Dyett dominates budget forum

Members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett [left to right: Jaribu Lee (Kenwood Oakland Community Organization education organizer), hunger strikers Prudence Browne, Anna Jones, the Rev. Robert Jones, Jeanette Taylor-Ramaan and Cathy Dale] stand and chant in protest during Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s forum on the City of Chicago’s budget at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive, Wednesday, Sept. 6. marc

Members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett [left to right: Jaribu Lee (Kenwood Oakland Community Organization education organizer), hunger strikers Prudence Browne, Anna Jones, the Rev. Robert Jones, Jeanette Taylor-Ramaan and Cathy Dale] stand and chant in protest during Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s forum on the City of Chicago’s budget at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive, Wednesday, Sept. 6.

-Marc Monaghan

BY ALLISON MATYUS
Staff Writer

As part of a three-stop tour, Mayor Rahm Emanuel came to the South Side last night for his 2016 Budget Forum to an unsettled crowd.

The meeting took place at 6:30 p.m. at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. Shore Dr. Even before the meeting started, the main topic and concern was clear from the beginning: the fight for Dyett.

The echo of Dyett supporters reverberated the room with chants of “We are all Dyett!” and “We want Dyett!”

The twelve hunger strikers had been present at the budget forum Monday night, and had met with Emanuel afterwards where he said he would give them an answer within 48 hours. At the time of the Wednesday night forum, the 48 hours had run out, and supporters and strikers were getting irritated.

“We have 12 people starving for 17 days and no one will hear what they are saying,” a forum speaker said to Emanuel.

Each person that spoke had 60 seconds to speak on any topic concerning budget in front of the mayor. While some brought up property taxes, red light cameras and parking, a majority of topics were concerning Dyett.

“This is a listening tour, not a hearing tour,” said hunger striker Marc Kaplan. “I’m from the North Side and in less than a month, the parents and the community met and the proposal they didn’t want was taken off the table. This mayor listens and hears very well to them.”

Tensions arose with each Dyett speaker, until a crowd took over the stage, surrounding Emanuel in a sea of chants and protestors. Police had to escort the mayor off the stage. After several attempts to settle the crowd to continue the forum, the meeting was called off.

While the Dyett supporters definitely had their voices heard loud and clear, other meeting goers were disappointed that they did not get to speak their own concerns.

“I didn’t even get the chance to talk because of this,” a passerby said leaving the forum.

The last of the 2016 Budget Forums will take place tonight at Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett Ave.

a.matyus@hpherald.com