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Chicago becomes the largest city in the U.S. to endorse a ceasefire in Gaza

Chicago City Hall. (Canva)

Chicago became the largest city to endorse a ceasefire in Gaza, supported by the work of a multi-racial, multi-faith coalition of 165 community organizations and over 100 Chicago City Council staffers.

The vote came 116 days after the start of Israel’s most recent onslaught in Gaza. Since October 7, 2023, Israel has killed more than 26,400 Palestinians, mainly women and children, and injured over 64,400. The vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza are displaced and face starvation and disease as Israel blocks humanitarian aid from entering Gaza, including water, food, and critical medicine.

The resolution passed January 31, 2024 by the Chicago City Council stipulates an immediate and permanent ceasefire, the release of all hostages, and passage of humanitarian aid into Gaza. Resolution SR2023-0006422, “Uniting for Peace” was proposed by Chicago Alders Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez and Daniel La Spata and supported by 23 Alders and Mayor Johnson who heeded the calls of thousands of Chicagoans, who have been taking to the streets continuously for almost four months to demand an immediate ceasefire and an end to Israel’s egregious crimes against humanity in Gaza.

San Francisco, Detroit, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Oakland, Seattle, St. Louis, and dozens of other cities across the nation have passed ceasefire resolutions. Human rights and racial justice organizations, faith leaders, health professionals, professors, students, and labor unions locally and nationwide have called for a ceasefire in Gaza. Chicago, which is home to the largest Palestinian population in the country, has now officially joined the groundswell demanding a ceasefire.

In the last week, Mayor Johnson endorsed the resolution, as did Reverend Jesse Jackson, and the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board. Yesterday, thousands of Chicago high schools students took over City Council demanding Alders call for a permanent ceasefire and an end to Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Now, after nearly four months of grassroots mobilization, the Chicago City Council’s historic vote makes Chicago the largest city in the country to endorse a ceasefire in Gaza.

Chicago Progressive Staffers, made up of over 100 City Council staffers, was instrumental in getting the resolution passed. After the vote they stated, “We are so proud of Chicago for living up to its progressive values. The whole world is watching Chicago in anticipation of the DNC this August. Whether conservative alders like it or not, Chicago must occasionally weigh in on foreign policy issues and especially on the cusp of it being on the world’s stage in a few months, and we are elated to add ourselves to the list of blue cities calling for a #CeasefireNow.”

The Chicago chapter of American Muslims for Palestine “applauds the Chicago Alders for standing on the side of justice and humanity, as the Palestinian people seek to end the unspeakable brutality they have endured.”

Chicago Jewish organizations Jewish Voice for Peace Chicago and IfNotNow Chicago stated, “We are proud that Chicago City Council heeded the calls of Palestinians and over a thousand Chicago Jews to support the growing movement demanding an end to the genocide in Palestine. In the wake of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we affirm that never again means never again for anyone and will continue to organize until there is a ceasefire and the liberation of Palestinians.”

Chicago United Solidarity Project, also part of the coalition that fought to pass the ceasefire resolution, stated “This call for a ceasefire illustrates our collective reverence for the sanctity of human life. We are proud of the hundreds of organizers, movement workers, and thousands of folks who took to the streets to demand this ceasefire and Chicago’s Alders for being a mouthpiece of the people. As the largest city to pass a ceasefire resolution, we hope that this inspires the rest of the country to follow suit and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and to urge our government to move beyond the symbolic and to stop the genocide.”

Grassroots organization Muslims for Just Futures “commends Chicago Alders for backing the Ceasefire initiative to halt the ongoing Palestinian genocide. With over 26,400 lives lost in Palestine and thousands of incidents of anti-Palestinian hate across the country, including the murder of 6-year-old Wadea al Fayoume, this resolution is a first step towards justice.”

The passing of this resolution was a major victory, but the work does not end there. As long as Israel’s occupation of Palestine continues, we will fight for justice, freedom, and safety for all. We will continue to fight against the dehumanization and contempt for Palestinian life. We remain committed to our goal of ensuring that our city stands for human dignity and peace, and continues to speak up against injustice, from Chicago to Palestine.

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