No Cop Academy and a thin blue line

The second floor of City Hall was hotter than usual Friday afternoon. The air conditioning was shut off as hundreds of Chicago activists and organizers protested funding the $95 million cop academy in Garfield Park proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The vote to give $28 million to the academy was initially scheduled for Wednesday, but the vote was delayed due to protests.

The #NoCopAcademy campaign, a movement dedicated to allocating that $95 million for community members rather than stronger policing, hosted a press conference before the vote featuring members of Chicago community organizations like Black Lives Matter Chicago, Good Kids Maad City and Assata’s Daughters.

The press conference also featured 35th Ward Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, who was the only alderman who voted against giving the academy $10 million in November 2017. Ald. Rosa was joined by 22nd Ald. Ricardo Munoz and were the only no votes on Friday. “I decided to vote no in November of 2017 and cast that sole no vote because organizers with Assata’s Daughters, organizers with #NoCopAcademy came to me and said stand with black youth,” Ald. Rosa said. “And I said I’m gonna do my job and I’m gonna vote no.”

Amidst the heat, there was joy in the demonstration – attendees of all ages sang chants, danced and even Swag Surfed in the chambers of City Hall. Residents of the South and West Sides of Chicago are advocating for mental health funding, public health initiatives, education and job training programs in their communities.