As the national conversation on race and police-community relations continues, sparked by police killings in Ferguson, New York, the discussion has also come to Chicago. Protestors marched through the streets of the city on several different occasions since Nov. 24, expressing their distaste for a justice system they believes targets black Americans unfairly.
Brian T. Murphey, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says these recent events are only the catalyst for conversations based on larger, deeper frustrations over a long period of time.
African Americans comprise approximately 12% of the U.S. population, while they make up nearly 44% of our prison population. Roughly 1 of 15 African American males go to prison compared to 1 of 106 white males. Therefore, either 1) African Americans are more prone to crime, or 2) the criminal justice system has in some way become biased toward putting black human beings in prison.
Chicago's citizens are speaking out because they are angry. Regardless of whether an unarmed Trayvon Martin was aggressive toward a fellow Floridian, or whether an unarmed Michael Brown charged toward a police officer, or whether an unarmed Eric Garner was "resisting arrest" after being suspected of selling individual cigarettes on the street, or whether a 12-year old boy was shot to death in a playground for holding a toy gun, the fact remains: it is statistically more dangerous to be a black male interacting with the police. This stands as an egregious violation of civil rights and should unite people of all political philosophies.
Read the rest of Murphy's thoughts on race and police in Chicago at Reboot Illinois.
While concerns like these are for all of the people of the state to address, other issues, such as transportation, are located more firmly in the realm of politics and politicians.
Two proposed projects, the 47-mile Illiana Expressway toll road and the Peotone Airport, have been called "boondoggles," only suggested in an effort to win votes for Gov. Pat Quinn. After Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner takes office, will either stand a chance of completion?
Brett Chase at the Better Government Association writes:
Rauner, a Republican who takes office in January, is vague about his position. He considers the Illiana an important economic development catalyst for Will County but questions the cost to taxpayers, a spokesman said. As for Peotone, any new airport "must have enough demand to be self-sustaining and not reduce economic activity at other airports in the region," a Rauner statement said. So far, there isn't demand from airlines or cargo carriers for Peotone and the impact on O'Hare and Midway airports remains a criticism.
Read more about the governor-elect's stance at Reboot Illinois.