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Ald. Sawyer, community leaders speak out about new problem business in Chatham

Ald. Roderick T. Sawyer (6) stood with community leaders on Thursday to speak out against a newly opened business in the Chatham neighborhood.

Ald. Sawyer joined Chatham-Avalon Community Council President Rev. Dr. Marc A. Robertson, Greater Chatham Alliance President Richard Wooten, and Chesterfield Community Council President Elizabeth Prowell to voice outrage at the King Food & Deli located at 87th Street and King Drive. Ald. Sawyer said he had heard from a number of neighborhood residents who were offended by the store’s use of bulletproof glass and merchandise for sale, including blunts and unhealthy snacks.

“This store is an affront to our community,” said Ald. Sawyer. “Chatham is a family-oriented neighborhood. By marketing unsavory items and using bulletproof glass, the store fails to treat our residents–its potential customers–with the respect we deserve.”

Ald. Sawyer said he had been unable to prevent the opening or regulation of the opening of the store, and called on his colleagues in the City Council to pass 7th Ward Ald. Greg Mitchell’s proposed ordinance to require aldermanic approval of these sort of retail food licenses.

“Unfortunately, this is a problem we see far too often in African American communities,” said Ald. Sawyer, who is chair of the City Council Black Caucus. “I believe this could be at least partially addressed by increased local control over licensing decisions for aldermen. That’s why I support Ald. Mitchell’s ordinance, and hope it is passed quickly by the City Council.”

Ald. Sawyer said he would continue to fight to protect the 6th Ward against problem businesses, and was seeking solutions to address community concerns about King Food & Deli in the immediate term.


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