Whitney Young girls deserve recognition, apology, from Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Whitney Young girls deserve recognition, apology, from Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Chicago's Whitney Young High School captured, UConn-like, the boys and girls' state basketball crowns this year. Only one was honored

Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been my U.S. Congressman (5th Congressional District), and now, as a Chicago resident, he’s my mayor. And up until now, I thought of him as one who shared my views of equality in this world.

After all, his dogged pursuit of legalizing gay marriage in Illinois resulted in this Tweet:

I applaud today’s decision that all Chicagoans have the right to marry. Love does not discriminate, and neither should the law.

and this one:

Rahm Emanuel ‏@RahmEmanuel  Feb 21

I look forward to the day where every American enjoys the same freedom to marry, and when our country can provide equal rights to everyone.

But Mayor…how can you hope for equal rights for everyone if you don’t practice them yourself?

Let me explain:

This year, Whitney Young’s boys and girls basketball teams pulled off the equivalent of UConn’s double-edged 2014 NCAA basketball titles this year by winning the Class 3A State Championships. Their chess team also snared a state championship in 2014.


And if you haven’t heard the story of what happened, Ben Joravsky, a reporter from Chicago’s alternative newspaper, The Reader, tells it best:

Mayor Emanuel brought Whitney Young’s boys basketball team to City Hall to take a bow in front of the aldermen and receive a resolution honoring their “star-studded team” for winning the state championship.

Whitney Young’s chess team was also recognized. And yes, it’s got a lot of boys. Hey, I dated a chess player in high school, who also was a wrestler. Brains and brawn. I liked the combination. But I digress.

Let’s let NBC5Chicago.com continue:

The boys-only tribute rattled the Lady Dolphins, sending “a message that boys’ sports are more important than girls’ sports,” said their coach, Corry Irvin, to the Reader. “Girls should be honored in the same manner as boys—they’re certainly working just as hard.”

I couldn’t agree more with Coach Irvin. This was their third championship since 2008. Had they ever been honored by the Mayor? Doesn’t sound like it.

As the Reader points out, knowledge of sports is not Mayor Emanuel’s long suit. He is the one who famously (and erroneously) declared Bobby Hull dead.

In his own high school days, Rahm was a ballet dancer. Here’s proof:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was a ballet dancer in high school

Mayor Rahm Emanuel in his ballet dancing days. He turned down a scholarship from the Joffrey Ballet

But, as the article points out, he’s been seen at Morgan Park, Whitney Young, and Simeon, where, on the campaign trail in 2011, embraced Simeon star and two-time Mr. Basketball Jabari Parker. And the sports world has apparently embraced him. He’s  declared sports tickets as one of his gifts (above $500) on his taxes this year, as required of mayors nationwide.

So the Mayor isn’t stupid. He knows that sports are good talking points in this town, and therefore, a good way to connect with voters. And that many important deals are made at Wrigley Field, US Cellular Field, Soldier Field, and the United Center.

I say shame on the Mayor for not including the girls. He’s on damage control now after his day with Whitney Young High School.

Mayors lead a city. They lead all the people. Mayor Emanuel knows all this, and screwed up his own mission. Lead by example, Mr. Mayor. Others will follow, I assure you.

All will be forgiven with me if he does the following:

A few years ago, I challenged my Token Female readers to attend one women’s sporting event per year.  I am issuing the same challenge to the Chicago Mayor’s Office, via Facebook:

  • Join I pledge to attend one women’s sporting event this year
  • Apologize Yes, you issued a late invitation to honor them separately. All well and good. But you refused to issue a mea culpa.  Apologize to the young women you ignored.
  • Pledge Make the pledge to these WNBA-worthy young women that they can count on seeing you at their games from now on.

Any other suggestions, friends?


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