A Chicago alderman is firing back at Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's claims that racism is responsible for major problems in the Windy City, explaining that generational gang violence is actually what plagues Chicago.
What did Lightfoot claim?
Lightfoot announced last Thursday she would divert more than $9 million earmarked for COVID-19 pandemic relief to address racism, claiming the pandemic has "laid bare" racial disparities and systemic discrimination.
"At almost every point in our city's history, sadly, racism has taken a devastating toll on the health and well-being of our residents of color, and particularly those who are Black," Lightfoot said. "Without formally acknowledging this history and reality, and the continuing impact of that infamous legacy, looking at the root causes of today's challenges, we will never be able to move forward as a city and fully provide our communities with the resources that we need to live happy, vibrant, and fulfilled lives."
She added, "COVID laid bare a lot of disparities. When we started looking at the disproportionate impact of COVID on communities of color in particular, there's a straight line to the lack of access to safe, affordable, high-quality healthcare."
"We can no longer allow racism to rob our residents of the opportunity to live and lead full, happy, and healthy lives," Lightfoot said.
What did the alderman say?
Alderman Raymond Lopez (D), however, contents that gang violence is the real problem wreaking havoc on Chicagoans — and Lightfoot is intentionally ignoring the issue.
"Generational gang life isn't just something that's encouraged. It's almost revered in some neighborhoods," Lopez told the Washington Examiner. "If you really want to get to what is at the heart of a lot of this, it is gangs, and it is the borderline collapse of the family unit in many of our neighborhoods ... [Lightfoot] has avoided calling out gangs in our community as a source of violence in our city."
"I think it's a foil to avoid having to deal with [gang and other issues], period. Two hundred-plus murders in the city of Chicago, none of them were committed because of racism," he added. "I can tell you last week's gang shooting had nothing to do with racism. The shooting in Englewood Monday morning, four people shot, three others injured, was not about racism."
In fact, according to Lopez, Lightfoot's focus on racism, as opposed to gang violence, as the city's problem is meant to appease her "white, lakefront, liberal, woke supporters."
The result, according to Lopez, is that his constituents, who are mostly mostly Hispanic and black, "feel the city doesn't give a s**t" about them and the real problem of gang violence in their neighborhoods.
There have been 294 homicides in Chicago as of June 12, according to the Chicago Tribune. That is 21 more homicides compared to the same time period in 2020, and 60 more than 2019.