Winter 2020

March 2020

  • As of March 13, 2020 LVEJO Offices are closed but reachable online or by phone! Take a look at the resource guide our staff has created to help Little Village residents regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus). HERE
  • A partir del 13 de marzo de 2020, las oficinas de LVEJO están cerradas, pero se puede comunicar con nosotros por el internet o por teléfono. Eche un vistazo a la guía de recursos que nuestro personal ha creado para ayudar a los residentes de La Villita con respecto a COVID-19 (Coronavirus). AQUÍ

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On March 5, 2020, LVEJO reached out to various allies across the city to sign-on to a response letter to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency of Planning (CMAP)’s Request for Proposal (RFP) NO. 213, “CMAP Freight Studies: Chicago Southwest Communities Truck Abatement Study.”

This study comes as a result of the successful organizing and advocacy of the Little Village community, LVEJO and allies through the Little Village Industrial Corridor Modernization Process. The LVICM process highlighted that there had not been a traffic/truck study on the southwest side in over 25 years, yet massive warehouses and transportation, logistics and delivery (TDL)’s are being proposed and approved all over the southwest side. We are calling for this proposal to put public health and community welfare first.  We are demanding that whoever conducts the Southwest Communities Truck Abatement Study should be required to meet with LVEJO and the community before they begin, in order to best understand the current environmental issues, and the existing “hotspots” of congestion. Considering LVEJO has data that the DPD, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), as well as CMAP do not have, LVEJO and the community should be considered as much of an expert as any city agency, business/industry representative, consulting firms, and advocacy organizations not based in the Little Village community or the broader Southwest Side.

Additionally, the People for Community Recovery (PCR), Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF), Blacks in Green (BIG), Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke (SSCBP), the fellow members of the Chicago Environmental Justice Network (CEJN) alongside LVEJO, should be considered as experts on this issue, as well. The CEJN includes members from the Southwest and Southeast sides of the city, the two areas of the city most impacted by Trucking, Distribution, and Logistics (TDL). It is our communities, and our partners that are the most impacted by truck impacts in the city. We are intimately familiar with truck impacts in their many forms, and are part of national networks of similar community advocates and their supporters working on diesel transportation issues. At minimum, if CMAP is to continue forward with this RFP as generally framed, it is critical that the community advocates who have been at the forefront of gauging and raising awareness about truck and distribution system impacts be in the lead in assessing hot spots and developing solutions. We are concerned that the current RFP does not include such a lead role for communities, nor does it include substantive public participation in the study design, metrics, or implementation.  We strongly encourage CMAP to revise the RFP consistent with these concerns, and we are available to discuss how CMAP can move forward in a way that prioritizes communities at the earliest opportunity.  View HERE!

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Upcoming community meetings | Proximás juntas comunitarias

  • Opportunities for community residents and allies to support Little Village’s right to breathe clean air! // ¡Oportunidades para que residentes y aliados de la comunidad apoyen el derecho de La Villita a respirar aire limpio!
    • Community meetings regarding Hilco’s new tenant: Target Warehouse
      • Wednesday, March 18 2020 starting 6pm at Piotrowski Park Field House – 4247 W. 31st Street.
      • Did you miss the March 4, 2020 meeting? No worries, we have the PowerPoint Presentation HERE.
    • Reunión comunitarias sobre el nuevo inquilino de Hilco: Target Warehouse
      • Miércoles 18 de Marzo de 2020 a partir de las 6pm en la Casa de Campo de Piotrowski Park – 4247 W. 31st Street.
      • ¿Se perdieron la junta el 4 de Marzo de 2020? No se preocupen, nuestro equipo esta trabajando para traducir la presentación.
    • UPDATE: Chicago’s Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety will be hearing on the importance to limit the weight of Heavy Diesel Trucks on S. Kostner Ave between 26th – 31st Street.
      • Thursday, March 12, 2020 starting at 2pm at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St, room 201A.
    • ACTUALIZACIÓN: El Comité de Seguridad de Peatones y Tráfico de Chicago escuchará sobre la importancia de limitar el peso de los Camiones Pesados ​​de Diesel en S. Kostner Ave entre las calles 26 a 31. 
      • Jueves 12 de Marzo de 2020 comenzando a las 2pm en la municipalidad, 121 N. LaSalle St, cuarto 201A.

Feb. 20 – 26, 2020

Press Release

More industry in Little Village and No Plan in Sight

CHICAGO, IL Wednesday, February 26, 2020 – We are at the one year mark of the release of the Little Village Industrial Corridor Modernization Plan (LVICMP), which was produced by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD). The LVICMP was the result of a 9-month process, during which LVEJO advocated for a significant increase in environmental health protections for the community, as well as much stricter regulations and enforcement on current industries in the area. However, the DPD released a plan that prioritized infrastructure for transportation (Trucking, Distribution, Logistics), and that did not prioritize the environmental health of the neighborhood. 

After many organizations and community members submitted public comments regarding their displeasure with the plan, the process was halted. We’re at the one year anniversary of the halting of this process, and we still do not have clarity from the DPD on whether or not the process will continue. Meanwhile, new industrial developments continue to be approved in the neighborhood with minimal regulations. Little Village already has the 2nd worst air quality in the state, and is in desperate need of a modernization plan that effectively regulates industry, and prioritizes the environmental health of the community.  The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) have told Little Village residents to close their windows and shut their doors, a ridiculous response, the fact is that CDPH is not given sufficient budget to operate, but other large scale developments like Lincoln Yards and Exchange 55 are giving taxpayers money and handout in hopes of bringing opportunities to the City of Chicago.

We demand:

    • Commitment from the Mayor’s Office and DPD to restart the Little Village Industrial Corridor Modernization Process. Our city needs to make sure current industries in our neighborhood are brought to standards and move towards a just transition.
    • The City needs to install permanent air monitors in the cumulative burden of environmental exposures neighborhoods. Residents have the right to learn about the air quality around them;
    • The Chicago Department of Public Health needs to increase research efforts to monitor the environmental health of its communities. Their lack of air pollution enforcement is due to insufficient data and inadequate protocols for how to prioritize the highest-risk facilities for inspection. 
    • Cook County Assessor’s Office needs to rescind the $19.7 Million dollar tax break Hilco received back in Jan. of 2019. No more corporate handout to polluters! 
    • Commitment from Chicago’s Department of Transportation to conduct  comprehensive traffic studies every 5 years. Since the creation of Chicago’s Industrial Corridor, 25 years ago, the Little Village community continues to be burdened by the exponential growth of heavy, dirty, diesel truck traffic. Before approving industrial projects in our neighborhood we need to understand if we even have the infrastructure in place for additional traffic volume. 

Chicago communities have been under siege when it comes to having a voice in the planning of our city and use of city resources. The city’s planning for resilience to climate change is not only in the planning and protection of our lakefront trails, but also in our industrial corridors. The city has housed industries for over a century with minimal inspections and hardly any citations. Residents across our city have been outspoken about the amount of pollution that is being emitted and some of the actions have been to relocate industries from the north side to the southwest / southeast sides. The health impacts of poor air quality are burdensome to individuals, families, and healthcare systems. Our neighborhoods are ready to transition to renewable energy where we want equitable development and eager to participate. Chicago communities are ready for a just transition away from all fossil fuels that prioritizes environmental justice, public health, community self-determination, high quality jobs and ownership opportunities for local residents.

Jan. 31, 2020

  • We sincerely thank everyone that attended the vigil yesterday evening. It was an honor to share space for Sr. Grimaldo’s family, friends, and community. We will continue to uplift his memory and to hold spaces for healing and fellowship. Thank you so much again and be blessed. Link to Block Club Chicago article here: http://bit.ly/2vRLRi7 
  • Agradecemos sinceramente a todos los que asistieron a la vigilia ayer por la noche. Fue un honor compartir espacio para la familia, los amigos y la comunidad del Sr. Grimaldo. Continuaremos elevando su memoria y manteniendo espacios para la curación y el compañerismo. ¡Muchas gracias de nuevo!

Jan. 24, 2020

Community_Vigil_1:30:2020

  • Save the date: Thursday, January 30, 2020 at 6pm, 3333 S. Pulaski Rd, in front of the Crawford coal plant. We encourage folks to bring candles and flowers. For those driving, please park between 31st and 33rd S. Pulaski and carefully walk to the location of the vigil.Thank you to residents and allies that attended last week’s meeting (http://bit.ly/2sQmLyP) regarding the accident at the former Crawford Coal Plant. We had elected and appointed officials provide their support, in letter format (view here) in expediting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) report. During this meeting we also invited Little Village residents, demolition and remediation workers, and allies to attend community vigil honoring Mr. Grimaldo’s memory next week.To our surprise, the very same day we hosted our community meeting (1/16/2020), we were informed that Hilco Redevelopment Partners (HRP) were given the “OK” (http://bit.ly/2RKQ4LF) to continue the demolition and remediation processes WITHOUT informing workers or residents of their updated emergency protocol.We urge our officials to support our demands that HILCO host a meeting to inform and to hear concerns from community residents in regards to how this demolition could potentially impact their safety and health. Updating their “community engagement” page (http://bit.ly/30GonaY) on their website SHOULD NOT be considered a form of community outreach.
    ————————————————–Guarde la fecha: jueves 30 de enero de 2020 a las 6pm, 3333 S. Pulaski Rd, frente a la planta de carbón de Crawford. Si es posible, les pedimos que traigan velas y flores. Para aquellos que conducen, estacionarse entre la 31 y 33 de S. Pulaski y camine cuidadosamente hacia la ubicación de la vigilia.

    Gracias a residentes y aliados que asistieron a la junta de la semana pasada (http://bit.ly/36rnIeZ) sobre el accidente en la antigua Planta de Carbón de Crawford. En la junta asistieron representantes elegidxs y nombradxs que brindaron su apoyo para acelerar el informe de la Administración de Seguridad y Salud Ocupacional (OSHA). Durante esta reunión también invitamos a residentes de La Villita, trabajadxres de demolición y remediación, y aliados a asistir a la vigilia (http://bit.ly/3aw5JqK) comunitaria en honor a la memoria del Sr. Grimaldo la próxima semana.

    Para nuestra sorpresa, el mismo día en que organizamos nuestra junta comunitaria (16/01/2020), se nos informó que Hilco Redevelopment Partners recibió el “OK” para continuar el proceso de demolición y remediación SIN informar a los trabajadores o residentes de su nuevo protocolo de emergencia.

    Le urgimos a Hilco organizar una junta para informar y escuchar las preocupaciones de residentes de la comunidad con respecto a cómo está demolición podría afectar su seguridad y salud. Actualizar su página de “participación comunitaria” en su sitio web NO DEBE considerarse como una forma de divulgación comunitaria. Tambien la pagina de web en español no está actualizada y tiene poca información (http://bit.ly/30PJMOQ) para residentes que solamente son monolingüe en español.

 

 

Jan. 9 2020

It is with a heavy heart that the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization expresses our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Mr. Reynaldo “Rey” Grimaldo. Mr. Grimaldo’s untimely passing on the morning of December 30, 2019 at the former Crawford Coal Plant, leaves our organization and community with the grim reality of how dangerous this demolition and remediation process really is. We are shaken to our core that this occurred and are looking at Hilco Redevelopment Partners (HRP) for answers. 

 

Although Ald. Rodriguez (22nd Ward) has ordered HRP to stop all demolition pending investigations by regulators, we are echoing a call to Hilco Redevelopment Partners, Mayor Lightfoot and City of Chicago, Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Cook County Board of Commissioners, State Representatives, and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to hold a community meeting and report urgent information to the community about what happened to Mr. Grimaldo, the best practices workers and residents can take to best protect themselves, and the follow-up actions taken by Hilco Redevelopment Partners to ensure their workers, contractors, subcontractors, and community residents are safe.

Since the demolition and remediation process began, we have received numerous calls from current and previous workers on-site during the demolition expressing their safety concerns. In various correspondence with CDPH and the IEPA (visit Summer 2019 and Fall 2019 to view) we raise these concerns to these authorities. Hilco has yet to respond or update the community in any aspect. 

LVEJO will be hosting a community meeting on January 16, 2020 at Piotrowski Park Field House, 4247 W 31st, Chicago IL, 6pm to 7:15pm. We have invited the City of Chicago, City of Chicago Department of Public Health, Alderman Rodriguez, and Hilco to update the community as to the status of the site and respond to demands for safety and accountability.

La Organización de Justicia Ambiental de La Villita expresa nuestras más sinceras condolencias a la familia, amigos y colegas del Sr. Reynaldo “Rey” Grimaldo. El fallecimiento prematuro del Sr. Grimaldo en la mañana del 30 de diciembre del 2019 en la antigua Planta de Carbón de Crawford, deja a nuestra organización y comunidad con la triste realidad de lo peligroso que es realmente este proceso de demolición y remediación. Estamos profundamente conmovidos de lo ocurrido y estamos buscando respuestas de los propietarios Hilco Redevelopment Partners (HRP).

Aunque el Concejal Rodríguez ordenó a HRP que detuviera todas las demoliciones en espera de investigaciones por parte de los reguladores, estamos haciendo una llamada a Hilco Redevelopment Partners, Alcaldesa Lightfoot y la ciudad de Chicago, el Departamento de Salud Pública de Chicago (CDPH), la Administración de Seguridad y Salud Ocupacional (OSHA), La Junta de Comisionados del Condado de Cook, los Representantes del Estado y la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de Illinois (IEPA) para una reunión comunitaria. Necesitan provenir  información urgente a la comunidad sobre lo que le sucedió al Sr. Grimaldo, provenir las mejores prácticas que los trabajadores y los residentes pueden tomar para protegerse mejor. Necesitamos saber cuáles serán las acciones de seguimiento tomadas por Hilco Redevelopment Partners para garantizar que sus trabajadores, contratistas, subcontratistas y residentes de la comunidad estén protegidos.

Desde que comenzó el proceso de demolición y remediación, hemos recibido numerosas llamadas de trabajadores actuales y anteriores en el sitio durante la demolición expresando sus preocupaciones de seguridad. En varias correspondencia con CDPH y el IEPA (visite LaVillitaRespira.com para ver), expresamos estas inquietudes a estas autoridades. Hilco aún tiene que responder o actualizar la comunidad en cualquier aspecto.

LVEJO organizará una reunión comunitaria el Jueves 16 de enero de 2020 en la casa de campo del parque Piotrowski, 4247 W 31st, Chicago IL de 6pm a 7:15pm. Invitamos a la Ciudad de Chicago, al Departamento de Salud Pública de la Ciudad de Chicago, al Concejal Rodríguez y a Hilco a informar a la comunidad sobre el estado del sitio y responder a las demandas de seguridad y responsabilidad.

Jan. 6 2020

We’re back from winter break!

Dec. 16, 2019

  • We received a second letter from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). Click on the link above to view letter. In addition:
    • We invite community and allies to visit our change.org petition HERE to share with their networks and push to create urgency to this matter!
  • Recibimos una segunda carta del Departamento de Salud Pública de Chicago (CDPH). Haga clic en el enlace de arriba para ver la carta. Adicionalmente
    • ¡Invitamos a la comunidad y a los aliados a visitar nuestra petición en change.org AQUÍ para compartir con sus redes y presionar para crear urgencia en este asunto!
  • LVEJO provided comments on the draft ‘Master Planned Development’ guidelines initiated by the Chair of the Chicago Plan Commission, Dr. Teresa Córdova, and prepared and released by the City of Chicago Department of Planning (DPD) on October 17th, 2019. LVEJO appreciates the opportunity to review the DPD’s Planned Development (PD) process, and has several recommendations on how the DPD’s process to approve or reject developments can be improved. To read more, click HERE

  • LVEJO proporcionó comentarios sobre el ‘Desarrollo Planificado Maestro’ iniciado por la Presidenta de la Comisión del Plan de Chicago, Dra. Teresa Córdova, y preparado y publicado por el Departamento de Planificación de la Ciudad de Chicago (DPD) el 17 de octubre de 2019. LVEJO agradece La oportunidad de revisar el proceso de Desarrollo Planificado (PD) del DPD, y tiene varias recomendaciones sobre cómo se puede mejorar el proceso del DPD para aprobar o rechazar desarrollos.