Forum Event Hosted by The News School

Courtesy of Adriana Castelan

On Thursday, Oct. 17, 2022, The News School hosted a candidate forum event. It was open to the public, and drinks and food were provided as well. The forum covered the topics of Education, Mental Health, Housing, Economics/ Entrepreneurship, and the lack of food resources. These main topics were covered since they were the most asked for, especially in the North Lawndale community.

Who Attended?

Getting asked questions in the front included:

  • Senator Patricia Van Pelt
  • 9th District St.Rep Lakesia Collins
  • 7th District Congressman Danny K. Davis (U.S house of representatives)
  • 20th Ward. Alderwoman Jeanette Taylor
  • 22nd Ward. Contender Kristian Armendariz
  • 24th Ward. Contender Denita Robinson
  • 24th Ward. Contender Vetress Boyce
  • 24th Ward. Contender Drewone Goldsmith
  •  24th Ward Alderman Contender Luther Woodruff

Around 200 people came to this event. They came from all parts of Chicago including the neighborhoods of North Lawndale, Pilsen, Humboldt Park, and Clearing.

What Was Asked During the Forum?

Some questions asked by the Moderators Kenneth Mazerat and Devonte Matthews include:

What is your plan for economic development?

“Home Ownership. Access to equity… To have generational wealth…To make sure our kids have a future…” answered Denita Robinsons.

“Green Energy! An Increase in solar panels. Making cheap new homes available for the community. I want to make a pathway for young people, because they deserve to have things they, unfortunately, don’t have now…” said Lakesia Collins.

Courtesy of Adriana Castelan

“First this is bring young people into our space. Everybody in my office is younger than me! That’s intentional, because they are the future…” stated Jeanette Taylor.

How can we work together to bring more grocery stores into the community?

“I’m from Little Village, but I know that we need to help support small businesses to help them provide grocery stores for the Lawndale Community,” answered Kristian Armendariz.

“I am already working on it. North Lawndale is classified as a food desert. This community don’t have access to quality food, and this been going like this for years. We gave coupons to those who couldn’t afford good healthy foods. It will take time but, we are gonna make it work,” said Vetress Boyce.

“Working together. Everything that is going on will continue going on if we do not work together. From block clubs to churches to businesses…we have to have trust. we need people that are transparent. A forum like this one is a great step into bringing people together!” stated Drew Goldsmith.

What is your plan to fight Gentrification? 

“We have a housing crisis. people living in the streets. At bus stops… because we can’t afford to live where we do, we get pushed out. I’m all for development but I am not for displacement. We need community-based agreements (CBA)!” answered Lakesia Collins.

“The way we can prevent gentrification in Little Village is: as your alderman, I will deny any construction permit within my ward that I know is gonna go to a big developer company like target or a condominium space. Another thing I want to do is put a cap on property tax so that homeowners won’t be displaced…” stated Kristian Armendariz.

“Our people perish for lack of knowledge. until we again come together and share that information to everyone, gentrification is going to happen,” said Drew Goldsmith.

“It all starts with self. You cant get other people to do what you don’t do yourself,” answered Danny Davis.

What’s Next?

Voting to select Public officials as well as national government officials is on Tuesday, November 8th (also known as Election Day). Voting is important because every vote makes a difference. Every candidate is different and will want different things, forums like this one can help see their points of view.  This Forum along with others that have occurred is a great way to get to know who is running, and who people should vote for. Again, it’s key to remember that every vote counts. Remember to vote, encourage others to vote, and help other people vote.

Written by Adriana Castelan


Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Adriana Castelan

Inset Image Courtesy of Adriana Castelan

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