OPC

Construction of the Obama Presidential Center is well under way, with the skeleton of its main tower now visible above the fence that encloses its 19 acre campus in Jackson Park.

Construction was halted at the Obama Presidential Center site in Jackson Park Thursday morning, after crews found a noose someone had planted at the location. 

"We have zero tolerance for any form of bias or hate on our worksite," a spokesperson from the Lakeside Alliance consortium of construction companies said in a statement. "Lakeside Alliance remains committed to providing a work environment where everyone can feel safe, be their best self, and be treated with dignity and respect."

Work on the center will remain halted until the Lakeside Alliance completes a series of anti-bias trainings for all staff and workers. The Lakeside Alliance is also offering a $100,000 reward for information about the culprit.

The Lakeside Alliance spokesperson said the police have been notified about the "act of hate" and that they "will provide any assistance required to identify those responsible.”

Said an Obama Foundation spokesperson, “This shameless act of cowardice and hate is designed to get attention and divide us. Our priority is protecting the health and safety of our workforce. We have notified authorities who are investigating the incident.”

A Chicago Police Department spokesperson confirmed that the department is aware of the incident and investigating.

Former President Barack Obama and his family have received a number of death threats against them, many by white supremacists, since he declared his candidacy for the White House in 2007. Nationally, nooses have increasingly been used as an expression of racism and as a threat of violence against Black people amid a broader spike in hate crimes.

In a note published Friday, foundation Chief Engagement Officer Michael Strautmanis said the "shameless act of cowardice and hate" saddened and disturbed him as a "Chicagoan, South Side native and a Black man."

"Our priority with building the Obama Presidential Center has always been, and will always be, each and every one of you," he wrote. "We are so proud of the diversity of our workforce, our fellow South and West Siders, and condemn this act of racism that took place in our neighborhood. We will never tolerate any act of hate or intimidation."

(3) comments

kateth53

Same thought occurred to me that occurred to JayeRyanEast HP. Could this be a hoax? Of course, it could be real, and if that's the case, it is horrifying. But I couldn't help but notice that the event occurred the day after 82% of voters in Hyde Park, Woodlawn and South Shore approved a referendum calling for a halt to the cutting of trees in Jackson Park for the OPC.. That resounding repudiation of the destruction of our park should have been newsworthy, but it warranted mention only in the Herald and WTTW website. News of the noose eclipsed news of the referendum on other media outlets, while at the same time falsely suggesting that opposition to the OPC has a racist component. Could that have been the intent of the noose hanger? The timing seems suspiciously coincidental.

JayeRyanEastHP

Agreed and well said. I've sadly noticed that the theft and clear cutting of trees in our Jackson Park by the OPC has gone pretty much not covered by the mainstream Chicago and national media. I thank local protect our parks activists and the Hyde park Herald for covering the legitimate protests against this gross abuse of the Daniel Burnham plan to keep our parks free and open .... Forever.

It does seem the "Plant the Noose, shout RACISM" appears to be a standard publicity stunt of certain political actors.

There was another open PR campaign in Hyde Park and other places this week showing a Noose and accusing White racist hatred by an A American artist named:

Hyero

https://blockclubchicago.org/2022/11/03/flyers-with-a-noose-that-say-white-only-alarmed-chicagoans-on-social-media-the-black-artist-behind-them-said-she-has-no-regrets/

At least she was open in claiming she did it for publicity and advertising:

"HYDE PARK — A Black artist posted flyers that said “white only” and depicted a noose, saying they were part of a political act and marketing campaign for her new exhibition.

JayeRyanEastHP

Uhhhhhhm. Is there some small chance that this is a Jussie Smollet, type hoax?

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