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Thornton Township residents decry Tiffany Henyard at ‘Take our Township Back’ rally

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CALUMET CITY, Ill. (April 29, 2024) – Around 80 people gathered throughout the afternoon on Saturday, April 27 to unite in decrying the current state of Thornton Township and its leader, Supervisor Tiffany Henyard.

Holding signs that displayed messages like, “Thornton Township belongs to us!” and “Save Thornton Township,” the crowd gathered in the north parking lot of River Oaks Mall in Calumet City to call for transparency and show support for efforts to change leadership at Thornton Township.

Township trustee Chris Gonzales was present at the event, as was township assessor Cassandra Elston.

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Around 80 people attended the Take our Township Back rally on April 27. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

“It’s our money”

Mary Avent, member of the Advisory Committee to the People’s Trustees of Dolton, opened the event Saturday and thanked local residents for coming. She said, “I won’t say I’m disappointed in the crowd because the people that matter are here.”

Avent also encouraged township residents to call their local mayors, representatives, and other people in power to share their thoughts and opinions.

Stephanie Wiedeman, a former Thornton Township staffer and longtime critic of Henyard, pointed out some of the specific ways the township should be helping people, including rental assistance, food assistance, road and bridge maintenance, senior services, and more.

“The services that are provided can be a great asset when things are budgeted and spent appropriately,” she said. “We need to all pay attention to the way money’s being spent. … I know it’s a lot to take in when it’s something that’s new. But it’s our money guys, we’re the ones paying these taxes. We have every right to know where every penny is going.”

Stephanie Wiedeman spoke about the things Thornton Township should be doing. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

“We have to make voting matter”

Sandra Tracy, a former employee in the township’s HR department for eight years, claimed that of the 190 employees on the payroll when Henyard became supervisor in 2022, 138 have since been fired.

Gardis Watts, another former township employee, told the assembled crowd not only to vote in the next election, but to be “more politically engaged” all the time.

“We can’t just keep saying that voting matters. We have to make it matter,” he said. “And that process starts with grassroots organizing.”

Gardis Watts said Thornton Township residents need to make voting matter. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Crediting local media such as The Lansing Journal and the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle, Watts encouraged other local media to get involved.

“If it’s in your backyard, you better involve yourself in that plight,” he said.

“It’s all about parties and bingo”

Robert Pierson, a former Dolton trustee present at Saturday’s rally, said, “It’s sad to see what has happened. The township did have a lot of benefits that it offered to residents. And now it’s all gone. It’s all about parties and bingo, and putting your friends in positions that they don’t know how to do.”

When asked about his biggest concern regarding Thornton Township, Carl, a resident of Harvey, said, “Lack of transparency would be the biggest.”

Photos from the event

Mary Avent, of the Advisory Committee to the People’s Trustees of Dolton, opened the event Saturday. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
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Many residents held signs showing solidarity, or criticizing the Henyard administration. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
Many residents held signs showing solidarity, or criticizing the Tiffany Henyard administration. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
Thornton Township assessor Cassandra Elston (in red) was present at the Take our Township Back Rally on April 27. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
Thornton Township trustee Chris Gonzalez (in orange) was present at the Take our Township Back Rally on April 27. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
Sandra Tracy expressed concern over how many people have been fired from Thornton Township. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
tiffany henyard
The Take our Township Back rally decried the leadership of Tiffany Henyard. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

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Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Lest we not forget how she became Thornton Township Supervisor. 11th hour deal/vote. Guess who was instrumental in that vote. Chris Gonzales. An excellent article by the Journal as to exactly how it happened.Shame shame on all that voted for her that night.

  2. Informative article and appreciate Lansing Journal keeping us in loop on Thornton Township and all that is going on!

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