Brighton Park Residents Voice Concerns to Elected Officials

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

The Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC) held a public meeting, recently, at John C. Burroughs Elementary School gymnasium where council representatives and community leaders spoke to elected officials regarding cuts to the state budget that impact neighborhood schools, jobs, and the community.

Last Thursday, around 300 worried residents convened at the school’s gymnasium to vocalize their concerns on such issues as, minimum age, the need for early childhood education, and obtaining a graduated income tax rate in Illinois. At the meeting, residents took to the podium to express a need for better legislation and urged elected officials to quit using the livelihoods of Brighton Park residents as a political game. Residents asked for a fixed budget and secured programs that would adhere to the needs of the community.

“We need legislation that stimulates the economy and promotes economic justice such as, a statewide minimum wage of $10.65, a graduated income tax, and more resources for high quality subsidized child care so that low income families can go back to work,” said one attendee, who asked not to be revealed. Illinois’ minimum age now stands at $8.25 an hour, more than the federally mandated $7.25 an hour. Brighton Park is the highest need neighborhood for early childhood services in the state of Illinois.

“Living on a minimum wage salary is impossible,” said Cira Garcia, minimum wage worker and attendee at the public meeting. “I do not have enough to pay all the necessities such as, transportation; rent, light, gas, food, not even clothes.” BPNC is a community based, nonprofit organization serving a low-income working class neighborhood on Chicago’s southwest side.

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