CHICAGO - Black Lives Matter protesters teamed up with a group of Obama Presidential Center demonstrators for a peaceful march through the South Side on Thursday.
It was a show of solidarity between Black Lives Matter and a group of organizers in the Woodlawn neighborhood fighting to keep longtime residents from being displaced from the area because of the not-yet-built Obama Library. There was roughly 200 people marching.
“Rent started to go up, land started to go up, taxes started to go up,” said Ashley Giles-Perkins of Black Youth Project. “People already being displace. Ground hasn't even been broken.”
The group is pushing the City Council to pass the Community Benefits Agreement, or "CBA Ordinance,” which requires a certain amount of affordable housing to be built along with the presidential library.
“We are especially here to ask Mayor Lightfoot to remember the community that lives here in Woodlawn and provide for us affordable housing,”said Ebonee Green of the Obama CBA Coalition.
The group camped out most of the day on one of the neighborhood's many city-owned vacant lots. They are fighting for a percentage of those lots to be used for affordable housing.
“It is because of systemic racism that this lot remains vacant and is not developed as affordable housing,” said Woodlawn resident Sharon Payne.
In the evening, the group was joined by dozens of others who continued to voice their opposition to police brutality -- causes that organizers say are by no means unrelated.
“They're hand-in-hand. These are the same residents that would be displaced are the same residents that are being brutalized by police. It's the same residents that are our essential workers, it's the same people that would be losing their jobs,” Giles-Perkins said.
The group was very critical of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who they say has prioritized Chicago's well-to-do areas over the South and West sides.
The Community Benefits Agreement, or "CBA Ordinance,” has not yet been passed by the City Council.