Block Club Chicago, October 17: https://blockclubchicago.org/2018/10/17/ald-pat-oconnor-called-racist-troll-by-moderator-of-40th-ward-forum/Read more
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The 40th Ward encompasses the Ravenswood, Budlong Woods, West Ridge, West Edgewater and Andersonville neighborhoods.
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A Vision for Chicago's 40th Ward
As the 6th wealthiest city in the world, Chicago has the ability to solve major issues like poverty, systemic racism in its education systems, homelessness, economic inequality and so much more. The residents of this city are ready and willing for a new, progressive way forward. The only thing that has been missing is the political will.
We shouldn’t have to fight our elected officials in order for them to do what is right for the most marginalized and oppressed of this society. Government can be a force for good if we elect people who want what is best for all Chicagoans, who push for policies that place power in the hands of the community and not just a handful of millionaires and billionaires. That’s why I’m running for Alderman of the 40th Ward, and that’s why these are my priorities:
The 3 Tenets of Ugo's Movement
Ward Services & Development
At the forefront of this campaign is Ugo's pledge to provide good governance that works for all residents of the 40th Ward. Ugo has had extensive experience in working with Chicago constituents on issues that matter to them. This is evident from his time working in Congressman Mike Quigley's office, the Chicago City Clerk's office, and the Chicago Federal Executive Board. He plans to bring those skills he has learned into the 40th Ward to improve services, be accountable, be accessible, and develop our ward to the needs of constituents.
As Alderman, Ugo will work:
- To beautify our neighborhoods by investing in more neighborhood gardening initiatives and beekeeping
- With the Chicago Park District in the 40th Ward to create after-school programming specifically for teens
- To bring more social services to the ward
- To host town halls to bring residents of the ward into the city council decision making process.
- To implement Participatory Budgeting
- To develop a community-driven zoning process
Equitable and Quality Education for All
As a graduate of Chicago Public Schools and fierce supporter of the Chicago Teachers Union in all of its efforts, I believe that the students, faculty, and staff of every school in CPS deserves an equitable and quality education no matter what side of the city a building may reside in. Due to the policies of privatization and school closings carried out by current and past mayoral administrations, there is a morally depraved system of racial and economic inequality within the Chicago Public School System that must be rooted out and transformed.
As 40th Ward alderman, I'll fight FOR:
- An Elected School Board
- Growing our neighborhood schools in the 40th Ward
- CPS to require a full-time librarian, nurse and social worker at every CPS school.
- Restorative Justice practices and social-emotional learning to be implemented in every school in CPS.
- Advocating for integration of student with IEPs with non-IEP students.
- Schools to stay open, and to properly staff and fund them.
- Solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union in all of their efforts
An Economy That Works for The Many, Not The Few
Due to the decades of policies focused on the privatization of public resources, and the balancing of budgets on the most marginalized and oppressed, we have created an economic system that favors the 1% and nickels and dimes the working people of Chicago. Moving away from regressive streams of revenue, and towards progressive revenue that ensures the wealthy pay their fair share will ensure that we have an economy that works for ALL Chicagoans rather than the 1%.
As Alderman, I will fight FOR:
- An end to the TIF program OR to create an ordinance that forces the council to vote on the allocation of TIFs in a forward facing manner.
- A LaSalle street Tax
- A Bad Business Fee (tax on businesses that fail to pay workers the minimum wage)
- Reinstating the Corporate Head Tax
- The creation of municipal Public Bank for the City of Chicago
Immigrant Rights and True Sanctuary
As a Nigerian immigrant myself, I personally understand the struggles immigrants face in coming to this country as they try to provide a better life for themselves and their children. The Mayor claims that Chicago is a sanctuary city, while maintaining policies that make some undocumented immigrants even more vulnerable than before. I believe that it is incredibly important, and our duty as citizens of this country, and this city, that we fight and stand by our undocumented immigrant sisters, brothers and fellow resistors of all statuses in these incredibly trying times.
As Alderman of the 40th Ward I will fight FOR:
- A truly immigrant-welcoming city and state
- A Welcoming City Ordinance with no carve-outs
- Pro-people and pro-immigrant policy
- Protections against ICE and the federal government in our communities
- Supporting larger efforts that work for the abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
True Criminal Justice and Police Reform
Make no mistake, the institution of police in the United States has been plagued with racial and economic injustice since it’s inception. 1 in 3 black men will go to jail in their lifetime and People of color are more likely to be jailed for crimes that whites and people of color commit at the same rate. The criminal justice system is built on the backs of marginalized people. As an African-American, these issues are personal to me.
As Alderman of the 40th Ward I will fight FOR:
- CPAC - (Civilian Police Accountability Council)
- Reforms to the Fraternal Order of Police Contract
- Community Solutions to Neighborhood Issues
Equitable and Affordable Housing for All
One of the most basic human needs is housing. We cannot live in a society where we cast those who are most at need into homeless shelters or out onto the street because we refuse to invest in our most vulnerable. I will work to move us towards being a city where affordable housing is available to residents most in need, and a city that allows for the rehabilitation of all.
As alderman, I will fight FOR:
- Passing the Keeping The Promise Ordinance
- Ensuring CHA leadership is held accountable for its actions and gives residents racially equitable housing
- Enacting the Just Eviction Ordinance
- Creating a Mandatory Rental Inspection Ordinance
- Calling on state officials alongside local community organizations to pass the Lift The Ban legislation
- Creating a community-driven zoning process
- Creating mixed-income housing opportunities with the input of citizens of the 40th Ward
- Nurturing those mixed-incoming housing prospects to ensure they remain safe, clean and habitable parts of the community
- The legalization of Accessory Dwelling Units
- Pass the Bring Chicago Home Ordinance
Empowered and Emboldened Labor
Chicago is a union town and its people have a long history of standing up for labor and workers rights. I plan to strengthen that tradition at a time when labor is often under attack. We need fight hand in hand with workers to ensure they have fair contracts, safe working conditions, and exceptional pay. As alderman, I will be in full support of our local unions and the work they do.
As Alderman of the 40th Ward I will fight FOR:
- A Fair Workweek Chicago Ordinance to give workers control of their schedules
- The monitoring of the Airport Labor Peace Ordinance
- Union rights, and to ensure the city works in a timely manner to deliver contracts to unions, and if not support the unions in their collective action.
- An independent commission to investigate and enforce wage theft and minimum wage increase ordinances
I stand in full solidarity with women in their struggle for full and complete liberation from a patriarchal system that seeks to not only racially and economically oppress womxn, but queer and femme-identifying individuals. Ugo pledges to take the cue on issues regarding women, their safety and their prosperity from directly-impacted individuals and organizations that have been doing the work for decades to ensure the quality of life in women. Ugo is a staunch advocate for
- Ensuring women have full autonomy of their bodies
- Ensuring a safe workplace environment free of intimidation and sexual harassment
- Equal-Pay for Equal Work
- Ensuring equitable treatment in the workplace
- Believing women
The struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights has been long and valiant - and there remains work to be done. I believe that trans rights are human rights and that ensuring rights for trans people in all its form is not a burden. I pledge to create a government inclusive of all genders, sexes, orientations, and ways of life by taking a cue from organizations, community leaders, and everyday Chicagoans from the LGBTQIA+ community.
As Alderman, I will fight FOR:
- An end to the homelessness struggle amongst LGBTQIA teens
- An end to the blood ban on gay men giving blood
- An end to police brutality against lesbian, gay and trans individuals
As a student of social work, I have made it my mission to bring issues of mental health into the forefront of government. In 2012, the mayor closed 6 of the 12 public mental health facilities in the city of Chicago. This is unconscionable. That’s why it is my charge to ensure we expand mental health services in this city, de-stigmatize mental health and ensure we treat those who are struggling with mental illness with dignity and fairness. It is my pledge to open a mental health clinic in the 40th Ward ward during my tenure as alderman.
Ugo believes that all of our struggles are interconnected. That is especially important in the realm of environmental justice. First, we must say unequivocally that climate change is real and that it is a threat that is affecting the lives of people all across America. Second, we must recognize the intersection between race, class and the environment. For far too long, we have allowed the land of people of color, the poor and other marginalized communities, to become dilapidated and worn. We have exposed communities to lead, and harmful toxins that will never be reversed during their lifetimes. That needs to change with a bottom-up pledge to prioritize the safety and well-being of marginalized communities across Chicago.
As Alderman, Ugo will fight
- FOR lead and toxin free communities across Chicago
- FOR the divestment of city pension funds from fossil fuels
- FOR policies that promote equity in the intersections of race, class, and environment
- FOR 100% Renewable energy by 2050
Sustainable and Equitable Transportation for All
If we are a world-class city, we must have a world-class transportation system to follow suit. Chicago hasn't expanded our transit system much for decades, which in turn means we haven’t been able to respond to the problem of jobs and housing being developed away from each other. We need to ensure the CTA is affordable, accessible and equitable across the city. That means, Ugo will fight for:
- Pushing the mayor to create $100 million in new annual revenues to increase bus availability by 12%
- Advocating for all-door boarding and proof of payment on all buses to reduce passenger boarding time.
- Urging the Chicago Department of Transportation to work with CTA to triple the amount of transit-signal priority intersections and bus stops
- Implementing a “fair fare” that ensures that low-income families throughout our city have access to cheaper single-ride tickets and monthly passes.
- The Chicago Police Department to end its abusive over-ticketing of cyclists on the South and West Sides in order to encourage—not punish—biking throughout the city.
I am continuously working with constituents of the 40th Ward and local grassroots organizations in the city of Chicago to develop a true working people’s agenda and issue page. If you are a local community organization or a group of 40th ward residents and want to include your priorities in my’s agenda, please email me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Candidate for Chicago 40th Ward Alderman
(Ugo is pictured in the middle, with his mother on his left and father on his right)
Ugo Okere is a Budlong Woods resident, the former chairman of Fuerza del Sol, a Chicago Public Schools graduate, and a community organizer on Chicago’s north side. He is also a government worker, having spent time employed in the office of Congressman Mike Quigley, the Chicago City Clerk, and the Chicago Federal Executive Board. Ugo currently works in the Office of the Evanston City Clerk.
Born in Nigeria, Ugo moved to Chicago with his family at 3 months old. At age 9, he and his family moved to Budlong Woods, where they have lived for the past 12 years. A graduate of Budlong Elementary and Lane Tech High School, Ugo received his Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor's of Social Work in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago.
Ugo is the former chair of youth community organization Fuerza del Sol, an organization of young leaders that fights for justice in areas of violence prevention, gentrification, immigration, and racial justice. Through Fuerza del Sol and in partnership with the Justice Republic Coalition, Ugo has worked towards the development of a 15-Point Violence Prevention plan for the City of Chicago. The plan has received endorsements from members of Congress and members of the Illinois State Legislature. The development of the Violence Prevention Plan alongside directly impacted community members reflects Ugo’s commitment to co-governance - that regular people have the power to shape the policies that affect their neighborhoods.
A passionate believer that the struggles of all people are interconnected, Ugo aided in organizing the largest demonstration in Loyola University Chicago’s history, where upwards of 500 students, faculty and staff stood in solidarity with students of color who were facing racial death threats at the University of Missouri. Ugo spearheaded a university wide campaign to diversify Loyola’s historical core curriculum to include the histories of students of color.
Ugo is also a frequent voice and community leader in the 40th Ward. He has facilitated Know Your Rights workshops for students at Mather High School, and organized with the founders of Hate Has No Home Here to bring community members together.
Having spent his entire adult life in the 40th ward, Ugo knows how urgent it is that we bring progressive change to our local leadership, and create a government that will put working people and community accountability first.