- Father Pfleger backs new candidate for 17th ward race
- Seeks “new norm, greater vision”
[By Chinta Strausberg] At a press conference held at the Chicago Park District Ogden Park Field house 6500 South Racine, Father Michael L. Pfleger Monday announced his support for 50-year-old Glenda Franklin who is a member of his church and a candidate he says will bring a “new norm” into the 17th Ward.
Flanked by dozens of older and younger supporters, Glenda Franklin, 50, director for the musical grants for the Saint Sabina Employment Resource Center and former seven-year staff assistant and scheduler for Ald. Latasha Thomas (17th), announced her candidacy for 17th Ward alderman professing to bring change and a “new norm” to the Auburn Gresham community.
“I just think we are in critical times in the city and around the country. I look at the unemployment, education. I think Glenda has the background, the passion and a plan. I am supporting her. She’s a member of my church and a person I Have great confidence and respect for. She is the Joshua generation. I think she can take us to the next level we need to go to make the 17th Ward once again the jewel that it has always called to be,” said Pfleger.
“What critical times need is a courageous leader…a leader who has the necessary ingredients of a rooted faith, a passionate commitment, a determined tenacity, a big vision and a big plan of action,” Pfleger said and one that includes solutions. “The 17th Ward is full of potential that can help make those solutions come about.
“We need a person who sees the potential and possibility for the ward…and a willingness to give her all to accomplish it. Glenda Franklin, I believe, is such a person. She has the background, the training and the confidence to bring that solution to the 17th Ward,” Pfleger said. “I believe Glenda is the person who can bring us to the next level and realize the hope and dreams of residents of the 17th Ward. That is why I am supporting her, andI hope that everybody here in the 17th Ward will support her.”
“There is tremendous potential out there, and we’ve got to pick a leader who can help develop, organize and fight for that potential to be realized, and I think Glenda is the one to do it. I think she is the one who can take us to the next level we need to go it,” Pfleger told this reporter.
When asked what are the problems in the 17th Ward, Franklin, the ninth often children, a mother of three sons who was raised by a single mother in Englewood, said, “We have grown to see the violence crime, education and the economic development as the norm and it bothers me. I want the businesses to be included, at the table so we can know the policies and processes so we can have the goals so our businesses can grow…..
“We are working on all three and I believe we can turnaround all three of the seproblems,” Franklin said. Saying it is a privilege to have been raised in this community as a child, Franklin said, “now to have the opportunity to work and effect change in the same community” would be an honor. “This community has along history of independence, socially conscious, politically active individuals….”
During the press conference, Franklin vowed to “reclaim” the 17th Ward. “We are ready for a transformation. We are tired of settling for less and we no longer want to be normal. Why is it normal for our neighborhoods to be unsafe?Why is it normal for our education system not to be equal to our neighbors on the north side”?
Franklins aid the community is void of economic opportunities. “This is the normal we have all grown accustom to…. Today we take a stance, and we’re here to usher ina new era…’The New Normal.’ We will no longer tolerate crime in our community.We will make the best efforts to provide young people with opportunities and resources for improving their personal growth. We will no longer tolerate the failing state of our education system. We will demand the resources be put back into our schools…equal education and preparing them for college.
“We would no longer look at ourselves of victims of a blighted neighborhood,” said Franklin. “If we are to embrace this new normal, then transforming the 17th Ward community, we all will be proud of it is just around the corner.” Franklin said it will all of them working together to achieve these goals. “Not only am I qualified but public service is my pedigree.”
In endorsing Franklin, Michelle Redd, owner of the Building Blocks Learning Academy,said, “We are launching our support as business owners, as peace stakeholders in this community because of the example of work she had provided with youth,the community development through her watch program and the rich legacy she has in this community. It is awesome.
“Her vision is an awesome one to continue economic development, to continue to build a life long contributors as it relates to the youth. It is with undiluted pleasure that we accept the invitation to support and walk this journey with Franklin.”
When asked what were the problems in the 17th Ward, Redd said, “There is a disconnect at times between the residents, the business owners” with the alderman. “As a business owner and being in child care, education is my platform. For us in this ward to have 32 schools in Englewood with 29 on academic probation, that is very sad. “We need a commitment to the residents and business owners” to improve these conditions.
Referring to Ald. Thomas and the number of schools on academic watch, Redd said, “You are talking about our leaders of tomorrow and for her to be the chairman of the Education Committee for the City of Chicago and we see nothing as it relates to workmanship in that vein. It alarms me. It saddens me. As a business owner, I need to be able to cast my lot where I can see some turnaround….
“Englewood used to be a very unique part of the city,” Redd said. “It was the only part of the city that has six different aldermen. My challenge as a business owner isif they would just stop branding and get behind one cause and purpose Englewood can be where it was years ago. At one time Englewood was the number one hub for economic development in the city of Chicago and now we’re number one for crime and that is sad.”
Brittney Trice, 20, a youth leader who attends Olive/Harvey College majoring in speech pathology, said Franklin “supports the youth and she helps builds the community as a whole. She is a magnificent woman….”
William Torch, a senior, said he’s known Franklin’s family for more than 40-years. “She is a fireball like her mother. I’m sorry that she’s gone, but she’s still here through her daughter.”
Franklin received her Bachelors degree in administration from the University of Phoenix and will be finishing her masters in public administration at the Roosevel University in December. For 15-years, she has worked with the CHA and the City Council. Franklin said she has always attempted to maintain a community-based focus on any activity she was involved in. “I have lived my life based on the scripture which says, “For unto whosoever much is given, much is required….”
With his supporters chanting, “17th Ward, a new norm,” Pfleger concluded the press conference saying, “Our job now is to get out all over the 17th Ward and let everybody know that there is a new normal on the way and that name is Glenda Franklin.”
Ald. Thomas did not return calls or fax a statement prior to deadline, and efforts to reach Terry Peterson the former alderman of that ward were unsuccessful.