In light of President Barack Obama’s decision Monday to move this year’s G8 summit from Chicago to Camp David, a group of local community organizations is calling on World Business Chicago to donate the $65 million it raised for the summit to fund neighborhood jobs programs.
On Tuesday morning, a group of about 50 community leaders from organizations such as Action Now, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, and the Brighton Park Neighborhood Organization gathered outside World Business Chicago’s office on State Street.
“If [Mayor Rahm Emanuel] can ask World Business Chicago to fund $65 million for this NATO summit, surely he can ask them to fund a neighborhood jobs trust,” said Leary Ann Crawford, a resident of Chicago’s South Side Chatham neighborhood and an SEIU* healthcare professional.
Leary addressed a handful of reporters and bloggers and began to cry when she recounted how her son was killed in 2002 due to gang violence. Leary said a jobs program in her neighborhood would help alleviate some of the crime her family has experienced over the years.
The coalition of community groups, known as the Grassroots Collaborative, said it wants Mayor Emanuel, who is the chairman of World Business Chicago, to use $100 million for local jobs projects that promote safety and could create 41,666 summer jobs for youth, 10,810 parent patrols for one school year, or 4,358 full-time watchmen for vacant foreclosed properties for one year.
Here's more from the press conference:
Before the press conference ended, Charles Jenkins of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless went in to the World Business Chicago offices to request a meeting with Vice-Chairman Michael Sacks. Jenkins came out about 10 minutes later to announce that he had been denied entrance beyond the security counter located on the ground floor lobby.
“I am mad as a wet cat about not being able to at least go up and request a meeting,” Jenkins said. “As a taxpaying citizen of Chicago, I feel like I should have that right at a business office of a non-profit organization that represents economic development.”
Last week, Mayor Emanuel touted a new economic development plan created by World Business Chicago, which lists neighborhood development as number nine out of ten proposed steps for revitalizing Chicago’s economy.
Eric Tellez, a spokesperson for Grassroots Collaborative, said since the report doesn’t lay out a specific plan for neighborhood development his organization’s proposals should be taken seriously.
Attempts for comment by World Business Chicago via phone calls and email were unsuccessful.
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