Chicago’s youth movement rising.


Young activists in Logan Square protest the loss of affordable housing in our neighborhood.

Chicago’s youth movement of Black Lives Matter, protests against police violence and school sit-ins have created a political dynamic in the city that is a joy to watch.

But hard for an old guy to keep up with.

Naturally the Sun-Times version of Mr. Wilson, Dan Mihalopoulos, grumbles about 16-year old Lamon Reccord.


The face of the protests so far has been 16-year-old Lamon Reccord. His staring contests with officers have featured on cable news channels and in the world’s most widely read English-language news site, the Daily Mail.

According to his LinkedIn networking profile, Reccord began helping Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s challenger Kimberly Foxx in September — well before the release of the police video of McDonald being shot.

Mihalopoulos, you recall, was responsible for the major journalistic scoop that uncovered CTU President Karen Lewis’ vast real estate holdings including a family-owned summer home in Michigan and a time share.

He uncovered the facts behind Reccord’s political activism by going to Reccord’s Linked-In site. Fact: Reccord is involved in registering voters and is active in  Chicago Votes.

It would seem to Mihalopoulos that Reccord is so busted by this.

Dan Mihalopoulos is the king of the Google-search investigative reporters.

Yesterday just a few blocks from my home young local activists were also marching.

To cover this, Dan Mihalopoulos would have needed to get out of his chair.

“I think it isn’t right for one company to own more than half of a block, “ says LSNA youth leader Eduardo Cordero, 16, whose family has lived in Logan Square for over 20 years.

Rising property taxes and rents are not the only thing displacing long-time residents along The 606, the new open-space trail that runs 3 miles from Hermosa to Ashland Avenue.  Several development companies are tearing down one property after another, especially along California Avenue.

On Tuesday, local high school students demonstrated on the 1800 block of north California where one company has five separate developments and now controls nearly half the block.

The demonstrators say these tear-downs and developments threaten to erase the neighborhoods where they grew up.

One of the demonstrators held a sign: “Now that the neighborhood is nice, why do I have to move?”

Good question.

The answer? Corporate greed.

Wilmot Development owns ten lots on the block of  1800 N. California Avenue and have several zoning change requests pending with the City Council’s Zoning Committee for tear downs and new construction in Alderman Joe Moreno’s 1st Ward.

Eduardo said “My family and I have watched our community get better and safer but at the cost of our loved ones.”

As a Logan Square resident for 40 years I have joined with many of my long-time neighbors to fight for real improvements in the community, like The 606 and parent-led change to local schools.

Now I see many that are not able to enjoy the fruits of our efforts.

The neighborhoods at the western end of The 606 have been predominantly Latino for decades.

In addition to single-family homes, the area includes many buildings with 2-4 apartments.  These buildings are owned by moderate-income families providing affordable rentals to many low-income families.

Ariana Montes de Oca, a sophomore at North Grand High School in Hermosa, has watched as her friends are force to move out of the neighborhood.

“A lot of my friends have to transfer schools. The reason that we are doing this is so people can be aware of the gentrification that’s going on around them. And that it is affecting people.”

This year, North Grand High School saw a drop in enrollment. This translated to a  half-million dollar budget cut and the loss in special education positions.

Kelvyn Park High School has dwindling enrollment over the last several years. That translates to almost $7 million dollars in budget cuts and a loss of dozens of teaching positions.

When I was a student teacher at Kelvyn Park the school had 1500 students enrolled. Now it is down to hundreds.

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