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Progressive Aldermen, Activists Call On Mayor Lori Lightfoot To Spend Federal Relief Money On Social Service Programs, Not Police

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Several aldermen and community organizations gathered at City Hall on Thursday to demand Mayor Lori Lightfoot spend federal relief dollars on helping Chicago residents, instead of using the resources to support police and banks.

Those aldermen, along with community, youth, and anti-violence organizations want Lightfoot to use millions of federal dollars to address the root causes of violence.

"We have the most police per capita per person in this city. So if that were the case, we would be the safest city if policing actually worked," said Alycia Kamil, an activist with GoodKids MadCity.

Kamil and other activists were joined by Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st), Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd), and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), who have said the city should use the bulk of the $1.9 billion in federal relief funding it is getting from the American Rescue Plan on direct aid to Chicago residents.

Lightfoot has said she plans to use about half of that funding to pay off high-interest debt the city took on to balance its budget in 2020 and 2021, but progressive aldermen want most of the money to go to social service programs like child care, reopening public mental health clinics, eliminating debt from unpaid water bills, and funding for programs to help the homeless.

They say currently, the money from the American Rescue Plan act pays into police budgets.

But they said that money isn't helping keep Chicagoans safe, as evidenced with the number of people killed over 4th of July weekend.

At a city level, they're demanding action and investment in emergency purposes and relief, and want the mayor to work in good faith to ensure the safety of residents in the city of Chicago.

Meanwhile about an hour ago, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was joined by leaders to announce a $1.5 million investment through the Justice Advisory Council, aimed at addressing the root causes of crime and violence in underserved communities.

"Gun violence has wreckened the lives of many people throughout America; and all of us have to do everything that we can possibly do to try and stem it, and give hope and possibility, even to those individuals who may have veered off the tracks," said U.S. Rep. Danny Davis.

We reached out to the mayor's office to see if she had a response to the demands from those community leaders. We have yet to hear back.


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