It’s been one month since the huge vote in Chicago City Council on whether to purchase the land at 4301 W. Chicago for the cop academy. That day we had hundreds of supporters present, Chance the Rapper testified with our campaign, and the vote was NOT unanimous! Since then, many have been asking…what now?
Thank you for all of your support in the campaign so far. Here are some updates on where things are headed, and how you can get involved. At the bottom are reflections and lessons learned from the first 6 weeks of the campaign. Most importantly, the fight is far from over!
What are we doing now?
- Continuing to engage City council members – we know this will return to a vote in March of 2018, when City Council will be asked to approve the designer selected to build the academy, being selected through the Chicago Infrastructure Trust’s RFP process.
- Continuing to support Black youth in leadership, and deepen our base through youth-facilitated workshops at schools and in communities, on the Westside and across the city.
- Continuing to FOIA the City for hidden documents around the planning of this academy, and research possible points of intervention.
- Beginning working with design & architect partners, in communication with area residents, to develop an alternative proposal for how to spend $95 million on the site at 4301 W. Chicago.
- Request a #NoCopAcademy workshop for your classroom, church, or community group (priority given to Westside residents) – reach out to NoCopAcademy@gmail.com!
- Start a canvassing team in your neighborhood – reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for a start-up kit
- Meet with your Alderperson about #NoCopAcademy – reach out to email@example.com for a packet and more information about strategies for alderman visits.
- Join the #NoCopCarols twitter brainstorm on Saturday 12/9 from 12PM-2PM to share your ideas of holiday tunes to re-write into #NoCopAcademy carols for actions later this month.
- Donate: https://donorbox.org/nocopacademy
- Share recent articles about #NoCopAcademy on social media!
Reflections since the 11/8 City Council Vote:
#NoCopAcademy Numbers from the first 6 weeks:
- Dozens of actions led by young Black people all across the city.
- 1800 petition signatures.
- 340 letters to Alderpeople.
- At least 8 visits to Alderpeople’s offices.
- A dozen testimonies during public comments.
- We had 1 Alderperson vote with us! Shoutout to Carlos Rosa – this is significant because the majority of City Council votes are 50-0.
- 24 original media pieces on 11/8 alone.
We’ve told the story clearly and consistently, and cut through the nonsense and politispeak. It’s becoming the ‘common sense’ opinion in more and more communities that we spend too much on policing, and could better invest in lasting safety by spending the $95 million on resources such as schools, clinics or after school programs.
We’ve built up support with non-traditional allies. From those working for housing justice to economic justice, and public health across Chicago, now 50 community organizations have signed onto the campaign – making it clear that the issue of over-spending on police isn’t a small, isolated opinion. We’ve also been building solidarity with efforts to #FreeTheFunds for CPS spending, and to #SaveNTA.
Young Black people, and young people of Color from across the city, are in the front of this campaign, leading actions, testifying at public meetings, canvassing all over the city, engaging Alderpeople, and shaking up business as usual in the City.
The public comment process is built in a way that disadvantages community efforts – such as short speaking times, and hiding the committee process – which make it hard to mobilize effectively. We need to get better at navigating the way City Council works, so that we can fight back even though it’s rigged against us.
We needed to document the meetings with City Council members that did happen better – so that they can’t lie and say they weren’t approached (like Mitts did repeatedly), and to show more people how easy and possible it is.
We need more materials in Spanish and other languages to continue to expand our bases.
We need to continue to build on the Westside, where a number of youth leaders and key organizations are involved, but expand that and refuse to allow the City’s divisive narratives to go unchallenged. Now that the land is purchased, it’s more important than ever that West Garfield Park residents have a say in what the City builds there.
Other efforts to keep an eye on right now!