Mayor Emanuel called for a special session prior to the regular scheduled City Council meeting set to take place at 10:00 a.m. His address to city council members was focused around three words: justice, culture, and community.
The Mayor believed these over-arching ideas are the key to effectively confront the issues our city faces as well as part of winning back the public’s trust. This collective effort called for by Mayor Emanuel is a citywide call for adults to set a higher standard of behavior for Chicago’s children. He believes this will in turn allow youth to understand that problems can be worked out responsibly and fairly with mutual respect. He furthered this idea of reform by saying “we need to reset our norms, our expectations, and our values.”
With his nine-page address nearing an end, Mayor Emanuel’s voice began to tremble and preceded to bang the podium. He said, “no citizen is a second class citizen…respect is a two-way street.”
These remarks came after the Mayor spoke on how a Chicago youth’s question made him pause, “would the police ever treat me (Rahm Emanuel) the way they treat them,” and the Mayor answered “no.”
This answer forced the mayor to identify the underlying issue of gun violence resulting in mistrust of the Police Force, which includes: poverty, joblessness, and hopelessness. However, nowhere in the Mayor’s nine-page plea for change did he address the issue of a strong education system.
He questioned, “how do we give more young people more opportunities instead of a path to nowhere?” He failed to say that the answer is quality education. The divestment of neighborhood schools occurring in communities plagued by gun violence is the root of the many challenges our city faces.
The justice, culture, and community changes when neighborhoods don’t have a reliable foundation where parents, students, and residents can count on for resources to reinforce this “change of culture” the Mayor is asking for.