Laura Donaldson was sitting in a wheelchair on the Loop Wednesday delivering a message to someone in the shimmering office towering behind her.
West-side residents gathered in dozens (some in wheelchairs) outside Morningstar’s offices at 22 W. Washington St., where founder Joe Mansueto spoke to the Chicago Fire football team. protested plans to build an $80 million training facility for Former public housing site.
“Just because it’s offered to you doesn’t mean you have to take it,” Donaldson said.
Chicago Fire owner Mansuet received approval from the city council in September to build a training facility on about 26 acres. The group’s protests were spurred by Mansueto donating his $25,000 to Lori’s Mayor of Lightfoot campaign fund.
In response to the protests, a Mansuet spokesperson said: Mansuet is a socially responsible leader in her community of Chicago businesses, investing in her neighborhood and supporting a variety of charitable causes. “
The Chicago Sun-Times is funded by the Mansuet Foundation.
Donaldson and others, who are the organizers of Access Living, a disability advocacy nonprofit in Metropolitan Chicago, said building football facilities on the property instead of public housing ignores how difficult it is for people to find public housing. claimed to have
“It took us years to secure housing. It shouldn’t take that long,” Donaldson said. “It is disproportionately difficult for persons with disabilities to secure housing.”
The 54-year-old said she had cerebral palsy, used a wheelchair her whole life, and was homeless for years after her mother died until the Chicago Housing Authority found suitable housing.
CHA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Donaldson spoke briefly at a press conference held in the street outside the company’s offices. So the group contacted Mansuet and hoped to deliver a letter asking him to reconsider the plans for the training center.
“We are here to let them know that we are not going to accept this,” said Roderick Wilson, executive director of the community organization Rugenia Barnes Hope Center. We should have a say in what happens to
Wilson closed the press conference by saying, “Put the fire out and bring the house in.”
The group then left the sidewalk and went out into the street, blocking traffic.
“This is our land, this is our street,” they chanted.
Nabi Israel, 48, was in a wheelchair and was in line with several others heading to State Street.
A Hyde Park resident experiencing multiple sclerosis, like Donaldson, said it took years for the Chicago Housing Authority to find suitable housing.
“Being human is hard enough, but being black with a disability is almost impossible.”
Michael Loria is a staff reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. Reporting to Americaa non-profit journalism program aimed at enhancing the coverage of the paper in communities in the South and West.
https://chicago.suntimes.com/2022/11/30/23486184/chicagoans-disabilities-protest-chicago-fire-training-center-abla-homes Chicagoans with disabilities outraged over Chicago Fire’s West Side deal