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:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail