Photo by Parthenia Luke
CHICAGO – Brandon Johnson received the endorsement of a large coalition of prominent Black pastors and faith leaders in Chicago, who gathered Tuesday, March 21st at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church, 5141 S. State Street, to make the announcement.
“Brandon Johnson is a man of faith, family and integrity. I’m proud to support him for Mayor of Chicago because I believe he will bring the change and healing that our communities need, from the West Side and beyond,” said Pastor Marshall Hatch Sr.
“I support Brandon Johnson for mayor because he is rooted in faith and community,” said Pastor Chris Harris. “Brandon will be a mayor for the people because he understands the challenges facing our communities. I believe Brandon will be a trusted, visionary leader for our city and make the investments our people deserve.”
“I endorse Brandon Johnson for mayor because he is the best candidate to unite our city and bring resources to our neighborhoods,” said Bishop Larry Trotter. “His lifelong values of faith and public service will guide his leadership through this critical moment for Chicago.”
“As the son of a pastor, I know the vital role our faith leaders play in our communities as trusted sources of guidance and support,” said Commissioner Johnson. “I’m honored to receive the endorsement of this coalition of pastors who care so deeply for their congregations and communities. I look forward to incorporating their vision and values into my plan to build a safer, stronger Chicago.”
Pastors endorsing Commissioner Brandon Johnson include: Bishop Eric Thomas, Pastor Earl Grandberry, Pastor Ira Acree, Rev. Steven Thurston, Rev. Janette Wilson, Pastor Robert Belfort, Pastor Johnny Miller, Pastor Eady and Bishop Booker.
Photo by Parthenia Luke
CHICAGO - Dr. Willie Wilson and dozens of faith based leaders gathered at Provident MB Church at 8401 S. Ashland Ave to Sunday March 19th to endorse Paul Vallas for Mayor. Dr. Wilson spearheaded the outreach to the faith community in order to build a diverse coalition of supporters for Mr. Vallas' campaign.
“Our city and especially the African American community have been devastated with high crime, high taxes, and poor-performing schools. Paul Vallas will support our police and not defund them, and he will hold the line on taxes,” said Dr. Wilson.
Chicago Mayoral Candidate Paul Vallas complimented former Chicago Mayoral Candidate Dr. Reverend Willie Wilson as Reverend Wilson endorsed Paul Vallas for Mayor of Chicago.
Mr. Vallas touted the school openings in the various administrations he worked in as well as other public service efforts. Crime, public safety, and schools were topics discussed by Mr. Vallas. Stating that public safety is a human right, Mr. Vallas concluded that the foundation of community policing is when police and citizens know each other. School closings during the COVID-19 pandemic were criticized as a reason for the uptick in youth crime. Mr. Vallas proposed that the schools be open after hours as they were previously under his administration as well as providing work study and faith based programs. Mr. Vallas said he will draw from the community and from previous Mayoral election opponents for a leadership team if he is elected Mayor of the City of Chicago.
Dr. Wilson, who endorsed Mr. Vallas two weeks ago, is hoping that his multi-cultural following of faith leaders in Chicago will urge their members to vote for Paul Vallas i the April 4th run-off election. Early voting starts Monday March 20th.
Stop and Frisk, foot pursuit of suspects, and those commtting crimes being let out on bail and committing more crime were some of the issues raised during Tuesday night's Mayoral debate held at WGN-TV. Commissioner Brandon Johnson continued to push his idea of hiring new detectives to investigate unsolved crimes, while also providing more mental health workers to address many of the 911 calls which Commissioner Johnson insisted are largely mental health crises. Paul Vallas stated that the vacancies in the police ranks should be filled by bringing back and rehiring police who have retired or resigned during COVID. He advocated "pro-active policing, meaning police interacting more with community residents. Mr. Vallas insisted that although he was endorsed by the FOP, he has excepted no financial contributions from them, and made no promises to them he would be bound to fill if elected. Photo by Parthenia Luke.
Audience members at this fourth Mayoral forum included elected officials, community activists, business executives, and faith leaders, many of whom have not yet made a public endorsement. The candidates' positions on public safety, a number one concern among Chicago residents, may be the determining factor for many voters who are tired of crime, violence, and a police force that seems ill prepared to handle the problem effectively.
Public Safety was the topic in this fourth Chicago Mayoral forum in which runoff election contenders Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson and Former CPS CEO Paul Vallas answered the tough questions regarding strategies for fighting crime and also preventing police misconduct. The event was held at at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) at Roosevelt and Halsted on Tuesday March 14th. The runoff election will be April 4, 2023. Photo by Parthenia Luke
Before the candidates were introduced, Arne Duncan pointed out that crime is the number one issue of the Mayoral campaign. He called gun violence "The cancer that is destroying the soul of our city." He noted that two individuals who were members of one of the organizations sponsoring the Mayoral Forum had recently been victims of gun violence, one had been robbed at gunpoint, the other shot and killed. He quoted statistics on the rise of gun violence in Chicago, noting that in the past three years 14,000 people had been shot, 2,800 had been killed. He told the audience that Chicago has surpassed New York and Los Angeles in violent crimes. Photo by Parthenia Luke
Peer Coach at the Youth Peace Center of Roseland Dantrell Jelks explained that as a child he had no positive role models in his community and sought out the gangs for a sense of belonging and direction. By the age of 15 he had been shot multiple times and by the age of 17 he was incarcerated for unlawful use of a weapon. He and his friend Lorenzo Taylor started a youth intervention organization called "Understand We Love You." Dantrell Jelks pointed out that the community must show youth that they care. Lorenzo Taylor stated that organizations with programs that work should receive financial resources. Photo by Parthenia Luke
Chicago tribune journalist and frequent political commentator Laura Washington and former Tribune Columnist Eric Zorn asked questions about crime, public safety and policing that were suggested by members of the sponsoring organizations. Candidates were also questioned on statements made in previous forums, such as Brandon Johnson's statements about "defunding the police" and Paul Vallas' statements we need to "take the handcuffs off the police." Johnson said he was referring to questioning the need for jobs such as "graphic designer" that are not policing positions. Vallas said he didn't recall making such a statement. Both candidates agreed that there should be less supervisors sitting at a desk and more officers on the street. Photo by Parthenia Luke
Moderator Rev. Craig Gnash instructed the audience to refrain from audible responses and instead use the small placards provided with a thumbs up on one side and thumbs down on the other side. The forum, which attracted a standing room only crowd, was sponsored by a coalition of violence prevention, faith based and community development organizations. Some came prepared with signs announcing their opinions, but only one person became disruptive before having to be asked to stop. Photo by Parthenia Luke
While Brandon Johnson stated that racism in the police force would not be tolerated under his administration, Paul Vallas answered questions on his relationship with the Fraternal Order of Police, which endorsed his candidacy. Vallas insisted that he accepted no monetary contributions from the FOP organization. Photo by Parthenia Luke
Audience members held thumbs up signs showing agreement with statements by Brandon Johnson that although Chicago spends more on policing than New York or Los Angeles, Chicago is still not any safer.
"We're not solving crime in Chicago," Johnson asserted. "When almost 40% of your 911 calls are for mental health crises, and police officers are being asked to be social workers, counselors, therapists? When mental health crises occurs and the only equipment on the scene are guns? That's a recipe for disaster!" Vallas stated that more after school programs with mentoring activities for youth could help prevent youth crime. Photo by Parthenia Luke
CHICAGO - Mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas participated in a runoff mayoral forum on Saturday March 11th, 2023 held by Chicago Women Take Action Alliance, a group that advocates for women. The event was held at the Chicago Temple, 77 West Washington Street. In this third forum in a series of face-offs between the two candidates, Commissioner Brandon Johnson sought to emphasize his proven abilities as an effective leader on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, addressing women's health issues.
Regarding recruiting more women for the Chicago Police Department, he stated, "We have relied so heavily on law enforcement to do and handle every single dynamic, much like we do with teachers. That's why we're having a tough time recruiting and retaining educators as well. We have to improve conditions in which individuals are being asked to serve." Photo by Parthenia Luke.
In this third round of forums, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas sought to distinguish his management skills from that of his opponent, portraying his time as head of CPS as a success in making difficult management decisions. He suggested that school ROTC programs, in which 46% of the participants are women, can provide a direct pipeline to positions as police officers for the Chicago Police Department. He said his focus as Mayor will be public safety, quality schools, and transforming budgets into real community investment vehicles. Former teacher Brandon Johnson was recently endorsed by the Illinois Nurses Association and also picked up an endorsement by Massachusetts Senator and former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who is also a former teacher. Paul Vallas was recently endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police and former mayoral candidate Dr Willie Wilson. Photo by Parthenia Luke.
CHICAGO - The DuSable Black Museum and Education Center, formerly the DuSable Museum of African American History at 740 E. 56th Place, was the site of the second head to head battle between the two candidates vying for the position of Mayor of the city of Chicago.
As public figures and organizations announce endorsements of their favorite candidates, Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas seek to distinguish themselves on key issues through these public forums.
Photo by Marcus Robinson
Thursday evening members of the panel asked candidates their plans to insure public safety. Both pointed to economic opportunities as the key to ending crime. Brandon Johnson said he intends to expand the Department of the Environment to address the issues of lack of clean air and clean water. and determine what needs to be done.
"The bottom line is this," stated Brandon Johnson, "There are tremendous opportunities in green technology, retrofitting our buildings, making sure that we are attracting businesses here, biotech and life sciences. But our education system has to be a part of that. That's why I was a part of the hunger strike at Dyett High School to make sure that it remained open."
Acknowledging that home ownership builds economically stable communities, Paul Vallas stated that the City of Chicago could start using Tax Increment Financing for affordable housing.,
"You could generate billions of dollars that you can use to invest in affordable housing all over the city and use that money to subsidize first time home buyers," he said. "The building of community wealth is transferrable from generation to generation."
Both candidates expressed the idea that better training of police officers would result in more effective prevention of crimes and solving of crimes.
Paul Vallas, who received nearly 34% of the vote in the February 28th Chicago Mayoral election, was endorsed by fellow candidate Dr. Willie Wilson, who is urging his supporters to follow his lead.
"We did a survey of the people who voted for me," stated Dr. Willie Wilson at a press conference held Wednesday, March 8th. He had asked his supporters to state their opinions on his Facebook page, which he noted had over 100,000 views. "Nearly 80%" of the responses were for Paul Vallas, he stated, "Probably because of the crime issue. A lot of people are concerned about public safety." Dr. Wilson noted that the city tends to be racially polarized, but he said he intends to stay away from the divisiveness along racial lines. Paul Vallas praised Dr. Wilson for his generosity and compassion, stating, "We've had an opportunities to talk about the issues, we've had an opportunity to talk on a personal level, and when it comes to public safety, we both agree that it should be a human right." Photo by Naimah Latif
On election night, a total of 172,093 votes were cast for former CEO of Chicago Public Schools Paul Vallas, granting him nearly 34% of the vote, the highest percentage of the 9 candidates, placing him as frontrunner and assuring his place in the April 4, 2023 runoff election, even with mail-in votes still to be counted. Photo by Parthenia Luke.
Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson secured 103,387 votes, giving him a little over 20% and placing him in the second place position, poised for a runoff against Paul Vallas. Photo by John L. Alexander.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot came in third place with 86,952 votes. She conceded the race and thanked her supporters, noting that the next Mayor will still have to face many challenges. Photo by Parthenia Luke.
Congressman Jesus Garcia, who in the November 2022 election was re-elected to Congress, received 70,006 votes for Mayor of Chicago, nearly 14%. He will remain in Congress. Photo by Parthenia Luke.
Dr Willie Wilson, the first to enter the race, finished in 5th place with 48,658 votes, nearly 10%. He stated that there are thousands of uncounted mail-in ballots and will therefore not yet concede. Photo by Parthenia Luke
Ja'Mal Green received 10,845 votes, 2.1%; .Kam Buckner recieved 9,111, 1.8%; Sophia King received 6,344 votes, 1.3%; and Roderick Sawyer received 2,160 votes, 0.42%. City Council representatives Sophia King and Roderick Sawyer will remain in the position of Alderman until the new remap takes place and the newly elected Aldermen are sworn in.
Supporters of Jonathan Jackson's bid for the First Congressional District gathered at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago on election night and saw the announcement of victory streaming across the big television screen early in the evening as votes for many other races were still being tallied. Jonathan Jackson, highly favored to win after his Primary Election victory, stood with his father, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and the retiring 1st Congressional District Representative Congressman Bobby Rush.
As National Spokesman for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Congressman-Elect Jonathan Jackson ran on his record of public service, standing up for the many wrongfully incarcerated and exposing confessions obtained by torture under the supervision of former Chicago police commander Jon Burge. He pledged to work for greater access to economic resources and for laws that create a climate of fairness. Photo by John L. Alexander
Congressman Bobby Rush, who announced his retirement from office after 15 terms, did a ceremonial "passing the torch" to his successor Jonathan Jackson, passing an African statue as a symbol of the transference of power. Congressman Rush, now aged 76, stated in his announcement in January of 2022 that he would be focusing on his roles as Pastor of the Beloved Community Church of God in Christ. Photo by John L. Alexander