Chicago, city in need of leadership
Rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson is a Tribune Media Services columnist.
Chicago is in trouble. The Great Recession has devastated working and poor families, while worsening already severe racial disparities. The misery makes long-festering problems less and less bearable. Declining revenues and increasing needs mean the city must make clear choices of priorities.
At the national level, poverty has become the word that no politician dare speak. The crisis of our cities is not on the agenda. Glaring and unsustainable inequalities of income and wealth -- a country where the wealthiest 1 percent captures 24 percent of the income -- are widely ignored.
Disgraceful racial disparities continue to take a brutal toll. As the official
African-American women are 62 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women in
In this city, African-Americans and Latinos, disproportionately poor, suffer a higher incidence of low-weight babies. Our children are less likely to have a secure home or adequate nutrition. They are more likely to go to crowded schools with inadequate facilities and materials, with teachers less likely to be trained in the subjects they teach. Testing only proves what we know: that they are falling behind, while reducing schools to drill and kill exercises that crush any imagination.
We need a debate that addresses the real challenges we face. Skilled politicians have learned how to duck any question. But now, in this crisis, we need leaders who will be clear about how we get out of the hole we are in.