Feb 7, 2024 - Politics

Rev. Michael Pfleger joins calls to cancel the DNC in Chicago

Photo of a man talking into a microphone at a press conference

Rev. Michael Pfleger speaks at a press conference before his peace walk in Auburn Gresham on June 25, 2021. Photo: Vashon Jordan Jr/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Rev. Michael Pfleger wants Chicago to back out of hosting the Democratic National Convention unless the city gets more federal funding to combat homelessness.

Why it matters: The St. Sabina pastor and activist is the second high-profile leader in recent weeks to suggest Chicago should pass on its DNC obligations if more federal resources aren't provided to address the city's housing crisis.

Driving the news: Pfleger plans to bring these demands to the doors of the Union League Club next week, when DNC 2024 Host Committee leader Christy George will be speaking.

What they're saying: "We have billions of dollars for Ukraine and Israel but we don't have billions of dollars … to house Americans who are homeless here, as well as those coming from other countries seeking asylum," Pfleger told WGN recently.

  • State Rep. Kam Buckner laid out a similar argument in a recent Tribune op-ed, in which he also suggested unifying missions to house migrants and homeless citizens.

Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th), who chairs the City Council's immigration committee, tells Axios that Buckner "raises a good point, given the fact that we know there's going to be more buses being sent here because of [the DNC]."

  • "I don't know [if we could really cancel], but we could impress upon the federal government and the Democratic Party that we need more support here, which we haven't been receiving."

The other side: "These are two separate dynamics," Mayor Brandon Johnson told Axios during a recent press conference. "Whether you have the DNC coming to your city or not, you have just as much of a right to the federal funds."

  • "We can hold the DNC in the city of Chicago, and we can push Congress to do its part. … I'm going to compartmentalize both of those things."
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