The Brighton Park protest is a demonstration by some residents of the Brighton Park neighborhood in Chicago who oppose the city’s plan to build a tent camp for migrants on a vacant lot near 38th Street and California Avenue. The protest started on Thursday, October 19, 2023, and continued on Friday, October 20, 2023. The protesters claim that they were not properly informed or consulted about the plan and have concerns about their safety and property values. They also say that the city should focus more on the needs of the existing residents.
On Thursday, the protest turned aggressive when Ald. Julia Ramirez (12th), whose ward includes the site, arrived at the scene. Police officers had to escort her and drive away. Mayor Brandon Johnson condemned the attack and said that the city is working to address the migrant crisis in a humane and compassionate way.
On Friday, the protest leader Jacquelyn Zuniga said that she did not condone the violence and wanted a peaceful dialogue with the city officials. She said that someone had agitated the crowd and that she was not able to calm them down due to a language barrier. She also said that she respects the rights of the migrants but that the city should find a better solution than a tent camp.
The tent camp plan is part of Mayor Johnson’s efforts to deal with the influx of thousands of South American asylum-seekers in Chicago. The city is considering building a winterized tent camp at the site, but it has not finalized it yet due to land issues and environmental remediation. The camp would provide shelter, food, medical care, and legal services to the migrants.
Most of the migrants came to Chicago from Texas. Currently, most migrants are staying in temporary shelters operated by the city. The remaining are living at police stations and waiting for shelters. Migrants are not equipped to handle the upcoming winter. The city plans to build a military-grade tent camp for migrants and asylum-seekers.
Protesters planned to take the city to court if not consider their demands.