Over the 4th of July weekend, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to build a multi-million dollar police and fire training academy in a predominantly Black community on Chicago’s west side. The construction alone will cost $95 million, in a neighborhood he closed 6 schools in. This is just the latest version of ongoing divestment from communities of color alongside massive resourcing of policing.

The Mayor thinks he can get away with this. He’s attempted to move each phase of this under the public’s radar, and pass it discreetly through the 2018 City budget while no one is watching. We plan to fight back together to stop this compound. We demand schools for kids, not cops.

Chicago already spends $1.5 billion on police every year—that’s $4 million every single day. We spend 300% on the CPD as a city more than we do on the Departments of Public Health, family and support services, transportation, and planning and development (which handles affordable housing). This plan is being praised as a development opportunity to help local residents around the proposed site, but when Rahm closed 50 schools in 2013, six were in this neighborhood. The message is clear: Rahm supports schools and resources for cops, not for Black and Brown kids.

We demand a redirecting of this $95 million into Chicago’s most marginalized communities instead. Real community safety comes from fully-funded schools and mental health centers, robust after-school and job- training programs, and social and economic justice. We want investment in our communities, not expanded resources for police.

Rahm has sought to portray himself as the resistance to Trump, but is pursuing policies that will compound the president’s multi-pronged attack on our communities. And while the City wants to push the idea of joint training for police and fire, we know that more collaboration at the level of training will lead to increased militarization of emergency response across the board.

The problem of police violence in Chicago has been documented for years by Black organizers and exposed by the scathing 2016 Department of Justice report.  This training center would escalate the practices and policies that cause Black and Brown communities to be targeted, harassed, criminalized, tazed, stopped, frisked, and incarcerated. Rather than committing to meaningful community control of the police, this attempted facelift aims to quell dissent and will only expand CPD’s capacity for violence.

We refuse any expansion of policing in Chicago, and demand accountability for decades of violence. We will fight for funding for our communities, and support each other in building genuine community safety in the face of escalating attacks.

We stand in solidarity with the following organizations:

Assata’s Daughters
People’s Response Team
For The People Artists Collective
American Friends Service Committee- Chicago
Arab American Action Network
A Long Walk Home
Axis Lab
Black Lives Matter Chicago
Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100) Chicago Chapter
Black & Pink Chicago
Brighton Park Neighborhood Council
BTGNC Collective
Chicago ACT Collective
Chicago Community Bond Fund
Chicago Dyke March Collective
Chicago League of Abolitionist Whites (CLAW)
Chicago Religious Leadership Network
Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls and Young Women
Chicago Torture Justice Memorials
Chicago Votes
Gay Liberation Network
Grassroots Collaborative
Health & Medicine Policy Research Group
Jewish Voice for Peace Chicago
Illinois Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA – IL)
Kuumba Lynx
Latino Union
Lifted Voices
Love and Protect
National Lawyers Guild of Chicago
Organized Communities Against Deportations
Project Fierce
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Chicago
Tzedek Chicago
War Resisters League
Women’s All Point Bulletin
Workers Center for Racial Justice

For more information, please visit visit bit.ly/SchoolsForKidsNotCops.