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New Freedom Bus Tour stops in Chicago

The Freedom Bus riders received a warm welcome in the cold city of Chicago today, with a community forum, a reality tour of Chicago's housing projects, and a benefit concert.
The Freedom Bus riders received a warm welcome in the cold city of Chicago today. A community forum hosted by the Arnold Mirales Human Rights Project provided us with insight into the situation in the Chicago's south side, as well as wonderful Mexican food.

Following the forum, we went on a "realilty tour" of public housing in Chicago, led by Rene Maxwell of the Chicago Coalition to Protect Public Housing. We witnessed high-rise public housing buildings being demolished.

Facts about public housing in Chicago:
• 51 high-rise public housing buildings have already been or are slated to be destroyed
• 18,000 apartments being demolished
• 42,000 people forced out of their homes
• over 100,000 people on a waiting list for public housing

The final stop of our public housing tour was at Rockell Gardens, a low-income housing development slated for destruction in 3 to 6 months. We talked to some of the residents, who showed us documentation that the City of Chicago received over $35 million for rehabilitation and redevelopment of Rockwell Gardens (under the HOPE VI program), and charge that not a single unit of replacement housing has been built for low-income people.

One resident said, "We have nowhere to go. The city promised us- in writing- that no one would be evicted during the winter, and now that's exactly what they are doing. They're throwing people out on the streets."
After the tour, a benefit concert was held for us at The Fifth City, an arts and culture space. Organized by Rene Maxwell, one of the highlights of the event was the House of Daniels Choir , pictured above.

Some of the folks who attended the concert:
• Azteca Workers
• Rogers Park Community Action Network
• Cabrini Green Tenets Association
• Rockwell Gardens Tenets Association
• El Salvador Sister Cities Chicago Chapter
• ESSCC National Office
• Not in Our Name Coalition
• Students from University of Ill. Chicago
• Students from University of Wisconsin
• Students from Kalamazoo College
• Coalition to Protect Public Housing
• Rogers Park Labor Party Organizing Committee



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