Stop Asian Hate

Notes from the 4/1/21 issue

Stop Asian Hate
Hundreds of Asian immigrants and Asian Americans rallied in Logan Square on March 20 after the Atlanta mass shooting that claimed the lives of eight people, six of them women of Asian descent. Some speakers blamed the Trump administration for sowing distrust of China and by extension, Asian people, during the peak of the pandemic. On March 27, Chicago joined other cities across the country in solidarity with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, alongside public officials and supporters from out of state. Local activists called for better public safety in Chinatown and for Asians to be treated with dignity.

Not a good look for Loretto
Last week, Mayor Lightfoot announced the City would no longer be distributing COVID-19 vaccines to Loretto Hospital after the West Side hospital gave vaccines to ineligible but well-connected people such as, according to Block Club Chicago, Cook County judges, residents at Trump Tower, and employees of a Gold Coast luxury watch store. The hospital’s COO/CFO, Anosh Ahmed, resigned after being named in connection with the unauthorized inoculations. Just three months ago, in December 2020, Lightfoot touted Loretto as the flagship of the City’s commitment to equitable vaccine distribution and it was the site of the first public COVID-19 vaccination. At that event, the mayor joined CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, Loretto CEO George Miller, who is currently on leave because of the scandal, and State Rep. Lashawn Ford, who has since resigned his seat on the hospital board. On March 29, following tense exchanges with reporters at previous press conferences as the story unfolded, Lightfoot expressed support for an audit of Loretto’s vaccination program. The 60644 ZIP Code, which includes Austin, had 7.6 percent of residents fully vaccinated as of press time; the citywide total is 13.4 percent. South Side Weekly’s neighborhood tracker shows 218 COVID-19 deaths in Austin to date. The City announced it will open two new mass vaccination sites on Monday at Chicago State University and at a Wrigley Field site.

An immigrant city?
It’s no secret that new immigration from Latin America to Chicago is practically at zero, due in part to a shortage of jobs and a rising cost of living. A recent report by the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) demonstrates that the Mexican immigrant population in the greater Chicago metropolitan area has dropped dramatically in the last decade, by 45,000 people in the city alone, noting that “our standing as an immigrant friendly state is slipping.” MPC added:By losing immigrants Illinois loses cultural vibrancy, talent, and even tax revenue, which has major implications for the state and the Chicago region.”

The Weekly’s FOIA lawsuits
In March, the Weekly filed two Freedom of Information Act lawsuits after FOIA requests related to police overtime controls and to last summer’s protests were denied by law enforcement. The first lawsuit was filed against the Chicago Police Department after it denied multiple requests for departmental emails, meeting notes, and overtime related data. The second was filed against the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) after it refused to release body-camera recordings from Chicago police officers involved in an altercation at a protest on July 17, 2020, in which the Weekly identified CPD Officer Nicholas Jovanovich as the officer who struck GoodKids MadCity organizer Miracle Boyd in the mouth. Both lawsuits have July court dates.  

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