The image of a bunch of oldsters staging a “die-in” in the lobby of the Chicago Housing Authority made my day. It accompanied an article written by Carlos Ballesteros in yesterday’s Chicago Sun-Times, the subtitle of which was “Seniors take over CHA lobby to protest faulty elevators, demand oversight.”
Here are the opening two paragraphs:
A vivacious* group of senior citizens occupied the Chicago Housing Authority’s downtown office lobby on Tuesday morning to protest what they say are dangerous living conditions at many of the agency’s senior homes across the city.
The action…comes two weeks after an investigation…revealed how the CHA failed to properly inspect and maintain hundreds of elevators at its public housing facilities since 2015.
In addition to the elevator problems, there was more:
The group also reiterated long-standing complaints about faulty heating and cooling systems in buildings operated by CHA and alleged retaliatory behavior against senior residents by building managers. Seniors also chastised the CHA for, as one resident put it, “putting the interests of wealthy and politically connected developers over the lives of elders.”
What resonates and rings true in that paragraph is the retaliatory behavior toward pesky residents who dare to both complain and chastise.
But, I mean, come on. You reach a certain age, guess what? You get to complain and chastise to your heart’s content. Why, in an given day, I chastise lots of people: drivers who try to run me over as I’m crossing the street; Starbucks customers who talk too damn loud on their smarty-pants phones; old men in bars who drop the “f” bomb repeatedly.
More article excerpts:
Three-dozen seniors and their allies entered the building shortly before 9:30 a.m. and plopped down on the floor, disregarding warnings from building security to leave the premises. At 9:37 a.m, the group proceeded to stage a two-minute “die-in,” followed by a rendition of the Freedom Song, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round.”
Ooohhh, how I wish I would’ve been there, especially to hear that lovely and spirited song from my youth. Instead, I’ll have to settle for these two great renditions on youtube:
I also wish I’d been there to meet a fellow septuagenarian, Eugene Nelson, and hear his response to what CHA chief executive Eugene Jones, Jr. had to say:
“I’m tired of all the bulljivin’, Mr. Jones,” said Eugene Nelson, a 70-year-old resident of Flannery Apartments on North Clybourn Avenue and Halsted Street. “I want to enjoy my youth — I want to be able to walk out of my building and know I’ll be all right.”
To read more of this inspiring article, click here:
*(NOTE: It will surprise no one to learn that I emailed Mr. Ballesteros, suggesting a better word than “vivacious” to described this concerned and committed group of CHA residents. He immediately responded, and gracefully.)