Sep 04, 2018
Progressive voices both within the city and from across the country were expressing jubilant elation on Tuesday after two-term Democratic Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made the surprising announcement he will not seek a third term.
"Shoutouts to every rank-and-file CTU member who demanded better for our students and our union educators," tweeted the Chicago Teachers Union, which had battled with the mayor throughout his controversial tenure, in response to the news. "You helped end this toxic regime."
"Rare bit of welcome news," said David Menschel, a criminal justice attorney. He described Emanuel as "one of the most awful elected officials in the nation - a mayor who hyper-polices black kids while closing schools, social services."
Saqib Bhatti, co-executive director of the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE), responded by stating, "Since the moment he stepped into office eight years ago, 'Mayor 1%' Rahm has done nothing but attack Chicago''s communities of color."
Bhatti added, "From spending millions on toxic swap deals and police brutality bonds that took desperately needed dollars away from Chicago's neighborhoods and schools to line the pockets of big Wall Street banks, to fueling rampant gentrification through development subsidies that led to school closings and the closure of mental health clinics in Black and Latino neighborhoods, Rahm has proven a true enemy to low-income folks and people of color across the city."
Meanwhile, there were a lot of reactions like this:
Benji Hart, an educator and artist in Chicago, was also among those cheering Emanuel's announcement and championing the grassroots opposition that had long resisted his policies. "Congrats to all the organizers who helped this happen, and to oppressed communities who suffered under this admin," he tweeted. "Let's celebrate today, and remember that the fight for our freedom continues tomorrow."
Haymarket Books, the left-wing book publisher located in the city, issued a series of images depicting everyday Chicagoans shunning Emanuel as an expression of widespread sentiment:
According to the Chicago Sun-Times:
Emanuel, a former congressman who also held positions in two Democratic presidential administrations, was elected in 2011 and survived a run-off to win a second term in 2015. But he faced in increasingly crowded field for next year's municipal election.
He also was looking at some turbulent weeks ahead, during the trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, charged with murder in the October 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald.
In an event that has come to define his second term, Van Dyke was caught on video fatally shooting McDonald 16 times -- but the video was not released for more than a year.
Van Dyke's trial, which starts this week, is certain to dredge up ugly memories of Emanuel's decision to withhold the McDonald shooting video until after the 2015 election and release it only after a judge ordered the city to do so.
The timing, as many observer, was notable:
\u201cRahm Emanuel is not seeking re-election. A genuine shocker the day before Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke goes on trial for murder in the Laquan McDonald shooting. Follow @rrhinton for coverage. https://t.co/HJu9qxjo9c\u201d— Nader Issa (@Nader Issa) 1536077010
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