OP-ED: An Open Letter To Pritzker’s Pastors and Politicians By Ja’Mal Green

Ja’mal Green

“YOU’RE SAFEEE.” When did JB Pritzker become the umpire of Black leadership? As a person who speaks out against injustices, I felt like he was calling all independent thinking Black people “crass.”  My reputation, work, and eventually my freedom have come under attack because I dared to challenge a segregated and unjust system in Chicago. Holding politicians accountable upset the status quo that divides the North and South sides. The sadness I feel is for my own sons, as well as the sons and daughters of my community, who now see that they have to tap dance for opportunity in the current system.

As pastors and politicians you are trusted to act in the best interest of your people. When will you stop trading our lives for your few pieces of silver? I’m referring to the pastors who fail to recognize that the people they claim to represent don’t share the same kitchen table concerns as a person who has eaten with a billion dollar silver spoon his whole life. Pritzker makes his money the same way Trump does, from Wall Street, by exploiting workers, and cheating the tax system. Our people need you to fight for them.

To be a Black leader is an honor, it means you defied odds; you overcame. It is your job to break down the obstacles for our future generations. JB is the epitome of those obstacles.  When Trump degrades the character and communities of Black and Brown people, we call him out.  It should be no different when we hear a Democrat uttering such despicable things about us. We are Haiti. We are Africa. We are Latin America. We are the people who dared to rise, dared to speak out, and dared to dream.

JB Pritzker has been unmasked for who he really is and how he feels about the Black community in particular. If you walk around downtown or the Upper North side of Chicago, you find the Pritzker name displayed as prominently as the Trump name in NYC. The name Pritzker is branded like a proud tattoo throughout our city, chronicling his families various investments and sponsorships around our town, but as I walk through our communities of color, Pritzker and his name are noticeably void, highlighting his lack of consideration for our people, our neighborhoods, and OUR lives.

Pritzker has made his disdain for Black people who dare to challenge the status quo in Chicago clear. Daring to be unapologetically Black in HIS city is offensive. How can we have the audacity to identify with something void of the Pritzker white wash? Do we really need another rich man who has never worked the way we work or lived the way we live playing dress up as a politician? Remember Trump asked us what do we have to lose before he was elected; now we know. Can we afford to learn this lesson again?

Pastors have always played a critical role in guiding the Black community. Is money worth your integrity? If so, you are on notice from the next generation of leadership, this is your pink slip. I know that some of you have accepted the silver. I have proof that Pritzker has branded his family name across your backs in exchange for convincing Black people to turn the other cheek. Are these receipts worth your legacy?

Our community is filled with so much excellence, but constantly being expected to shine within the present barriers is unfair to future generations. The fact is we need a JB, a jailbreak from the chains that bind and define our actions, chains that create an environment where urban children go to school without learning, chains that bind working class people to multiple jobs trying to piece together a living wage, and chains that create ghost towns in urban communities and become marked by Black and Brown bodies falling due to senseless violence. How will JB break chains that his lifestyle enforces?

We have made mistakes in the past, constantly turning our cheek only to feel the sting of prejudice from yet another rich man with disdain for our people. We have to fix this by electing someone who can understand our obstacles. A new era is coming, will you rise for your people, or fall victim to the dollar?



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