This evening, 20 of Chicago's 50 aldermen are set to take part in the city's first "People's City Council Meeting." The event is scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. at the UIC Forum, located at 725 W. Roosevelt Road. Doors open for the event at 5:30 p.m.
The event's organizers say the purpose of the People's City Council Meeting is to give all Chicagoans a voice in what is happening in local government.
"With a new mayor and new City Council in office, community leaders and union members from around Chicago are coming together as the 'People’s City Council,' one that prioritizes good jobs, affordable and stable housing, quality public education, and strong public safety over the desires of billion-dollar corporations," reads a press release announcing the meeting.
Some 1,500 community leaders are expected to attend the meeting to discuss issues affecting local communities, including public safety, housing, the city budget, and the effect big banks are having on the city's neighborhoods and bottom line. "All Chicagoans should have a say in what happens in government," explains the meeting's organizers. "Working families expect corporations and banks to share in the sacrifice. Budgets should not be balanced by cutting public services, but rather through developing neighborhood-based solutions, and demanding that wealthy corporations and banks pay their fair share."
The following aldermen are slated to take part in the city's first People's City Council Meeting: Bob Fioretti (2nd), Will Burns (4th), Roderick Sawyer (6th), Michelle Harris (8th), George Cardenas (12th), Toni Foulkes (15th), Ricardo Munoz (22nd), Roberto Maldonado (26th), Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), Jason Ervin (28th), Deborah Graham (29th), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Nick Sposato (36th), Tim Cullerton (38th), John Arena (45th), James Cappleman (46th), Ameya Pawar (47th), Joe Moore (49th), and Deborah Silverstein (50th).
Several community organizations are collaborating to put on the event, including Grassroots Collaborative, Action Now, American Friends Service Committee, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago Teachers Union, Enlace Chicago, Illinois Hunger Coalition, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Lakeview Action Coalition, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Metropolitan Tenants Organization, Pilsen Alliance, SEIU, Local 1, SEIU Local 73, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, Southwest Youth Collaborative, and Unite HERE.
Luis Carrizales, of Enlace Chicago, explained why his organization is taking part in the groundbreaking event. “Instead of funding community programs, they continuously give tax breaks to wealthy corporations who don’t care about our communities, this is outrageous," he said. "We are coming together on July 7 at the UIC Forum and are calling on concerned citizens to join us at the People’s City Council Meeting.”
Check out the video below for a look at the arguments and recent action by some of the groups helping to put together this evening's People's City Council Meeting: