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The South Side needs a Community Benefits Agreement with the City, UofC, and Obama Library

This petition had 151 supporters


The Obama Presidential Center is coming home! This can help build the kind of communities that Obama fought for, OR it could displace longtime residents. In our Development Principles (ObamaCBA.org/principles), we push back on being pushed out. We call on a negotiated, legally-binding contract for employment, economic development, education, housing, sustainability, and transportation. Such agreements have protected communities everywhere from LA's Staples Center to Grove Parc housing here in Chicago.

What will the Obama library take?
Obama’s library will consume 21 to 22 acres of one of our public parks. That space will soon house a museum, a presidential archive center, and a library. It’s a private library because it’s typical to charge general admission at presidential libraries. With this construction we’ll face the loss of free public space, and we’ll lose that space to a development that won’t contribute to the neighborhood’s tax base. (As a 501(c)(3), the library won’t pay many taxes.)

Why do we want a CBA?
Keep in mind Chicago’s long history of displacing poor people of color. It repeatedly seems that when our city and our government makes “improvements,” Black families are displaced and disenfranchised. Construction of the Dan Ryan expressway displaced Blacks along State Street in the 1950s and 60s. In 2013, Chicago Public Schools closed 50 of our neighborhood schools. People’s homes have been demolished. Between 2000 and 2010, 180,000 Black people moved out of Chicago after the City’s “Plan for Transformation” to improve the Chicago Housing Authority’s public housing. And now President Barack Obama, in collaboration with the City of Chicago, the University of Chicago, and the Obama foundation are planning to “improve” communities with a $500 million dollar library.

It’ll be great architecture, but what does it mean for our communities? What does this mean for us and our neighbors? The communities surrounding the Obama Library have a right to self determination and equitable development. The community has a right to a CBA!



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