Issues

Member of Kennedy Family, Candidate for Illinois Governor: Emanuel Has ‘Gentrification Plan’ to Force Black People Out of Chicago

Chris Kennedy / Twitter

A Kennedy running for the Democratic ticket in the Illinois governor's race has accused Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D.) of leading a "strategic gentrification plan" to force black people out of the city.

Chris Kennedy, the son of late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, said during a news conference in Chicago that minorities are being given no other choice but to move out of the city because of a greater plan to make it "richer and whiter," the Washington Times reported.

"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," Kennedy said.

Kennedy is challenging Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker in the March 20 Democratic primary.

The governor hopeful said funding for schools and police are being cut off, and hospitals and mental health facilities are closing so people have no other choice but to leave the third-largest city in the United States.

"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," Kennedy said. "The city is becoming smaller, and as it becomes smaller, it becomes whiter."

Kennedy shared a report of his remarks from the Chicago Tribune on Twitter, commenting that there is a "relentless attack" on people of color in Chicago and that he will fight to restore "opportunity for all."

The mayor’s office responded by comparing Kennedy’s rhetoric to the way President Donald Trump speaks.

"It’s sad to see Chris Kennedy joining President Trump and Gov. Rauner is using cynical, politically motivated attack about Chicago’s communities for his own personal gain," spokesman Matt McGrath said in a statement.

The Tribune reported there has been a decline in black residence since 2000. In 2010, the year before Emanuel was elected, black citizens made up 33.2 percent of the population, but that percentage decreased to 29.3 percent last year.