Apri 16, 2021
Dear Chicago Commons Community,
Yet again, we find ourselves grieving lives taken unlawfully. The deaths of Adam Toledo, Anthony Alvarez, and Daunte Wright, among many others yet again highlight the structural racism and the lack of empathy, compassion, and humanity towards communities of color that persist in this country.
Last summer, during the height of a global pandemic, thousands of people took to the streets to seek justice for the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. They demanded changes to the institutions that have prescribed the deaths of people of color as inevitabilities. Sadly, these losses have been an accepted course of action that provides no recourse, no respite, and no closure for the communities affected.
So many people risked their lives to shine a light on law enforcement abuses, judicial system failures, and complicity in a system that routinely sacrifices people of color only to find ourselves at this same moment one year later.
It is unacceptable.
With the release of the body cam footage featuring the death of Adam Toledo, this one hits particularly close in our hometown Chicago. Media narratives will go where they will to excuse away the death of a 13-year-old child. They will say that he was a gang member, that he had a negligent mother, that he possessed a gun.
Adam Toledo was a child. A child who was gunned down by a Chicago police officer. It doesn’t matter who he associated with, where his parents were, or if he was armed. He was someone’s child.
He was a child with dreams and aspirations and potential. Potential that was brutally extinguished. He was also the victim of the unwillingness of our society world to offer children of color the hope and opportunity to realize their dreams in safety. He was the victim of a country in need of radical change.
We recognize that change does not happen overnight. We know that the arc of the moral universe is long, but inevitably bends towards justice. We also know that the kind of radical change we need to see sooner rather than later only comes when we work to demonstrate the changes we wish to see.
As the work continues to prevent the next name from being added to the tally of grave markers for people of color, let us express ourselves in a way that does not put the communities we wish to empower at risk.
We envision a future where all communities have equitable opportunities for success, generation after generation. That begins with our neighborhoods having access to justice and lives fully realized without fear.
Over the coming days, I ask that all of you, do what you can to promote peace and safety in your communities. Should you choose to express your First Amendment rights to promote racial justice and equity, please do so in a way that keeps you and your communities safe from harm. We implore our public officials to do what is right and what we elected them to do — change the world for the better and make the hard choices to fix our broken systems.
Chicago Commons has been working overtime to keep our families safe during this pandemic and we will continue to dig deeper to check in on our employees and families to support them in whatever ways they need.
Stay safe. Stay well. Stay alive.
President and Chief Executive Officer