A letter from CLC's Director of Fair Housing Betsy Shuman-Moore to the Chicago Reader Editors in response to their story titled Still Separate, Unequal, and Ignored:
To the Chicago Reader Editors:
Thank you, Steve Bogira, Mick Dumke, and the Reader for continuing to spotlight and detail Chicago’s persistent, harmful neighborhood segregation and the need for the Mayor and others to address it, in your recent story “Still Separate, Unequal, and Ignored.” http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/still-separate-unequal-and-ignored/Content?oid=16347785
As you pointed out so well, hypersegregation in housing underlies so many of our city’s problems. Where you live largely determines quality of schools, health, crime, and economic development. The City and others can and should do more to address this continuing situation.
The Fair Housing Project of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights works to eliminate housing discrimination and segregation and promote fair and equal housing in the Chicago metropolitan area through pro bono legal representation, education, and advocacy.
Under federal, state, county, and city laws, it is illegal to discriminate in housing based on race, national origin, religion, disability, gender, familial status, sexual orientation and source of income, among other classes. Discrimination against people who have Housing Choice Vouchers, formerly called Section 8, has been outlawed by City ordinance for 20 years, to the City’s great credit. The Cook County Board, led by Commissioner and mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, amended the County’s fair housing ordinance in 2013 to make that the law throughout the county. CLC was pleased to partner with him in that effort. However, as your story said, a Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights study found continued widespread discrimination against these tenants in 2010 and 2011, among other things. More needs to be done.
One important thing the City is doing right now is conducting an “Analysis of Impediments of Fair Housing Choice,” which is examining the current landscape and will make recommendations for change. The City should adequately fund the Chicago Commission on Human Relations to both promptly adjudicate discrimination complaints and deploy ample staff to educate residents and housing industry actors about civil rights and remedies. It should also fund fair housing testing to identify and root out discriminatory practices. Landlords and other housing actors also need to identify and eliminate discrimination. The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee looks forward to working with the City to break down our segregated living patterns.
Very truly yours,
Director, Fair Housing and Hate Crime Projects
The Greens is a 20-minute personal journey documentary that begins when a white college kid sits in a black barber's chair. They journey through time, back into the contentious memory of Chicago's "most notorious" housing project, Cabrini Green, where they confront their deepest assumptions about the neighborhood, its residents, violence, and the possibility of finding common ground.
The Greens is a documentary film screening and discussion with the filmmakers that challenges audiences to think critically about mainstream media narratives and the ways they shape popular perception of race and space in urban America. Sam and Teddy have a unique approach. Teddy, the barber, speaks from lived experience; he grew up in Cabrini-Green and spent most of his life there. Sam, the college kid, relies on extensive historiographical and sociological research from his graduate work at the University of Oxford, where he wrote a dissertation on the rise of mass incarceration and the fall of high rise public housing.
More information at www.thegreensdocumentary.com
Last night the youth of Chicago came together for a youth-led mayoral candidate forum called Youth Speaks! at the Chicago History Museum. Chicago Lawyers' Committee Staff Attorney Candace Moore, with the Educational Equity Project, spoke yesterday morning on WBEZ's Morning Shift about her role in supporting these youth and the mayoral candidate forum. To hear her interview, click here.
Chicago's youth will have a turn to express their vision for the city to mayoral candidates Wednesday at the Chicago History Museum. "Youth Speaks," comprises the only young person led mayoral Q and A and aims to unite Chicago people both young and old in addressing the city's hard hitting issues of social, economic and racial justice. Carlil Pittman an organizer for Southwest Organizing Project and young voter joins us along with Candace Moore of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law with more.