Press "Enter" to skip to content

Chicago residents react to city’s ceasefire resolution for Gaza

Chicago’s Jan. 24 resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza was voted 23-23 on the resolution, with Mayor Brandon Johnson casting the tie-breaking vote. This made Chicago the largest city in the country to call for an end to the violence taking place in Gaza. 

Johnson’s tie-breaking vote for a ceasefire evoked strong feelings among Chicago residents. 

Muhammad Sankari, a leader of the Chicago chapter of the U.S Palestinian Community Network, regards the resolution as a hard-fought victory. “We knew [the vote] was going to be tight from the work we were doing,” he said. “We’re deeply appreciative of Mayor Johnson for standing on the right side of history.” 

Sankari expected the mayor would come through with a vote to call for a ceasefire. “I won’t say that I’m surprised he stood with us. I think we’re very thankful that he took a very principled stance and showed his principled politics and his progressive politics,” he said. 

Aliejha Cullick, 19, of Chicago, voted for Johnson in the first election he participated in as an 18-year-old. After Johnson broke the tie with his vote calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, Cullick knew he had made the right decision. “I was very awestruck to see that a tie can be broken and boundaries can be moved. Even seas could be swayed by the power of one man,” Cullick said. 

Aliejha Cullick,19, of Chicago. | Photo by Aliejha Cullick.

Cullick found Johnson’s vote inspirational. “To see him choose something beneficial not only for our country and not only for Gaza, but for his moral grounding as well, it just makes sense to me, and it speaks to me and I’m very inspired by it. I just love the decision and it feels like we’re making true progress with this movement,” he said.

The ceasefire resonated among people who live in other Chicago-area cities, too. Sarah Nguyen, 21, of Aurora, was relieved by the city council’s resolution. “I have seen a lot of divided opinions on this situation when, to me, it is clear that a mass of innocent lives are being lost,” she said. 

Nguyen believes that creating more supportive groups and giving resources to those in need is a way to show that the Palestinian community has the city’s support. However, she is worried about tensions between those who support Palestine and those who support Israel. “I worry that having the resolution may create more volatile energy,” she said. 

Sankari credits community activists who stood with the USPCN to back the ceasefire vote. “We worked alongside the Black and Brown Coalition for Palestine, which was grass roots Black and Latinx organization alongside Palestinians ourselves,” he said. The resolution also received strong support from other organizations, including Jewish Voice for Peace, which staged numerous demonstrations in the Loop.

In terms of what Chicagoans can do since the resolution has passed, Sankari said, “As a private individual and as a private citizen, I would say that we should absolutely politically support [a ceasefire] with our votes, with our work and door knocking and helping all of those who stood with us.” 

Nguyen hopes other cities will follow Chicago’s lead. “I am unsure of how much this will influence the federal government and the United Nations,” Nguyen said. “But I hope to see more major cities follow suit and stand for what is right.”

Additional reporting by Izzy Smith and Mya DeJesus.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *