Dear friends, neighbors, and siblings everywhere,
Today, our City Council came together to vote on a resolution in support of United Nations Resolution 377, known as “Uniting for Peace,” which calls for a negotiated ceasefire agreement, the release of all hostages, and immediate humanitarian aid for those who are suffering in Gaza.
As of today, over 26,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, in addition to the over 1,100 Israelis who were killed on and since October 7th. The vast majority of them were civilians, many of whom were children, and more are likely to die from the combined toll of starvation, untreated illness and injury, and continuing strikes. That is a cost that should be intolerable to all of us, no matter where we stand. As a co-sponsor of this bill, I believe, along with my fellow alders who voted in support, that a lasting ceasefire is crucial for preserving as many lives as possible, both Palestinian and Israeli.
I continue to mourn with the people of Israel for the lives that were lost in the initial heinous attacks by Hamas, as well as for the 130 people still held hostage. But devastation cannot be healed by causing even more devastation. In fact, continued violence would only incentivize further conflict and retaliation, rather than minimizing it.
As a City Council, it is not ordinarily our role to speak on international matters. But there comes a time when all of us––not only elected officials, but all Americans and all human beings––have the responsibility to speak up. This is especially true of us here in Chicago, as the city with the largest Palestinian population in the United States. This is a war that is being fought with U.S. resources, and so it is incumbent on all of us to join our voices to call for an end of violent solutions, and the pursuit of peaceful ones.
It is in the moments when we are in pain that it is the most important for us to look to our shared humanity to find a path forward. In the days to come, during a time when antisemitism, anti-Arab and anti-Islamic racism is on the rise, I hope that we can all strive to model the behavior we want to see in the world by choosing engagement over division. As I have been reminded over and over again during this process, hope is a radical act. And I believe that if we keep showing up for each other, our hope for lasting peace will ultimately not be in vain.
Yours in Service and Community,