Jackson calls for healing
By Chinta Strausberg
On the day before Chicago’s historic mayoral runoff election, Father Michael L. Pfleger, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and other supporters on Monday made it clear that they will stand by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. That was the message Pfleger told the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) supporters—to keep their “damn” hands off her.
Pfleger, Jackson, activist Ronnie Mosley, former mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green, Erica Bland-Durosinmi, vice president of politics for SEIU Healthcare Illinois and others made their comments during a press conference held downtown at Temple Chicago, 77 W. Washington.
But it was Father Pfleger who lit up the press conference. Referring to the FOP rally, Pfleger said, “This is the same FOP that stood behind Jason Van Dyke and defended his slap on the wrist sentence of 81 months for murder fair.
“This is the same FOP that stood behind three police officers who covered up the murder of Laquan McDonald and called their acquittal ‘right and just.’ This is the same FOP that has been an obstruction to justice for years…standing with and financially supporting bad cops who have murdered young Black men in this city,” Pfleger said.
Referring to Tuesday’s mayoral run-off election, Pfleger added, “Whether people agree or disagree with the handling of the Jussie Smollett case, let’s be clear. The attack on Kim Foxx is not about Jussie; rather it is an excuse to try” to attack a “strong Black office.” A state’s attorney elected on the promise to reform the office, including reforming a “bad” bail system and working to release people wrongly convicted.
Pfleger said her critics are angry at Foxx for her willingness to deal with the “unfairness to Black and brown people in this city and to create a new mental health and diversion committee.” The current system has become a constant revolving door for the Black and Brown community over at 26th and California.
“The attack on Kim Foxx is not about Jussie Smollett,” Pfleger said. “That’s a front; rather it is an attempt to try and remove a person who is a threat to the old boy’s system of power in the city and in this state.” His message to the FOP and their supporters was clear.
“To the FOP and all those standing with them who decided they want to destroy Kim Foxx understand you are not taking on just Kim Foxx; rather you are taking on masses of people who want and demand change in the city of Chicago,” Pfleger said. “Disagree with her if you want, but take your damn hands off her. Change is going to come whether you want it or not.”
Rev. Jackson said, “This issue is not just about black and white. It’s about wrong and right. Jackson said since Foxx took office on December 1, 2016, there have been some “notable” improvements that the FOP clearly does not want like making that office the most transparent state’s attorney’s office in the nation.
At the same time as the press conference, there were two groups clashing a half block east in front of Foxx’s office. Members and supporters of the FOP were calling for the resignation of Foxx and Black Lives Matter members calling the mostly white men racists.
Foxx, who is the first African American woman to head the second largest prosecutor’s office in the country, was the target of sharp criticism by Kevin Graham, president of the FOP, where his group carried numerous signs saying, “Get the Foxx out,” “Foxx resign now,” but others like the Black Lives Matter peppered the air with signs reading, “FOP IS RACIST.”