Friday, April 23, 2010


“We All Need To Eat!”

 Concerned Citizens of East Garfield Park and allied protesters block the entrance to the Marshall High School Campus Park construction site. They charge the general contractor broke his pledge to hire minority subcontractors & workers from the community. (Photo by Brad)

Patience and tempers are wearing thin as the ranks of protesters swell at the construction site for the Marshall High School Campus Park and Sports Facility, being built south of the school on Kedzie & Adams. A coalition of community organizations led by Luster Jackson and the Concerned Citizens of East Garfield Park are picketing the site in protest over the failure of the general contractor, John Keno Construction Company, to honor its pledge to include African American subcontractors and hire workers from the neighborhood surrounding the school.
    Luster Jackson charges that the contractor is playing games by hiring local laborers for three days and then laying them off. He says there are no Black-owned subcontractors involved in the project.
    “This is an African American community hard hit by unemployment and the recession,” notes Jackson. “Marshall High is a Black school, yet when the students and their teachers look out the windows at the construction of their new athletic facility, they see no Black people at work,” says Reverend Dwayne Hightower, Pastor of General Assembly Church and member of the L.E.A.D.E.R.’s Network and Westside Baptist Ministers Conference. “What message is that sending?”
    Jackson notes that a portion of the land on which the new athletic facility is being built was partially owned by the historic Monroe Street Church of God in Christ, founded in 1908. The church land was acquired for the Chicago Public Schools through eminent domain.
    Jackson says Mayor Daley as Chairman of the Public Building Commission is ignoring community concerns and the Chicago Public Schools is also refusing to assert itself and demand that the general contractor take on minority subcontractors and hire from the Marshall attendance area. Jackson states, “Daley’s blatant disregard for community institutions is unconscionable.” He also criticizes Alderman Ed Smith for remaining silent and for failing to apply pressure on the City to ensure jobs for his constituents.
    Joining Concerned Citizens of East Garfield Park are the Midwest Community Council, L.E.A.D.E.R.’s Network, Community Advocates for Viable Employment, 25 block club presidents, John Marshall High School alumni, and Fifth City Reformulation Corporation. For information on the protest, call Luster Jackson at 773/230-2871.
Community leaders say a protester was assaulted by a worker at the entrance to the construction site. He reportedly filed a police report and is considering a lawsuit. (Photo by Brad)
Luster Jackson & protesters gather at 5th City to discuss strategy to force the general contractor to hire workers from the community to build the Marshall High School Campus Park & Athletic Field. (Photo by Brad)

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