More than 30 progressive City Hall staffers have written a letter to Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson urging him to support a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.
The staffers invoked the 2024 Democratic Convention, which is planned for Chicago next year, saying a cease-fire is “directly tied to showing that our city is united in support of human rights,” according to their letter, which was obtained by POLITICO. “If we are planning to spend public dollars to support the convention, we cannot invest in programs that do not support calls for peace.”
The staffers did not sign their names but described themselves as “a diverse coalition of 30+ staffers across aldermanic offices and the Mayor’s Office.”
Their letter says a cease-fire is of “utmost urgency” as the death toll in Gaza has exceeded 12,000 “with the majority being children.”
Israel and Hamas have agreed to a temporary pause in fighting in exchange for the release of the Oct. 7 Israeli hostages captured by Hamas, but activists are calling for a permanent cease-fire.
Pro-Palestinian activists have been targeting who they see as their closest allies. Johnson himself is a former organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union, and was backed by the pro-Palestinian group Democratic Socialists of America during his 2023 race.
Progressive staffers are feeling emboldened after seeing initiatives to fund homeless prevention and increase minimum wage for tipped workers pass through the council. They are both efforts supported by the mayor.
On the issue of the Middle East, however, Johnson has walked a careful line by attending vigils for both Jewish and Palestinian communities.
Chicago staffers’ also want the mayor to support a resolution being carried by Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez that urges President Joe Biden to push for “a de-escalation” of military action in the region. The resolution was presented earlier this month but has been stuck in the Rules Committee.
The staffers have also started the Chicago Progressive Staffers (@312Staffers) handle on X, formerly known as Twitter.
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