Chicago residents push back on city plans to build a multi-million dollar police and fire training academy.
Last Wednesday, demonstrators disrupted an iftar hosted by Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emmanuel to protest the city’s move to build an academy purposed to train fire fighters and police officers.
Several outcries from demonstrators alleged that Emmanuel, a Jewish-American, and former Chief of Staff of the Obama Administration, was using the Muslim ritual during Ramadan for political positioning.
Muslims disrupted Rahm Emanuel’s Iftar dinner tonight in downtown Chicago. We refuse to be used as political pawns for the mayor’s racist agenda. #NoCopAcademy #BoycottIsrael #HaramEmanuelIftar2018 pic.twitter.com/XIBqxFyMSO
— ফায়জা nash (@sadazn) May 31, 2018
The protest is part of an organized movement since September 2017 called No Cop Academy with the hashtag #nocopacademy. The campaign works to stop a $95 million training academy scheduled to be built in a predominantly black community in West Garfield Park, the West Side of the city.
No Cop Academy is a student-led movement with youth across the city, and is endorsed by almost 70 local organizations ranging from National Lawyers Guild to Chicago to Jewish Voice for Peace Chicago. From social media use to frequent protests in city hall, demonstrators have placed pressure on the issue. According to Think Progress, the movement forced Chicago’s civic leaders to rush a vote on approving the academy, as well as intimidate protestors with threats of arrests.
Movement organizers criticize the city’s plans to direct resources into a training facility when Chicago’s public school system decided to close 54 schools in mostly Black and Latino communities.
Although, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are preparing to build an $85 million state-of-the art school in Englewood, residents and teachers express concern that traveling to the area are one of the few logistical issues. Additionally, the school’s location will be in a section of the South Side where a disproportionate amount of shootings take place.
No Cop Academy has been following the movements of the city carefully, keeping a timeline of the plans. The last update is that they are waiting for the call for proposals on who will work on the project. For now, they protest.
Photo credit from No Cop Academy’s Twitter page