FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNITED WORKING FAMILIES STATEMENT:
Van Dyke verdict is just the tip of the iceberg
CHICAGO- Following is the statement of Emma Tai, Executive Director of United Working Families (UWF), on today’s conviction of Jason Van Dyke for the second degree murder and aggravated battery of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald:
“Today’s verdict is just the tip of the iceberg. From the day he was born to the night he was killed, Laquan McDonald was set up for tragedy by the architects of Chicago’s rigged and racist economy.
“Laquan grew up in a Chicago neighborhood where nearly half of all young black men are out of school and out of work. Without sufficient funding for counselors and special education aides, the public education system resorted to suspensions and expulsions that pushed him out of school and onto the streets.
“These conditions are not inevitable. They are the result of conscious decisions by the political ruling class to systematically starve Black people of the public services and infrastructure we all need to live safe and healthy lives.
“Jason Van Dyke murdered Laquan McDonald, and the jury was right to convict him of murder and aggravated battery today. But only wholesale political change--including voting out the City Council members who colluded with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to cover up the shooting--will change the tragic conditions that resulted in his death."
United Working Families is an independent political organization by and for the 99%. UWF affiliate members include: Action Now, Chicago Teachers Union, Cook County College Teachers Union, Grassroots Illinois Action, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, Warehouse Workers Organizing Committee, United Electrical Workers Western Region, Illinois Nurses Association, People United for Action, Workers United CMRJB, 22nd Ward IPO, 25th Ward IPO, and 33rd Ward Working Families.