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Alderperson pushes for task force after CBS 2 Investigation exposing Black women bear burden of crime



CHICAGO (CBS) – “Shock. Sadness. Unbelievable. That this is not garnering more attention.” Those words from Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th), after watching the CBS News Chicago’s Investigating Injustice series of reports.

CBS 2 analyzed decades of police crime data connected to every crime victim in the city. The findings revealed that one in three victims is a Black woman. That’s 33% of all crime victims. For certain crimes like assault, battery, rape, and human trafficking, Black women make up between 35% and 52% of victims.

For context, Black women make up 16% of the city’s population. Those disproportionate numbers are reflected in the 2022 data – but the trend was consistent going back 20 years.

“I had a brief conversation with some members of the [City Council] Black Caucus around this issue, and some of them were shocked as well,” Villegas said.

CBS 2 also highlighted the emotional and physical toll crime takes on Black women as they go about living their lives.

Several women shared their experiences encountering crime in Chicago. A mother and daughter were attacked by robbers while taking the train; another woman shot in the face grabbing a late-night bite to eat.

But that report highlighted one woman, Sierra Jamison, who so bravely told her story of fighting off a would-be carjacker at a gas station in 2022, only to then be murdered in her own garage in September 2023. 

Villegas said Jamison’s story especially touched him. 

“We’ve got to do a better job as a society to make sure that every resident of the city is safe, especially when it’s overwhelmingly impacting one segment of our community,” he said.

In August 2023, Sierra Jamison, 29, discusses surviving attempted carjacking at south side gas station Tamott Wolverton/CBS News Chicago

Now, he said he is exploring a task force to study the impact of crime on Black women in Chicago.

“What I want to do is get folks together from the Department of Family [& Support] Services, Chicago Park District, Chicago Police Department, and the Mayor’s Office,” he said.

Villegas said he would like to open task force discussions to the public as well. 

“We’re gonna bring a lot of attention to this because we’ve got to bring solutions,” he said.

36th Ward Alder Gilbert Villegas pushes for task force to look at Black women impacted disproportionately by crime in Chicago Brad Johnson/CBS News Chicago

Once members of the task force are gathered, Ald. Villegas said the real work can begin based on the CBS News Chicago data discoveries. 

“We’re going to try to discuss and put forward an action plan based on the feedback from all the departments that we think are going to be needed to be part of the discussion,” he said.

Villegas recalled the time his single mother was attacked near the lakefront. 

“She was mugged and almost taken advantage of,” he said.

He said the Investigating Injustice reports brought up that painful childhood memory. 

“When you talk about this important issue of Black women being disproportionately impacted by violent crimes, I thought about that,” VIllegas said.

And he said that’s why he’s promising to make meaningful change. 

“If it happened to my mom, it’s happening to other people’s moms, other people’s aunts, grandmothers, sisters. We’ve got to really deal with this,” he said.

Villegas has reached out and received support from Black Caucus Chair Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16th). He hopes to introduce a resolution calling for the task force soon.

–Contributor: Elliott Ramos

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