Rep. Ford asks “What are the people in Austin to do?”

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AustinTalks received the following letter from state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford in response to the recent closing of Austin’s YMCA. Ford has in the past proposed many ideas to improve conditions on the West Side, including calling in the National Guard, and has held several town halls to deal with issues such as firearms and unemployment.


Ford asks, “What are we to do?” What do readers think is the answer?


Dear Editor,

What are we to do?

Here we go again – another major loss for the hard-working, hope-filled tax-payers and children in Austin. First, it was Austin High School  – now it’s the Austin Y, leaving yet another void in one of the city’s largest communities.

Unemployment, under-performing schools, high drop-out rates, poor health indicators, foreclosures and more boarded up houses, homelessness, youth violence and shootings – all at alarming rates. What are the people in Austin to do?

As a member of the Illinois General Assembly, I call on the Illinois Executive Office to make Austin a priority.  I call on that office to work with community leaders, elected officials, ministers and all stake-holders in Austin.  Austin must have equal opportunities to build the character needed to exercise personal responsibility.  No YMCA!  No traditional high school!  Only to name two challenges for Austin.


La Shawn K. Ford

State Representative



One thought on “Rep. Ford asks “What are the people in Austin to do?”

  1. Point of correction, the Austin K-8 schools over the past three years posted the largest gains in ISAT testing of any neighborhood in Chicago.

    Our neighborhood schools such as Emmet are outperforming Plato, Catalyst, and KIPP charter schools.

    Leland posted a whopping 95% meet/exceed composite on the 2012 ISAT.

    The Austin Community Action Council is working with CPS to phase an existing school into an IB magnet school so that Austin families will have a quality option like families in Lincoln Park, South Loop, and University Village.

    While our high schools have challenges, those challenges are the result of socio-economic factors outside of the classroom. No hard working teacher is actively teaching our children to “drop-out.”

    However, I agree that institutions like the YMCA are needed to bring services to families in need.

    The Austin Community Action Council meets every second Tuesday, 5:30 pm at Spencer Technology Academy, 214 N. Lavergne.

    By the way, Douglas High School is the neighborhood high school.

    The Austin Campus through an open community chose to be a campus of choice so that students could choose to attend. There is a written policy that guarantees a seat for any student residing in Austin.

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