The son of late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who is running for governor of Illinois as a Democrat, has accused Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel of leading a “strategic gentrification plan” designed to force blacks out of the city.
During a Wednesday news conference addressing gun violence, Chris Kennedy, nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy, said that the Emanuel administration’s disinvestment in certain communities is causing blacks and other minorities to leave the city, resulting in Chicago becoming more gentrified, smaller and whiter, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“I believe that black people are being pushed out of Chicago intentionally by a strategy that involves disinvestment in communities being implemented by the city administration, and I believe Rahm Emanuel is the head of the city administration and therefore needs to be held responsible for those outcomes,” said Kennedy, who is challenging Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker in the March 20 Democratic primary for governor.
“This is involuntary. That we’re cutting off funding for schools, cutting off funding for police, allowing people to be forced to live in food deserts, closing hospitals, closing access to mental health facilities. What choice do people have but to move, to leave?” Kennedy asked.
“And I think that’s part of a strategic gentrification plan being implemented by the city of Chicago to push people of color out of the city,” he said. “The city is becoming smaller, and as it becomes smaller, it’s become whiter.”
Emanuel’s office responded by comparing Kennedy’s rhetoric to two Republicans who are unpopular in Chicago — President Donald Trump and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who Kennedy is seeking to replace.
“It’s sad to see Chris Kennedy joining President Trump and Gov. Rauner in using cynical, politically motivated attacks about Chicago’s communities for his own personal gain,” Emanuel spokesman Matt McGrath said in a statement. “His divisive comments today are a direct assault on one of this city’s greatest strengths — our diversity.”