Although the city of Chicago can seem like a long drive away from all of the day-to-day issues we experience in Normal, it is important to consider that the events occurring there right now do affect us, and more than we may think.
Many students at Illinois State are from the area, have family or friends there or are considering the city as a place to live after graduation. Regardless of how one personally connects, it is important to turn our attention to the upcoming mayoral elections.
On Aug. 6 at a press conference to address Chicago’s rising gun violence, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he would be stepping down from the office he has held since 2011. Emanuel had quite the tumultuous run as mayor of Chicago.
According to the Chicago Tribune, fatalities from gun violence exceeded 1,433 in 2018, a significant increase to the 1,334 accounts reported in 2012, and in addition to these losses related to violence, Illinois’ population has decreased for the fifth year in a row. A new mayor could be exactly what Chicago needs to turn over a new leaf and head in the right direction.
Among those who have long voiced disapproval of Chicago’s corrupt politicians is hometown hero Chance the Rapper, who has become more politically involved as his musical career reaches new heights. His most recent venture included buying the Chicagoist, a local independent news platform that was shuttered in November due to unionization efforts and a change in ownership of the publication’s parent company.
Chance announced that he had acquired the publication in his song “I might need security,” where he voices many of his problems with the way the city is being run, and told WNYC that his focus would be to bring Chicagoans “an independent media outlet focused on amplifying diverse voices and content.”
In addition to this business venture, he has been using his influence on social media to promote candidate Amara Enyia, as well as producing videos to educate the public on the way local government actually works, like the ins and outs of Chicago’s alderman system.
Chance’s work is an example that all should strive to follow, as our generation comes of age and begins to shape these local governments. After the 2016 presidential election, many Americans who did not exercise their right to vote realized that it is important to practice this civic duty, and that includes helping set change in motion during these elections for smaller offices.
Chicago, as well as the state of Illinois, has a long history of corrupt politicians that have opened the door for high taxes and even higher reports of violence. Becoming more aware of the issues is the first step in enacting change on a local, state and federal level.