Chicago’s 17th Ward includes some of the city’s most depressed neighborhoods, so the economy is among residents central concerns.
“Thirty-five percent of the community is unemployed,” said the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor at St. Sabina Church in the 17th Ward. “The country’s economy is a rising tide … but our community has no boat and is dog-paddling.”
Pfleger, 61, said the ward’s top issues are unemployment, education and crime.
But economic issues top the list.
More than six out of 10 residents of the ward don’t have bank accounts, said Ernie Sanders of the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation. Basic financial education is one of the things residents need, he said.
St. Sabina is hosting voter registration and honoring Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday. Voter registration begins after the 11:15 a.m. services.
“I encourage everyone to vote; there is no excuse not to,” Pfleger, said. “If you do not vote, you’re disqualified from being a part of the game. I will scream and shout up until Feb. 22.”
Members of other religious faiths, such as Christian Baptist David Thompson, also will rock the vote. Thompson, a truck driver, said voting is a privilege. “Blacks long ago couldn’t vote,” he said.
“I always vote,” said Levi De Maija, who has served as a precinct captain throughout Ald. Latasha Thomas’ tenure as alderman.