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500-car caravan demands right to recovery

By staff |
May 8, 2020
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Troi Valles.
Troi Valles. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Chicago, IL - 500 cars from around Chicago converged on the State of Illinois Building as Governor J.B. Pritzker held his daily COVID-19 press briefing May 7. The horns could be heard clearly from inside the building.

The Right to Recovery coalition was organized by United Working Families and includes 50 organizations such as the Chicago Teachers Union and Black Lives Matter-Chicago, as well as 13 elected officials.

The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) organized 20 cars to parade from the Pilsen Neighborhood, where they met up with the Jane Addams Senior Caucus (JASC). The Chicago Alliance and JASC contingent drove in front of Cook County Jail with signs taped to their cars.

Troi Valles of the Alliance read the following CAARPR statement written by Kobi Guillory to drivers gathered before the caravan:

“The people of Chicago have gotten next to none of what they need to recover from this pandemic while trillions of dollars are given to corporations. We are mobilizing to demand real recovery for the people!

“Real recovery means having the right to liberty. Prisons, jails, and detention centers are still holding thousands of people in a situation where they are completely unable to maintain social distance. Access to healthcare, cleaning supplies and PPE is either lacking or nonexistent in these places, which were notorious for inhumane healthcare and living conditions even before the COVID-19 crisis. People have been dying in these places for weeks and we still do not know how many are infected because Illinois has not done mass testing of incarcerated people.

“We demand bold action from the governor, the mayor and other public officials to release everyone who is in jail on a money bond. No one should be at risk of dying of COVID-19 because they can’t afford a cash payment. We demand the immediate release of all prisoners who are vulnerable to COVID-19. In particular we demand the release of Gerald Reed and all survivors of police torture because they should have all been free a very long time ago. Upon release, every prisoner must be given adequate housing, healthcare and provisions. Prisons, jails, and detention centers need to test everyone inside and provide adequate healthcare to those who test positive.

“No one deserves to die in a cage. The governor and other elected officials are not doing enough for the thousands of people who are at risk of meeting that fate, which is why we are taking this action to demand the right to recovery for incarcerated people and their communities.

“We also fully support the demands of other organizations in the coalition. The people of Chicago, regardless of employment or immigration status, need resources and assistance to recover from this pandemic. We need rent cancellation. We need free testing and treatment. We need to be protected from evictions and utility shutoffs. Essential workers need PPE, hazard pay and paid days off. Immigrants need to be protected from ICE check ins and detention centers must be closed. Families need income to support themselves.

“These needs and other demands of the coalition are far more important than the right-wing desire to open up the government so corporations can make money while workers keep dying. We demand that JB Pritzker, Lori Lightfoot, and other elected officials put people over profit and take action to ensure that communities can survive and recover from this pandemic.”

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