chicago protests

Chicago Protests: Aunt Jemima's Brand Change, Police Officers in CPS

Here are the latest on protests, demonstrations and fallout happening across the Chicago area today

A popular brand owned by Chicago-based Quaker Oaks is making a big change.

And a group of Chicago aldermen could bring the debate over police officers in Chicago Public Schools to City Council.

Here are the latest on protests, demonstrations and fallout happening across the Chicago area today:

Gov. Pritzker Says Flags Will be Lowered on Juneteenth in Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered flags be lowered in Illinois on June 19, also known as Juneteenth.

"The governor is committed to honoring both the celebration of Juneteenth and paying respect to those who lost their lives, by lowering the flag in honor in them," Pritzker's officer said in a statement. "The governor recognizes that, now more than ever, Juneteenth is a day that reminds us that the fight for justice and equity across the nation is not over, and while we will celebrate the end of slavery, we must also recognize the systemic racism that has time and time again reared its ugly head and honor the memory of those who have died simply because of the color of their skin."

The move comes after multiple state leaders called on the governor to lower state flags to half mast to pay tribute to lives lost to racism.

“Illinois should lead the nation in condemning hate and racism, and I urge the governor to show that we stand together by lowering flags to half-mast across the state and pausing for a moment of reflection,” said State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford. “Juneteenth serves as a time of reflection and as a time for more action to deliver justice for those who have faced racism throughout their lives."

Aunt Jemima Brand to Change Name, Remove Image From Packaging

The Aunt Jemima brand of syrup and pancake mix will get a new name and image, Quaker Oats announced Wednesday, saying the company recognizes that "Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype."

The 130-year-old brand features a Black woman named Aunt Jemima, who was originally dressed as a minstrel character.

The picture has changed over time, but Quaker said removing the image and name is part of an effort by the company "to make progress toward racial equality."

Quaker said the new packaging will begin to appear in the fall of 2020, and a new name for the foods will be announced at a later date.

Donations Pour Into Chicago Neighborhood Hit by Looting

A successful GoFundMe project has raised nearly $60,000 to provide much-needed food and baby items to residents of a Chicago neighborhood hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and recent looting.

A truck full of donations has arrived at the Southeast Side of Chicago Food Pantry in the city’s East Side neighborhood.

“We have to make sure right now, especially during the pandemic, that people are safe and they have food on their table, so that’s our number one priority,” said 10th Ward Ald. Sue Sadlowski Garza.

Garza said 17 businesses, including shops on Commercial Avenue, were forced to temporarily close because of recent looting. She said many people could not access pharmacies for more than a week and several grocery stores temporarily closed because owners were fearful.

Chicago Activist Ja’Mal Green Calls for Change at Chase Bank, Warns of ‘Pop-Up Protests’

A coalition led by prominent Chicago activist Ja'Mal Green held a small protest with a powerful message Tuesday, warning that such "pop-up protests" will continue until their cries are heard.

The group called out Chase Bank and President Donald Trump, saying disproportionate lending and changes to the Community Reinvestment Act have "horribly impacted communities of color."

They allege lenders in Chicago have invested more in a single white neighborhood than all the black neighborhoods combined. The claim was first published by WBEZ on June 3, which reported Chase handed out $7.5 billion in home loans over a six-year period, but only 1.9% went to Chicago's black neighborhoods.

The coalition warned that "protests will continue unless Chase gives $1 billion in grants and $10 billion in loans."

"We must now act for a form of reparations to make good," Green said.

In a statement, Chase detailed the measures the bank says it has taken in response to the claims.

“Every Chicagoan should have equal access to the opportunity of homeownership, and we all have work to do for this to happen," Chase said in its statement. "That is why we’ve been working with community partners and local government leaders to create and promote sustainable homeownership opportunities by doubling our homebuyer grant, specifically in the South and West sides of the city, expanding access to our low down payment mortgage product DreaMaker and investing in affordable housing in Chicago.”

Aldermen Push to Remove Police From Chicago Public Schools

Three Chicago aldermen introduced an ordinance Monday to remove police officers from the city's public schools and the ordinance may be discussed during Wednesday's City Council meeting.

Ald. Roderick Sawyer, Ald. Jeanette Taylor and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa introduced the "Police Free Schools Ordinance" to terminate the Chicago Police Department's $33 million contract with Chicago Public Schools.

The group of aldermen introduced the measure as protests against police brutality continue across Chicago, some calling specifically to remove officers from schools, and around the world following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

Read more details here.

Trump Again Points to Chicago Crime in Discussing Police Reform

President Donald Trump pointed to the Chicago Police Department's murder clearance rate in discussing police reform Tuesday.

"In 2018, our police arrested nearly 12,000 people for murder, 25,000 people for rape and nearly 1.5 million for assault. Very dangerous criminals. In many cases, local law enforcement is underfunded, understaffed and undersupported," he continued. "47% of all murders in Chicago and 68% of all murders in Baltimore went without arrests last year. Americans want law and order. They demand law and order."

The Chicago Police Department confirmed in a statement Tuesday that its murder clearance rate for 2019 stood at 53%.

Data released by Chicago police at the end of 2019 showed 419 people were killed over the course of the year, a 13% reduction from the 567 who were murdered the year prior. That marked the third consecutive year the city saw a drop in homicides and violent crime, according to police.

Trump has a long history of disparaging Chicago and its violence, most recently doing so in a speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference held in Chicago last October.

Target Announces Juneteenth Will Now Be a Company Holiday

Target will now recognize Juneteenth as an official company holiday, the Minneapolis-based retailer announced Tuesday.

The company said it plans to honor "the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States" and will give team members "space to honor Juneteenth in their own way."

As part of the move, stores and distribution centers will remain open, but the company's headquarters offices will be closed. Hourly team members who work on June 19 will be paid time and a half and all eligible employees also have the option to take the day off with full pay.

Juneteenth, a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, is an annual celebration marking the end of the slavery in the U.S. The holiday commemorates a specific date — June 19, 1865, the day many enslaved people in Texas learned they had been freed.

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