A Kennedy who is running for Illinois governor as a Democrat has accused Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel of leading a “strategic gentrification plan” to force blacks out of the city.
Chris Kennedy, son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy, said during a news conference in Chicago’s West Side that blacks and other minorities are being given no other choice but to move out of the country’s third-largest city because of an ongoing plan to make it richer and whiter.
“I believe that black people are being pushed out of Chicago intentionally by a strategy that involves disinvestment in communities being implemented by the city administration, and I believe Rahm Emanuel is the head of the city administration and therefore needs to be held responsible for those outcomes,” Mr. Kennedy, who is challenging Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker in the March 20 Democratic governor primary, told a conference on gun violence Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“This is involuntary. That we’re cutting off funding for schools, cutting off funding for police, allowing people to be forced to live in food deserts, closing hospitals, closing access to mental health facilities. What choice do people have but to move, to leave?” Mr. Kennedy asked.
“And I think that’s part of a strategic gentrification plan being implemented by the city of Chicago to push people of color out of the city,” he added. “The city is becoming smaller, and as it becomes smaller, it’s become whiter.”
The Democratic mayor’s office fired back by comparing Mr. Kennedy’s rhetoric to Republicans President Trump and Gov. Bruce Rauner, the Tribune reported.
“It’s sad to see Chris Kennedy joining President Trump and Gov. Rauner in using cynical, politically motivated attacks about Chicago’s communities for his own personal gain,” spokesman Matt McGrath said in a statement. “His divisive comments today are a direct assault on one of this city’s greatest strengths — our diversity.”
The city of Chicago has seen a steady decline of black residents since 2000, the Tribune reported. Federal census figures show that in 2010, a year before Mr. Emanuel was first elected mayor, blacks made up 33.2 percent of the population, compared to 29.3 percent in figures released last year — a nearly 4 percent decline.
• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at email@example.com.
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