March against antisemitism and all forms of hate

Too often, we have seen extremist elected officials making veiled anti-Jewish statements and pursuing racist policies. We must not become desensitized to these attitudes.

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A man enters the F.R.E.E. synagogue in Rogers Park, which was the target of vandalism earlier this year.

A man enters the F.R.E.E. synagogue in Rogers Park, which was the target of vandalism earlier this year.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

On March 3, I found antisemitic literature, which had been distributed to multiple parks, schools and homes in the northern Cook County suburbs, delivered to my front door. Receiving this type of material, I was confronted with a stark reminder of the continuing antisemitic bile perpetuated by neo-Nazi groups throughout the country.

Antisemitic action led by white supremacist groups, designed to stoke hatred and instill fear, is as virulent as ever. Even though Jews comprise less than 2% of the U.S. population, the FBI reported that anti-Jewish bias accounted for 57% of religiously-motivated hate crimes in 2020. In the first three months of 2022, Jewish communities in Cook County have faced dozens of incidents of leaflet drops, vandalism, broken glass, presence of swastikas, verbal attacks and physical assaults.

While I immediately reached out to my local police departments and to the Cook County sheriff to coordinate our law enforcement response to potential violent actions, I knew much more had to be done.

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Too often, we have seen extremist elected officials making veiled anti-Jewish statements and pursuing racist policies. We must not become desensitized to the truly horrific nature of these attitudes.We learned the importance of allyship during the rightful protests for Black lives in the summer of 2020.While I can also never truly understand the effect of pervasive bigotry on the Jewish community, one thing that I, and all people of goodwill, can do is stand as an ally against hate and to reject hate for all time.

This weekend we are doing just that. I hope you will join me for a public rally in Glenview’s Gallery Park on Sunday, April 24 at 5:30 p.m. to show our solidarity with Jewish neighbors and to reject antisemitism as having no home in our county, state or nation.

We must continue our efforts to end all forms of racism and bigotry for ourselves and for our children. We must speak out against hate for anyone, for hate against one is hate against everyone.

I pledge to unite against hate, to welcome all people regardless of their background or identity, and to support tolerance and justice. Join me and learn more at www.CookCountyUnitedAgainstHate.com.

Scott Britton, Cook County Commissioner, 14thDistrict

Let the people decide on ward maps

The power of democracy lies in people and their opportunity to impact how government is run. For the first time in 30 years, Chicagoans may have the chance to choose how they are represented. Should the Chicago City Council fail to come to a consensus on a ward map, the people will choose one this coming June.

However, the last several months have seen the prospect for a more involved democracy turned into an issue pitting communities of color against each other. Alderpersons and the media continue to fan the flames of divisive racial rhetoric, making it increasingly difficult for the people to understand which alderpersons support which proposed ward maps, which maps will even be on the ballot and what each map actually means for communities.

Chicagoans deserve to know where their alderpersons stand on the current map options. I urge City Council members to call the ward maps for votes. Chicagoans also deserve to have a say in future ward maps — not for political gain, but to ensure our neighborhoods remain intact and our representation works for us. Voters also deserve to see all of the best map options on the June 28 ballot — including the People’s Coalition Map.

If alderpersons truly want to put their constituents first, they need to let us pick the ward map that best defines our communities and our representation for the next 10 years.

Keegan White, Morgan Park

Beware of security volunteers on CTA

I was in charge of the Chicago Police Department’s undercover CTA units, and I was around when the New York Guardian Angels came to Chicago and started to patrol the Chicago transit system. I can honestly say it did not work out, and they most certainly were not needed.

Tio Hardiman now intends to place volunteers on CTA to help with escalating crime. Although I do admire the thought and idea of serving, there are just too many potentially disastrous problems. Volunteers do not know the law, and they are not sworn to stop and search individuals. They may not even know what rules and regulations the CTA has for what we call nuisances, such as smoking, eating or sleeping on the trains or in the stations.

Hardiman states that some of the volunteers are proficient in martial arts. But do we want volunteers using those kinds of tactics on individuals when they are not duly sworn and do not know the law, let alone the correct process for arrest, search and seizure? The word vigilante comes to mind when you have untrained civilians, even those who mean well, upholding laws they are not sworn or trained to enforce.

Volunteers are a slippery slope, and history tells us they become just more of the problem. Who is going to be responsible when lawsuits start to mount for false arrest? Hopefully, not the taxpayers.

BobAngone, retired Chicago Police lieutenant, Austin, Texas

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