Chicago mayor defends council member who appeared at a pro-Palestinian rally where an American flag was burned


Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said Thursday it would be "morally reprehensible and irresponsible" to repudiate a city councilman for speaking at a rally that featured a burning American flag.

Last week, Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez appeared at a protest outside City Hall against U. S. support of Israel and in favor of canceling the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on Aug. 19. As he spoke, veteran Zachary Kim burned a flag in front of the alderman.

Sigcho-Lopez serves as the chair of the City Council Housing Committee, a position given to him by Johnson. At least 15 aldermen have called for a special meeting on Monday to vote on whether to remove him as chair.

Sigcho-Lopez’s colleagues have called on the mayor to reprimand him for speaking at the protest, but Johnson refused to condemn the alderman.

"I can be offended by someone's presentation, and also recognize that they have a fundamental right to express that. I don't even know why this is being debated, quite frankly. It's actually quite disturbing that, as a city, we're having a conversation about protected speech in America," Johnson said at a news conference.

He also said, "Do we really want to have a society where someone's comments or someone else's comments that happened to be in the presence of someone else, that that becomes a repudiation of that particular person? I would find that to be morally reprehensible and irresponsible."

The aldermen who spoke out against Sirgio-Lopez said that city officials need to hold a higher standard.

"Byron has the right to be inflammatory, but he has a bigger responsibility as a committee chair and member of the mayor's leadership team," 34th Ward Alderman Bill Conway said. "This job isn't about elevating people who want to burn everything down. It's about bringing people together to build communities up."... (Read more)

Submitted 21 days ago

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