It was announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel a couple of weeks ago that Stony Island Avenue would be changed to Bishop Arthur Brazier Avenue. The Avenue would be from 56th Street to 103rd Street. Protest has occurred. None of which has to do with Bishop Brazier himself. I wrote a blog, September 14, supporting the idea and championed the cause. I received numerous calls and my blog became a part of the public discussion.
There were objections to the street naming. Some thought not Stony Island but rather 63rd Street should bear Brazier’s name. Some of the reasons included, the church was not located on Stony Island to he did not live on Stony Island and Stony Island was too much of a landmark south side street for the name change honor. My answer was he did not have to live on Stony Island or have the church on Stony, but that the major street was appropriate.
Maggie Daley did not live or work in Millennium Park where $50 million construction is underway for a park of flowers and trees. Stony Island is appropriate for Brazier as Millennium Park is appropriate for Maggie Daley. New ideas have come forth for a city monument to bear Brazier’s name, to include I57 Highway, 63rd Street, Midway Plaza, Dorchester and even Cottage Grove. Another primary objection of the street naming has come from the business community. Many of the small business people suggest that it would cost $3,000 to $5,000 to change corporate stationary, web sites, business cards, public addresses and the like. The business people claim this is too expensive at this time and an unnecessary expense.
Four alderman, have taken it upon themselves to fight the Mayor in the street renaming. They do not object to the Brazier name, but are in opposition of the process and procedure. They protest the Mayor’s arrogance. The Mayor did not consult with them, and Stony runs through their wards. Brazier is not deserving of the smallness of the politic. He was larger and he fought the politic be it small or large. That’s why the street should be named after him. He fought for the community of Woodlawn, be it the gang or the university. He was a community organizer in the truest sense. He was a beloved member of the south side community, often called on for representation and insight by political, religious and corporate leaders.
There has been a ground swell for the street renaming to include ministers, civic leaders, educators, community people and others that he inspired and touched with his life. Rev. Jackson last Saturday at the PUSH meeting asked ministers to join him at City Hall on Wednesday for the Transportation Committee Meeting. The meeting has been cancelled and is soon to be rescheduled.
Some at City Hall, said they had not seen the positive support for the renaming. They heard only the negative remarks. On Sunday the City Hall web site was shut down from the overwhelming positive support after Dr. Byron Brazier announced to the church that they needed to weigh in. And the aldermen emails were overwhelming received to the point of the emails system becoming disconnected.
On Wednesday, October 9, the Transportation Committee was to hold a hearing regarding the street naming. It has been cancelled and is to be rescheduled.
Chicago politics is always interesting, never dull and boring.