On Fourth of July Weekend this year Rahm Ehmanuel announced that he would be allocating funding to build a police academy in Garfield Park. Since then, the #nocopacademy movement has been in full force working to push the funding to where it’s needed locally.
“Every year, the city of Chicago spends $1.5 billion on police—that’s $4 million dollars per day. We need to fund communities, not police,” Monica Trinidad of the People’s Response Team said in a statementemailed to Chicagoist. “Rahm closed 50 public schools and half of the city’s public mental health clinics because he said the city couldn’t afford them. It’s a slap in the face to our impacted communities to see Rahm turn up another $95 million for the city’s most violent institution.”
The movement has gained traction through grassroots organizing, mostly through public demonstrations on public transit. It also got the attention of Chicago local and performing artist Chance the Rapper.
The goals of the movement are very clear and well organized.
“We demand a redirecting of this $95 million into Chicago’s most marginalized communities instead,” the campaign statement on the #nocopacademy site reads. “Real community safety comes from fully-funded schools and mental health centers, robust after-school and job- training programs, and social and economic justice. We want investment in our communities, not expanded resources for police.”
This responds well to a trend in the handling of low-income, marginalized communities in the urban areas of the United States. An article in The Intercept recently highlights the issue as well, pointing out that a lot of the systems in place are underpinned by federal efforts to militarize police forces as thoroughly as possible.
You can learn more about the movement on their site here: https://nocopacademy.wordpress.com/
Daniel Johanson (he/him) is a journalist and digital media specialist living in Chicago, Illinois. He serves as Editor-in-Chief at Scapi and in that capacity manages all things content, including writing and editing articles and producing digital content. His most recent work includes the docuseries Heart of a Nation: Tracking Socialism in the Midwest and co-hosting the podcast Scapi Radio. He spends his free time with cats.