives in Chicago.
Anniversaries and seasons are perfect reminders of what we are called to do while we are still blessed with life. Some people march, some people pray, some people are finding their own way to add value to the fight for a more just Chicago.
On November 29, 2015, Christians started celebrating the Advent season and will continue this observation until Christmas. Advent reminds believers we are not the center of God’s Plan. God has a grand plan for all of our brothers and sisters — a plan that Christians or non-Christians can join to make all our lives better by eliminating the cancer of institutional racism. This grand plan is calling us to be our brother/sister’s keeper.
December 1, 2015 is the 60th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ historic act of civil disobedience in Montgomery, Alabama. This was the moment when she taught America a lesson in courage and justice. Parks moved the moral arc a little closer to justice. She also taught us the meaning of civil disobedience, which is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government when justice is denied. Civil disobedience is a symbolic or ritualistic violation of the law, rather than a rejection of the system as a whole.
The fight for a just society dates from the beginning of time; therefore, the fight will never end, and we can never let up. Let’s move the moral arc a little closer towards justice in Chicago and in our nation.
La Shawn K. Ford represents the 8th district in the Illinois House of Representatives.