FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Tale of Two Cities

by JESSE JACKSON

Bill De Blasio is garnering national attention for his landslide election in the New York City Mayor’s race. De Blasio campaigned on a populist agenda, highlighting the starktrast between the poor and the mega-rich in New York’s “t

In Chicago, for example, the contrasts are stark between the affluent North Side and the impoverished south and southwest. On the Near North Side, the average income is over $87,000 a year; in West Englewood, it is $10,599. Almost half (44.4 percent) of the households in Englewood are below the poverty line; in the North Center neighborhood, 7.4 percent are poor. Unemployment is a staggering 35.9 percent in West Englewood, compared with 4.7 percent in Lincoln Park in the north, or 4.8 percent in the Loop, the central business district.

In poor neighborhoods, poor people are deprived of basic services. There’s no community bank in Englewood or West Englewood. There are no hospitals in West Englewood and only one in Englewood. The professional standard for an ambulance run is 20 minutes or less in Chicago, but 43 percent of trauma-related hospital runs in Englewood take longer than that.

Chicago closed 50 public schools this year, the largest single wave of school closings in U.S. history. The great bulk of these were schools in the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods.

Not surprisingly, poverty, unemployment and poor services bring misery. Since 2008, nearly one in five homes in Englewood (18.2 percent) have suffered foreclosure; only 1.6 percent were foreclosed in affluent Lincoln Park. There are more than 1,000 vacant city-managed lots in West Englewood, but only six in affluent Lake View.

There have been at least 50 shooting victims this year in Englewood and at least 47 in West Englewood, but not a single shooting victim in Lincoln Park or Lincoln Square, and three in the Loop (last updated July 2, 2013).

The rich and the poor live in the same city but in two different worlds. Bill De Blasio swept to victory in New York City by decrying these disparities and promising to do something about them. He vowed to lift taxes on the very wealthy and use the money to fund pre-kindergarten for every child, a proven method to prepare kids to learn. He has promised to require that developers of high-end properties contribute to build affordable housing. He’s vowed to end the racially biased stop-and-frisk policies that were trampling the rights of young people of color.

In cities across the nation, poor neighborhoods struggle with school and hospital closings, dangerous streets, high unemployment and crushed dreams. For years, politicians have promised to get tough with mandatory sentences, three strikes and you’re out, stop and frisk. But these are reactions, not remedies. They treat the symptoms, not the underlying conditions.

De Blasio’s victory suggests the possibility of a new, more promising direction. Peace requires some sense of justice. And justice requires opportunity. The cities that refuse to learn that may well end up envying those that act on it.

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow PUSH.

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
Thomas Knapp
Florida’s Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State
Jordan Flaherty
Best Films of 2016: Black Excellence Versus White Mediocrity
Weekend Edition
February 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer
Matthew Stevenson
Is Trump the Worst President Ever?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Flynn?
John Wight
Brexit and Trump: Why Right is Not the New Left
Diana Johnstone
France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface
Neve Gordon
Trump’s One-State Option
Roger Harris
Emperor Trump Has No Clothes: Time to Organize!
Joan Roelofs
What Else is Wrong with Globalization
Andrew Levine
Why Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban?
Mike Whitney
Blood in the Water: the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper
Vijay Prashad
Trump, Turmoil and Resistance
Ron Jacobs
U.S. Imperial War Personified
David Swanson
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?
Andre Vltchek
Governor of Jakarta: Get Re-elected or Die!
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Destruction of Mosul
Norman Pollack
Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse
Steve Horn
What Do a Louisiana Pipeline Explosion and Dakota Access Pipeline Have in Common? Phillips 66
Brian Saady
Why Corporations are Too Big to Jail in the Drug War
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest to Armed Uprising
Luke Meyer
The Case of Tony: Inside a Lifer Hearing
Binoy Kampmark
Adolf, The Donald and History
Robert Koehler
The Great American Awakening
Murray Dobbin
Canadians at Odds With Their Government on Israel
Fariborz Saremi
A Whole New World?
Joyce Nelson
Japan’s Abe, Trump & Illegal Leaks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump 1, Tillerson 0
Yves Engler
Is This Hate Speech?
Dan Bacher
Trump Administration Exempts Three CA Oil Fields From Water Protection Rule at Jerry Brown’s Request
Richard Klin
Solid Gold
Melissa Garriga
Anti-Abortion and Anti-Fascist Movements: More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Thomas Knapp
The Absurd Consequences of a “Right to Privacy”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail