by George Grenchik
CALUMET CITY, Ill. (June 11, 2020) – On Saturday, June 6, Calumet City hosted perhaps its largest gathering of high profile political figures on the grounds of Caroline Sibley School (1550 Sibley Boulevard). The Southland Day of Action brought together Governor JB Pritzker, Lieutenant Governor Julia Stratton, Attorney General Kwame Raoul, States Attorney Kim Foxx, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, State Senator Elgie Sims, State Reps Nick Smith and Thaddeus Jones, and Thornton Township Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli, as well as sundry Southland mayors and city/town council members and officials.
Quickly organized to respond to both the COVID-19 situation and the unrest following events in Minnesota, the Day of Action offered food, hand sanitizer, and masks for those in attendance. There was encouragement and advice regarding the census, since much of the funding for our communities and area is predicated on a full count of our people.
Speaker after speaker gave words of hope and consolation as well as encouragement to people to let their voices be heard and demand that many of the inequities that have troubled Chicago’s southland and particularly people of color, be addressed.
Also heard was the story of two local business owners whose stores were ransacked in lootings that came to our area on Sunday, May 31.
State senator Elgie Simms proposed a Marshall-type plan for the south suburban communities. (The Marshall Plan was the massive investment made by the US to rebuild Europe after the devastation of WWII.) Senator Simms touted the figure of a billion dollars for each community for rebuilding and economic investment, looking toward the governor for affirmation.
After the speeches, many of the elected officials went to see and talk with business owners whose stores had been trashed and looted. Those stores were along Sibley Boulevard and up Torrence Avenue.