Back of the Yards Says ‘No’ to Ward Divisions

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessThe Committee for a Unified Back of the Yards (CUBY), a group determined to erase the political boundaries that currently divide the Back of the Yards neighborhood into five wards, gathered in an unprecedented attempt to politically unify the community during this year’s ward redistricting process earlier this month.

For the past 10 years, the Back of the Yards has been divided into five wards: 3, 11, 12, 16, and 20. At recent hearings, representatives of CUBY have testified that being spread across the tail-end of five wards has hindered and complicated much-needed progress in the community. Further, CUBY has testified that mapping the Back of the Yards into one new Latino-majority ward will help promote peace, education, economic development, and empowerment in the area.

Redistricting the Back of the Yards community into one cohesive entity will make the socioeconomic stability of the neighborhood the responsibility of one alderman, not five. If this year’s redistricting of city wards does not go as planned, the ward boundaries of this historic neighborhood may continue to resemble the seemingly arbitrary lines of a jigsaw puzzle.

While the current political boundaries starkly divide the community, neighborhood residents are increasingly coming together to improve the quality of life. The gathering highlighted a new initiative, led by Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC), a CUBY supportive organization, which will serve to further unite and improve the neighborhood. BYNC, in partnership with LISC Chicago, has implemented the Great Neighborhoods Program, a program designed to improve the quality of life for Back of the Yards residents through social and economic development neighborhood-wide.

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