IOC Reacts To Chicago 2016 Protest Groups’ Concerns

Following a meeting with protest groups last week while surveying Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the Chicago Defender reports that members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are concerned about possible displacement should Chicago be the 2016 host city.

Willie J.R. Fleming, co-organizer for the protest group No Games Chicago said, “we met for 15 minutes with the IOC and told them about the number of projects here that ran past deadline and its budget. Look at the redevelopment of public housing by the CHA and Millennium Park. No Games is not anti-Olympic, but we are for accountability”.

IOC member Gilbert Felli said following the meeting with No Games Chicago and Housing Bronzeville, another community organization, that it is concerned about displacement. It now plans to wait and see how Chicago 2016 will address displacement concerns.

Felli said, “this organization (No Games Chicago) is very concerned about displacement from the Olympics which is always a concern with residents. It’s always difficult to build housing for the Olympics and not displace anyone, and they (Chicago 2016) need to address this issue”.

Meanwhile Felli reportedly said the proposed Olympic Village site is beautiful and that the IOC’s overall consensus was that the community supports the Games.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said residents should not worry about any displacement. He said, “there will be no displacement. We will not displace one person”.

Lori Healey, president of Chicago 2016, said the city chose the Michael Reese Hospital campus for the Olympic Village to avoid displacements. She said, “that’s why we selected the Michael Reese site for the Olympic Village because it is an isolated location”.

However Fleming said, “that sounds good on paper, but in reality we know that the Olympic Village will increase property values and force African-American renters out of Bronzeville”.

The Chicago Defender reports other community groups also believe that there is more to the city hosting the Games than what meets the eye.