While Latino aldermen are calling for more Latino wards, residents of one of Chicago largest Latino communities have a more particular concern – they want a single alderman.
Back of the Yards is now divided into pieces included in five wards, and the Committee for a Unified Back of the Yards says that has complicated communications and hindered progress for the community.
The group will hold a press conference Saturday morning (November 12, 10 a.m.) at 45th and Paulina, in the heart of the community – a corner where the boundaries of three wards intersect.
The neighborhood is seeing increased community improvement efforts – Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council  recently launched  a new Great Neighborhoods  community planning initiative with LISC Chicago –but lack of a single alderman makes it hard to address questions like the recent closing of the Back of the Yards branch library at 47th and Damen, said Cindy Agustin of CUBY.
“It’s been closed since September,” she said. “The sign on the door says it’s closed due to flooding,” but it’s been difficult to get any attention to the problem.
The branch library serves students in five elementary schools, Agustin said.
While a survey by Latinos Organized for Justice and the Illinois Hunger Coalition recently found that over half of Back of the Yards families report they “sometimes, rarely, or never” have enough money to feed their families, the state recently closed a human services office  that offered food assistance and other help.
Mayor Emanuel’s proposed budget would also close Back of the Yards’ mental health clinic.
Groups participating Saturday include BYNC, The Resurrection Project, United Southwest Chamber of Commerce, U.N.I.O.N. Impact Center, and several parishes and schools.