Rename Balbo Drive after the Patroness of Immigrants: Chicago needs Saint Cabrini Drive!
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On Aug. 17, 2017, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reported that Alderman Ed Burke and Alderman Gilbert Villegas are looking to rename Balbo Drive. The reason? Balbo is a known fascist who helped bring Benito Mussolini to power. While the Italian government took down all symbols of fascism after World War II and asked other countries to do the same, Chicago still pays tribute to Balbo with the street bearing his name. It's time for that to change.
Chicago has the opportunity to not only rename this street to right a wrong, but to rename the street in honor of someone who has inspired hope in the city and around the world for over 100 years - Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. St. Cabrini was an Italian immigrant who lived, worked, and died in Chicago. Before her death at age 67, she founded 67 institutions of care around the world including three in Chicago - Columbus Hospital, Columbus Extension Hospital (later named Cabrini Hospital), and Assumption School. The National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini stands in Lakeview (where Columbus Hospital once stood) as a sacred space and living legacy to this extraordinary woman who made a tremendous contribution in providing education, healthcare and social welfare to the people who walked our city's streets. She walked along with them. She dedicated her life to serving the poor and new immigrants to the United States. When she was canonized in 1946 she became the first American Citizen Saint and over 100,000 people gathered in Chicago's Soldier Field to honor her. 2017 marks 100 years since her death. What better way and what better time to proclaim Chicago's status as a sanctuary city and show its support for today's immigrants than by renaming the street after the Patroness of Immigrants?
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