On the morning of Saturday, August 18, more than 50 members of the Lift the Ban Coalition and the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM) coalition marched to State Senate President John Cullerton’s house in Ravenswood and camped out until afternoon. Cullerton has blocked legislation for statewide rent control and an elected school board for Chicago. The coalition’s demand that he move both bills forward and co-sponsor Lift the Ban’s statewide rent control bill. Chicago DSA endorsed the coalition and became a member last year. Below, you’ll find a transcription of CDSA member Robin Peterson’s speech:
I’m a leader with Chicago Democratic Socialists of America. (applause)
The landlords are raising our rents.
Wealthy investors and out of state developers are buying up our neighborhoods.
And it’s his job to make policies that will meet the needs of the people of Illinois.
He’s a very powerful man in the state senate. (for now) (laughter)
1/3rd of Illinois residents pay more than they can afford in rent.
That’s six and a half million people.
And Illinois is the only state that has been losing population for four years in a row.
Why do you think that’s happening?
We want statewide rent control, we want you to co-sponsor our bill,
SB3512, and move it into to a committee so it can be voted on .
And we know this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this request.
For the past 5 weeks hundreds of people have been calling your office, sending you postcards, asking you co-sponsor and move it to a committee.
Now President Cullerton you have a very nice house here (a mansion)
You got a really nice wall too.
But you know, some people don’t own their homes.
Some people don’t have a nice wall to keep out the riff raff.
Some people don’t own their homes, and some people don’t own anything.
But we believe that even if you don’t own a single thing, you still deserve to live.
The working class should have the finally say in over what our communities look like and who gets to live in them.
Not a few wealthy people who treat our communities like a commodity to speculate and gamble on.
So President Cullerton: We are a broad movement, and we come here to ask you today: are you on the side of the many, or the few?
So President Cullerton, are we you gonna let us live with you? Or are you going to co-sponsor our bill and move it to a committee. That is our question for you today. It’s up to you.
Join the campaign to bring rent control to Illinois! The Lift the Ban coalition is advocating for economic well-being and stability for Illinois’ families through repealing the Rent Control Preemption Act of 1997, and establishing rent control for Chicago residents. The Lift the Ban coalition is led by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Lugenia Burns Hope Center, Northside Action for Justice, and Pilsen Alliance. Current membership includes: Action Now Institute, American Indian Center, Autonomous Tenants Union, Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, Coalition for Equitable Community Development, The Community Law Project, Lawyers Committee for Better Housing, Metropolitan Tenants Organization, Northwest Side Housing Center, ONE Northside, People for Community Recovery, SEIU HCII, Somos Logan Square, 33rdWard IPO, 25th Ward IPO, United Working Families, and Westside Health Authority.