Turn Chicago's Balbo Ave into Ida B Wells Way

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In 1933, Chicago renamed “7th Avenue” to “Balbo Avenue” in honor of Italian fascist Italo Balbo. Over 80 years later, it is a disgrace that the City of Chicago is still honoring this fascist pilot.

We are demanding that the City of Chicago change the name of Balbo Avenue to Ida B. Wells Way. Alderman are currently proposing renaming Balbo Avenue after former Chicago Mayor Martin H. Kennelly, but this is an inadequate response.

In the wake of Charlottesville, it is important that we not only remove fascist and racist symbols, but also reflect upon why these events happened and how they can be stopped. By renaming Balbo Avenue after Ida B. Wells, Chicago could both remove this blight from the South loop and lift up an important person in Chicago's history who took a militant stand against white supremacy. Honoring Ida B. Wells invokes our collective history and also chooses the side of justice.

Ida B. Wells was an African-American anti-lynching activist, journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, feminist, and an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. Ida B. Wells called Chicago her home from 1895 until her death in 1931.

In this crucial historical moment, Chicago has the opportunity to not only remove a symbol of hate, but lift up a symbol of justice.

 



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