Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale gave new meaning to constituent advocacy yesterday when he told Metra’s executive director “people are going to get hurt” in the dispute over how many minorities they decide to hire for a railroad bridge project, the “Englewood Flyer.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reports Beale did not specify who would “get hurt” or who would do the hurting. No matter the victims or perpetrators, this is a rather alarming prediction for a locally elected official to make.
Beal warned, “I’m trying to help you help yourself. When I say that, problems could arise. When you look at a community like Englewood [that] is challenged and you have over $1 billion of work coming through and there’s no people of color working on that project, I’m afraid people are going to get hurt.”
“When you look at the make-up of the community — when you look at the unemployment rate … in that particular community, it’s probably 35, almost 40 percent. … To have a contract come like this in the African-American community with less than one percent minority participation is an insult.”
The Sun-Times also states Beale is not the only elected official weighing in on the project. Earlier this year, Congressman and former Black Panther Bobby Rush also threatened Metra over African Americans not getting their fair share of the first $86 million being spent on the project.
There is more to come; stay tuned as this story unfolds.
Headline image: Sam Adams, Chicago Reader