Ald. Julia Ramirez issues statement after being battered during Brighton Park protest

An aide was also battered, and was transported to a local hospital

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Chicago Ald. Julia Ramirez has issued her first public remarks after she was battered, along with an aide, during a protest against a proposed site for migrant housing in the Brighton Park neighborhood.

Ramirez said that she and her aide attended the event at the request of protesters, but were quickly assaulted and battered after their arrival.

The aide was hospitalized after the incident, with Ramirez declining medical attention, according to Chicago police.

Here is her full statement on Thursday’s events:

“Today my staff and I went to meet with 12th Ward residents protesting Mayor Johnson’s plan to construct a temporary shelter for migrants at 38th and California. Residents contacted my office this week and asked that I attend to hear their concerns. I wanted to engage directly with my community to address misinformation being spread about my involvement in the plan, and how we should move forward as a community.

“After having a few conversations, it became clear that most of the protesters did not want to engage in peaceful dialogue with me. It was truly a disappointing experience.

“As I was leaving the protest, a group of protesters surrounded me and my staffer and began assaulting us. Fortunately I’m okay, however my staffer was taken to the hospital and is in good condition.

“I understand residents are fearful and have concerns about the city’s plan. I have the same concerns. I’m a born and raised resident of Brighton Park. I ran for Alderwoman so that I could be in a position to address the years of disinvestment in my community. I hear my residents and want them to know I will always advocate for their safety and ensure our communities have the resources they deserve. I also respect everyone’s right to peacefully protest, however violence and hate is not the answer.

“I hope to continue to build bridges across the different communities in the 12th Ward as we address this crisis in a humane and compassionate way. Brighton Park should be a welcoming community to both existing residents and new arrivals.

“I call on the mayor’s office for more transparency, accountability and more local involvement in the decision-making process, to explore more options for establishing the permanent shelters, and reevaluate if tents are an appropriate solution at this site.”

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson also issued a statement following the incident.

“My administration supports the rights to peaceful protest and free speech, but this type of action against a public servant is unconscionable,” he said. “Any violent act against an elected official in our city is unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms.”

Finally, Rep. Jesus “Chuy” García said that the city and country can “never tolerate” such attacks of public officials.

“Earlier today, Alderwoman Julia Ramirez and an aide were physically attacked while trying to meet with constituents,” he said. “All people have a right to peacefully protest and make their concerns known, but we can never tolerate violence towards elected officials and their staff.”

The battery occurred at the protest in the 3800 block of South California in the Brighton Park neighborhood Thursday morning. The protesters gathered amid the city’s evaluation of the vacant lot as a potential site for a “tent city” to house migrants that have been bused to Chicago from places like Texas and Florida.

Ramirez said that the site is still being evaluated, leading to dozens of protesters gathering to push back against the plan.

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