For immediate release
June 28, 2016
Contact: Noah Carson-Nelson
At Rainbow PUSH Conference, UNITE HERE Local 1 Urges Chicago: Rename McCormick Square
Citing Robert McCormick’s persistent xenophobia, the hospitality workers union calls on the MPEA to reconsider the title “McCormick Square” for Chicago’s Newest Neighborhood
CHICAGO– This morning, at the Annual International Convention of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, UNITE HERE Local 1 President Karen Kent urged Chicago to reconsider naming the city’s newest neighborhood after Robert R. McCormick. Local 1 represents more than 800 people who work at locations in the neighborhood recently dubbed “McCormick Square” by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA).
Kent stated that “as a Chicagoan, I will be damned in hell if I allow any neighborhood in Chicago where our union members work to be named, in 2016, after Trump’s forefather – Robert McCormick.” Kent’s speech can be read in its entirety here.
In April of this year, Lori Healy, CEO of the MPEA, announced the creation of the “McCormick Square” neighborhood around McCormick Place Convention Center. The neighborhood runs from the Green Line east to Lake Michigan, and from 21st Street south to the Stevenson.
Robert McCormick was head of the Chicago Tribune for much of the first half of the 20th century, as well as an advocate for a Chicago convention center. While McCormick was editor-in-chief, Tribune editorials included such statements as “Mexican immigration is bound in time to lower the American standard of living.”
Kent explained that the union is “not proposing that we change the name of our convention center or this hotel” but that “shamefully, today’s convention center authority wants to repeat the mistake it made in 1960.”
“It’s disrespectful that Chicago would name a whole neighborhood after a man that said such hateful things about people of color,” said Barb Maggos, a bartender at Savor at McCormick Place. “We welcome people from all over the world to Chicago— what are visitors from China or Mexico going to think if our city honors a racist in 2016? The MPEA should rename this new neighborhood.”
Learn more about the campaign to rename McCormick Square at www.nomoremccormick.org.
UNITE HERE Local 1 represents over 15,000 hospitality and food service workers in the City of Chicago and surrounding area.