• Erin Hegarty
    NOV 22, 2023

    City staffers pen letter urging Mayor Brandon Johnson, alderpeople to call for ceasefire


    A group of aldermanic and mayoral staffers sent a letter to Mayor Brandon Johnson and members of the City Council Tuesday urging them to support a call for a ceasefire in the Middle East.

    While the letter was sent by at least 35 staffers Tuesday, by Wednesday morning 54 staffers from aldermanic offices, the mayor's office and other city departments had signed the letter, according to an email from the group.

    City staffers sent their letter to Johnson following separate letters from Congressional staffers and staffers to President Joe Biden also calling for a ceasefire. None of the city staffers publicly signed their names to the letter.  

    In addition to calling for a ceasefire, city staffers in their letter urge for “de-escalation of the current conflict by securing the immediate release of the Israeli hostages and arbitrarily detained Palestinians; the restoration of water, fuel, electricity and other basic services; and the passage of adequate humanitarian aid to Gaza.”  

    Staffers write in their letter that the situation is urgent, citing the death toll in Gaza surpassing 12,000 people with most being children. The letter writers also use the city’s plans to host the Democratic National Convention in August as a call to act quickly.  

    “We see the need for our elected leaders to call for a ceasefire as directly tied to showing that our city is united in support of human rights,” staffers wrote in the letter. “If we are planning to spend public dollars to support the convention, we cannot invest in programs that do not support calls for peace.”  

    The staffers wrote that they are proud to serve in their roles with the city. “However, we cannot be proud to be silent at a time when silence is complicity in atrocity,” they wrote. “From your constituents we have heard the outcry against injustice and we have heard the demand for ceasefire as a necessary precursor for peace. We hope you will hear it too.”  

    A spokesperson for Johnson did not respond to a request for comment.  

    The letters asks alderpeople to sign on as co-sponsors to a resolution (R2023-0005730) introduced earlier this month by Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33) urging Biden to “call for and facilitate peace in Middle East and provide for increased humanitarian assistance.”  

    The proposed resolution uses the “whereas” section to detail that “all human life is precious, and the targeting of civilians, no matter their faith or ethnicity, is a violation of international humanitarian law and...violence is never the answer, and the United States government holds immense diplomatic power to reduce the ongoing violence and save Israeli and Palestinian lives.”  

    The resolution currently has about 16 sponsors, Rodriguez-Sanchez told The Daily Line on Tuesday.  

    Rodriguez-Sanchez's resolution was banished to the City Council Committee on Committees and Rules, temporarily delaying discussion and a vote on the issue. Rodriguez-Sanchez had proposed her resolution be referred to the Committee on Health and Human Relations, which she chairs.  

    In addition to urging alderpeople to co-sponsor the resolution, city staffers in their letter ask alderpeople to sign on to a letter Rodriguez-Sanchez sent to Ald. Michelle Harris (8), who chairs the rules committees, asking her to call the resolution in committee so it could be assigned to the health and human relations committee.   

    The next meeting of the rules committee has not yet been scheduled, according to the city clerk’s website.  

    “We implore our city leaders to call for President Biden and the DNC to demand an immediate ceasefire. The people of Chicago are on the right side of history in disavowing the United States’ complicity in Palestinian genocide and we hope our Mayor, our Council Members, our bosses and their coworkers can find time to hear them too and support the call for a ceasefire.

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