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Target meets with Rep. Rush, won’t budge on closing Chatham, Morgan Park stores

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush and community organizer Michael LaFargue

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., and community organizer Michael LaFargue talk to reporters after meeting with Target executives at the The Kroc Center Chicago, 1250 W. 119th St. | Manny Ramos

Target executives were willing to meet with U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush — they just weren’t willing to tell him what he wanted to hear.

The Minneapolis-based retailer is sticking to its decision to close two South Side Chicago locations — which means Rush is sticking to his decision to protest outside the chain’s Loop location on the day after Thanksgiving.

Rush talked to reporters after the meeting Thursday and said Target’s insistence on shutting stores in Chatham and Morgan Park means “Target has declared war on the South Side of Chicago. … They’ve abandoned this community, they’ve turned their back on this community, they are closing and locking the door to a good quality of life to this community.”

Rush said Target officials offered alternatives, such as finding another retail store to occupy the space. But Rush said that with Target leaving “like a thief in the night,” he finds their options disingenuous.


He said “busloads” of protesters will disrupt the shopping experience for Black Friday bargain-hunters at Target’s store at State and Madison streets — even though, he added, the fight to keep Target open in Chatham and Morgan Park “is like David going up against Goliath. … We are going up against this behemoth in Target. Just like David won, we, the little people, are going to win.”

He added: “I am ashamed that I supported this big-box store coming into our community,” Rush said. “And I will be damned if I allow another big-box store coming in here.”

Rush called for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago City Council to revoke any tax-increment financing assistance the company already receives. The Council recently approved $13 million in assistance for the Edens Collection, a center at Foster and the Edens that will have a number of retailers, including a Target.

Emanuel also has tried to get Target to reconsider the Chatham and Morgan Park closings, without success. But he did sign an executive order allowing the city to recoup city subsidies from future developments that, like the Edens project, lease space to retailers when those retailers open stores in one Chicago neighborhood while also closing them in another.

Manny Ramos is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.

Contributing: Fran Spielman