Dear Austin: In recent times, the city of Chicago has witnessed a disturbing pattern of disrespect toward its Black residents, a community that has faced systemic challenges and marginalization for far too long. I shed light on a pressing concern — the city’s handling of Venezuelan migrants and its apparent lack of support for its own citizens.

Austin has been grappling with several issues that leaves its residents feeling unheard and marginalized. One of the most glaring issues is the apparent preference for supporting Venezuelan migrants over addressing the longstanding challenges faced by the Black community.

One concerning issue is the allocation of resources. 

While Mayor Johnson and Governor Pritzker have dedicated millions to support migrants, Black families who have been displaced for years have seen little relief. Empty buildings and park districts are converted into shelters for migrants, while Black Chicagoans find themselves sleeping on bus stops and in tents.

A striking example of this disparity occurred when a group of migrants was moved into a courtyard building on Central Avenue, managed by Ehresman Management, just feet away from a black woman sleeping at a bus stop. This stark contrast in treatment clearly reflects the skewed priorities of our city’s leaders.

The situation becomes even more disheartening when we consider the attempted takeover of Amundsen Park, a cherished space for Austin’s active senior population and the Windy City Dolphins football program for our children. This move not only disregards the needs and history of Austin’s residents, but also signals a lack of respect for the community’s efforts to build and maintain vital spaces.

The anger and pushback from Austin residents are entirely valid. It’s a testament to the determination of the community to protect what they have fought hard to build. The energy and organization around saving Amundsen Park exemplify the need to continue showing up for ourselves and our neighborhoods.

This situation has revealed a stark reality: Some of our leaders have prioritized the welfare of migrants over the needs of their own constituents. It’s a slap in the face to the Black families who have long hoped for help and support. The time has come for the city of Chicago to acknowledge its obligations to its residents and take concrete steps toward addressing the longstanding issues that have plagued Austin and other Black communities.

In the face of this adversity, it is crucial for the Black residents of Austin to unite, stand together, and demand the respect and resources they rightfully deserve. It’s a call for change, justice, and equity — a call that cannot be ignored any longer.

The situation in Austin is further complicated by the fact that the current mayor himself resides in this very community. However, he is facing increasing backlash for his decisions and perceived lack of support for the community he once built his campaign on. The very people who elected him into office now question whether their concerns are truly being heard and addressed.

For Austin residents, it’s vital to pay close attention to leaders and organizers who have chosen to lend their support to housing migrants while seemingly turning a blind eye to the struggles of their own displaced Austinites. The decisions made by these leaders will not be easily forgotten. It’s time to advocate for the interests and well-being of the community they represent.

It’s a reminder that the power of the community lies in its unity and the accountability of its leaders. 

Austin residents have the right to demand the support, respect, and resources they deserve, and it is up to them to ensure that those who represent them in positions of authority prioritize the well-being of the community above all else.