Leaders wear black for #MeToo at first Chicago Council meeting of 2018

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Many Chicago alderman and city leaders wore black Wednesday for the first city council meeting of 2018.

Many Chicago aldermen and city leaders wore black Wednesday for the first city council meeting of 2018 in a sign of unity with the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.

City Clerk Anna Valencia and Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx stood with members of the city council's Women's Caucus to show their support.

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th Ward) said the problem of sexual harassment remains pervasive in many sectors of society.

Foxx said the country is at an historic moment as victims of sexual harassment in Hollywood, state houses and courthouses are coming forward.

"We have to make sure we stand against it," Foxx said.

"I want to be caught up in the moment," said Ald. Michelle Harris, to help those women who don't have a voice, the janitors, secretaries and others.

"We love and respect our male colleagues," said Alderman Michele Smith (8th Ward), but she said with only 13 of Chicago's 50 alderman being women, it's not enough to make changes.

Also in the council Chambers wearing black was Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th Ward), who was not at the news conference. Her husband, state Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, has been accused of sexual harassment by a victim's right's activist. He has denied the allegations.

State Rep. David McSweeney has introduced legislation to ban the use of state funds to pay for sexual harassment settlements involving state legislators.



The council will tackle the issue of granting tax increment financing (TIF) money to a health provider Presence Health, which has an anti-abortion policy.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised $5.5 million in TIF funds to Presence a few years ago.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, Illinois' largest Catholic health system accepted the money in exchange for bringing its headquarters to the Loop and it agreed to open four community care centers in underserved Chicago neighborhoods.

Some aldermen are pushing back because Presence does not perform elective abortions.

Emanuel's office says the city can't afford to take an all-or-nothing approach at the risk of losing health care for Chicagoans who need it the most.


City council will also vote on a proposed $9.3 million court settlement for James Kluppelberg, who spent 24 years in prison for a fatal fire he says he never set.

Kuppelberg's sentence was vacated when modern technology backed up his claim.

When he was first charged in 1988, disgraced police Cmdr. Jon Burge announced that Kuppelberg had confessed to the crime.
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politicswomenchicago city councilrahm emanueltaxesabortionsettlementchicago police departmentChicagoLoop
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