Alderman Lopez helped the Arab Community, now the Arab community should help Ald. Lopez
By Ray Hanania
When Arab American businesses needed help to fight against the racism of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Building Department which targeted Arab-owned businesses, Alderman Raymond Lopez of the 15th Ward didn’t hesitate to stand up and speak out against the racism.
Ald. Lopez’ support helped put a bright spotlight on what Mayor Lightfoot was trying to do, make the Arab Businesses a scapegoat for the city’s rising street gang related violence and rising murder rate.
One of the first groups to stand up and defend Arab American businesses was the Arab American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois. The AACC helped organize the targeted business owners and reached out to elected officials like Ald. Lopez to speak out and raise the issue to force Lightfoot to backdown.
The press conferences and media interviews were important because Lightfoot knew that if no one reported on what she had done, no one would pressure her to stop. Ald. Lopez’s role ensured that the media covered the Mayor’s misguided and racist policy forcing it to stop. Click here for details.
You can click this link to read the many stories in the media that were published about the first wave of closures in Sept. 2021 and the second smaller wave of closures that took place in May 2022. Both were stopped and Lightfoot was thrown out of office when her re-election failed.
Although some Arab Americans, like at the Arab Business and Professional Association (ABPA), saw this as an opportunity to stand with Mayor Lightfoot an exploit the controversy to get close to Chicago City Hall power, the majority of businesses spoke out against the racism and demanded that it stop backing the AACC.
More than 50 to 100 Arab owned businesses were forced to close in the summer of 2021, businesses that were near locations in which street gang gun violence had taken place. “Blame the Arabs” was Lightfoot’s policies and some Arab quislings supported her campaign closing their eyes to Arab American need.
But Ald. Raymond Lopez helped bring attention to the practice and participated in a press conference in earlySeptember 2021 to demand that Lightfoot stop the racist stereotyping of Arab American businesses.
The next day, under pressure from the news media, Lightfoot ordered a halt to the closures. Most of the stores, that had been harassed and closed by the city’s “Task Force” for months were allowed to open, within days.
In May 2022, after the issue had settled down, Lightfoot again ordered a crackdown on stores and businesses owned by Arabs that were near where violence had occurred. Again, Alderman Lopez stood by Arab Businesses and denounced the targeting, once again forcing City Hall to stand down.
Alderman Raymond Lopez is now asking for support and he has a fundraiser scheduled for Friday, September 20, 2023. And now is the time that Arab American businesses and store owners should stand up and support him.
Join the 15th Ward Democratic Regular Organization this Friday, September 29th, for a luncheon honoring the Honorable Raymond A. Lopez, Alderman & Committeeman of Chicago’s 15th Ward! at Cafe Bionda, 1924 S. State Street which will be held from 11 AM until 1 PM.
Tickets are available by visiting this link:
For more information, please call 773-306-1975.
Alderman Raymond Lopez stood up for us. We need to stand up for Alderman Lopez.
I am proud to support him.
INFO ON FUNDRAISER
Join 15th Ward Democrats in honoring Chicago’s most senior Latino Alderman & Democratic Committeeman, Hon. Raymond A. Lopez.
Friday, September 29, 2023
Cafe Bionda | 1924 S. State St.
11 AM – 1 PM
Checks can also be mailed to:
The 15th Ward Regular Democratic Org.
2650 W. 51st Street (Rear)
Chicago, IL 60632
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. A political analyst and CEO of Urban Strategies Group, Hanania’s opinion columns on mainstream issues are published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. His Middle East columns are published in the Arab News. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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