Homeless people deserve to be treated with respect on CTA

Verbal abuse and other harassment by CTA-contracted private security workers occurs daily, a homeless outreach volunteer writes.

SHARE Homeless people deserve to be treated with respect on CTA
People get on the blue line heading towards O’hare at the CTA Blue line Clark and Lake staton in the Loop, Sunday, April 30, 2023. | Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Commuters get on the Blue Line to O’Hare at the Clark and Lake staton in the Loop on April 30.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The screams came from a gaggle of CTA-contracted private security workers walking through the Jefferson Park Transit Center.

“Get out of here!”

The deafening commands I heard a few days ago were directed at a shuffling, rail-thin older man struggling to hold up his pants with one hand while carrying a shopping bag of his belongings with the other.

The security workers followed him for a few minutes, taunting him with loud commands to move along. Without replying, the man shuffled more quickly, almost falling as he tried to comply. I asked the homeless gentleman if I could call 911 to help end the verbal assault, and he replied, “No, it will only make it worse”

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Shocking and unacceptable verbal abuse and other forms of harassment by CTA-contracted private security workers occurs daily and must end immediately.

Verbal abuse and harassment is dehumanizing. It erodes and eventually destroys the human spirit. Abusive experiences also undermine people’s attempts to seek help and move on from homelessness. Too many unsheltered people in Chicago are left living in fear and isolation.

The CTA and City Council need to relay to these contracted security workers that the verbal abuse and harassment of unsheltered residents is unacceptable.

Monica Dillon, NWS Homeless Outreach Volunteers, Norwood Park

Give public workers the recognition they’ve earned

Every day, public servants carry out critical work that allows our society to function. We rely on public servants for our daily safety through emergency services and preventing crime and terrorism; to ensure we build and maintain the physical infrastructure allowing us to move from place to place, communicate across long distances, power our homes or drink clean water; to educate our children; to administer critical social programs like Social Security and Medicare; and much more.

Too often their work goes unnoticed until something goes wrong. Yet public servants work every day to provide a stable foundation for all of us to enjoy our lives and our freedom. We should thank them more often — or at least once a year.

That’s why, since 1985, the first week of May has been designated Public Service Recognition Week. I hope you will join me in expressing your appreciation to those who serve our communities and our country.

Frank Frieri, La Grange Highlands

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Why do gun shops have more rights in Illinois now than my grandchildren do to feel safe in school?

Elizabeth Marren, Beverly

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That is demagoguery. Once again we were confronted by politicians’ speeches in lieu of action.

Jim Halas, Norridge

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