The following was written by Dick Simpson, former Chicago alderman and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
American cities and metropolitan regions are in crisis. Suburbs as well as inner cities.
Operation PUSH’s International Convention on July 7th, scholars, pubic
officials, civil rights leaders, and citizens met to hammer out a new
urban and metropolitan agenda to meet this crisis. There has not been a
national urban agenda since the Carter administration three decades ago.
The Office of Urban Affairs that President Obama opened when he went to
the White House has been impotent.
Consider the magnitude of our
urban problems. 500 hospitals have closed in the last two decades while
three out of four urban emergency rooms are at or over capacity. Our
health is at stake.
Not only is Chicago closing 50 public schools
but in 2010 public school districts across the country closed 1,929
schools. Charter and private schools are growing instead. Meanwhile,
college student loan debts exceed $1 trillion; the average graduating
student owes $27,000. Our education system is failing.
more African-American adult males in prison, jail, or on parole than
were enslaved in 1850 before the Civil War. Prisons have been privatized
and we have a now prison-industrial complex housing too many of our