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Visions of Chicago

Chicagoans celebrated our nation’s birthday with hearts filled with pride and patriotism this past weekend. They cherished this anniversary of our founding fathers’ Declaration of Independence. The birthday of a nation, unique among the nations of the world, causes us to reflect on the founding of Chicago.

Touring Chicago
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

For hundreds of years, the land Chicago occupies was a wasteland of swamps, mud flats and dangerous wild animals. Native Americans owned the land but avoided it and chose to live in the Calumet River Basin. Other Americans had a vision of Chicago no one else at the time possessed. Acting on this vision, they built Fort Dearborn and the city. They learned to navigate and improved the waterways. They rebuilt the city, and each generation upgraded it.

Today’s Chicagoans also have a vision of how they want their city to be. Great questions about freedom and the law challenge this generation. These questions require thoughtful answers, and everyone needs to respond and get involved in finding solutions to our relationships with each other, our traditions, our rights and our laws.

Chicagoans need to examine these questions. Does the law seek to harm us, or does it protect us from harm? Do we want justice to be blind or do we want it to serve criminals? Is it okay for criminals to do anything they want, to anyone they want, any time they want? Do we want residents of Chicago’s communities to be used for target practice by criminals? Do we want Chicagoans to flee the city because of crime or live in the city because it’s a safe place?

Chicago remains in the state of becoming―becoming stronger, becoming freer, becoming better. Becoming means that hope for change and growth abound. For Chicagoans, the work goes on and on and on.

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