Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Elections 2023: Sam Schoenburg discusses hopes for police council role
by Matt Simonette
2023-02-27

This article shared 2473 times since Mon Feb 27, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28.

Attorney and activist Sam Schoenburg, who is gay, is among the Chicagoans who are running for positions on the city's newly-created police district councils. The three-member councils (there will be 22 total) are intended as a bridge between community members with representatives from CPD.

Schoenburg is running on a panel with two other candidates, Maurilio Garcia and Jenny Schaffer, to represent residents of the Town Hall 19th Police District. Windy City Times caught up with Schoenburg to see about his motivations for running and his thoughts about the new council. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Windy City Times: What compelled you to run for this new office?

Sam Schoenburg: I grew up in Springfield and got involved in politics and advocacy pretty early on—my dad was a political reporter for the State Journal-Register. So I was always learning about [politics], and getting exposed to legislators and governors.

When I was a senior in high school, Barack Obama, then a U.S. senator, launched his campaign for president. I volunteered that day in February 2007, and spent much of the two years after I graduated from high school working on the campaign, including in Iowa for the caucuses. I went to college at Yale, and worked on the primary there. I took time off from college for a semester to be a full-time organizer for the 2008 general election, so that was just a deeply formative experience for me, and it was deeply inspiring to see people come together for a cause like that.

I graduated from college and continued organizing for a few years with various non-profits. At one, I worked on reducing the influence of corporate money in politics, and at the other, I worked on getting people signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act through the first season of open-enrollment.

Then I went to law school at NYU. I started in August of 2014, the same month that Michael Brown was killed by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri. … There were these nation-wide calls to reform policing and what criminal justice looks like in this country. I spent a lot of time in law school working on those issues.

I had one particular professor who founded a policing project at NYU Law, whose big insight that I really connected with was that policing is one of the least democratic institutions that we have in most cities. There is very little public input on what [policing] looks like on the front-end. Things go wrong, and we then try to figure out what to do after things go wrong.

I moved to Chicago in 2018 and found a community of people who had been working to change that after the unrest that came following Laquan McDonald's killing. Eventually there was a coalition working towards something called the Empowering Communities for Public Safety Ordinance. That's when I saw a real sense of momentum that this could really move forward if we really pushed it.

I lived in Lake View and got involved as a volunteer with groups like the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and One Northside. They hosted canvasses going door-to-door and held phone banks to ask aldermen to vote for this ordinance. It got passed, and did so on a supermajority vote. I saw that as very exciting, and [as] an opportunity for the kind of reform that it called for to be put into place.

When they started to announce these positions, I was interested to know whether I'd be the right kind of person to do that, and in talking to some of the people at the organizations, and other individuals, I then sort of decided to throw my hat in the ring for it.

WCT: What kind of work would you want to see the councils move ahead with?

SS: On the district council level, I'd really like to see an expansion of emergency services to include mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors who can respond to crisis calls. There's a pilot in the 19th District called the CARE [Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement] program. It's been going on for a little more than a year, and it sends a crisis-intervention trained officer, a mental health clinician and a paramedic to respond to non-violent mental health crisis-calls. There's another pilot in another part of the city that sends just the mental health clinician and the paramedic.

I'd like to see some version of that made permanent. Right now, they're having a lot of success and they're still being studied. But it's helped a lot of people. It hasn't led to a lot of incarcerations or uses of force. It's helped to connect people with broader care. It's been a better way of dealing with a whole series of public safety issues that we've often put on police, but can be better targeted by folks with specialized training.

WCT: What are your thoughts on safety in the 19th District?

SS: If you look at statistics, at least the ones released by the 19th District, there are certain crimes that are disproportionately high right now, especially car thefts and carjackings. Those are at historic highs. … There are some scary incidents that have happened—more shootings, for example. It might be people who know each other, and gang-related, but there's more gun violence than we've seen in the past. There were the scary incidents like the kidnappings and robberies that took place one weekend in the area around Wrigley Field.

But the violence is nothing like what takes place in other parts of the city, particularly the South and West Sides. What I really want to do as a district council member is help improve the basic information that is available, so people understand the public safety events that have happened, what the police are doing about it and where investigations are, to the extent that [investigation details] can be shared. … What I would love to see is a district council website that has updated information about incidents, so people feel like they have a good sense of what resources they can turn to. I think that could solve a lot of the unease that people have.

WCT: Is there anything you'd like to add?

SS: It is important for me to say in this race that I'm a gay person who lives in North Halsted. I love this neighborhood and have lived here the entire time that I've been in Chicago. I do think we can do more to make sure that LGBTQ people feel safe and are safe, especially folks who tend to be more marginalized in our community. I don't count myself among them, as a white gay man. But queer folks of color, trans folks—I want to make sure they all feel welcome and safe in the 19th District and North Halsted.


This article shared 2473 times since Mon Feb 27, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

NATIONAL Trans woman killed, Tenn. law, S. Carolina coach, Evan Low, Idaho schools 2024-04-12
- Twenty-four-year-old Latina trans woman and makeup artist Meraxes Medina was fatally shot in Los Angeles, according to the website them, citing The Los Angeles Times. Authorities told the Times they found Medina's broken fingernail and a ...


Gay News

LPAC, Arizona LGBTQ officials denounce Arizona Supreme Court ruling on abortion 2024-04-10
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Yesterday, in a decision that starkly undermines reproductive freedoms, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled to enforce a 160-year-old law that criminalizes abortion and penalizes healthcare providers who ...


Gay News

Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison announces inaugural Cook County LGBTQ+ Youth Art Competition 2024-04-10
--From a press release - Schaumburg, Ill. — April 9, 2024 — Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison recently announced the firs ever LGBTQ+ Youth Art Competition. The competition's theme is "Pride is Power!" and will set the ton for Pride celebrations ...


Gay News

For Deb Robertson, the end-of-life issue is very real 2024-04-07
- For just about everyone, life is hard enough. However, talking about ending that life—especially when one is terminally ill—is just as difficult. Ten states have authorized medical aid in dying, although Illinois is not one of ...


Gay News

KFF survey shows extent of LGBT-related discrimination 2024-04-07
- KFF—an independent source of health policy research, polling and journalism—released "LGBT Adults' Experiences with Discrimination and Health Care Disparities: Findings from the KFF Survey of Racism, Discrimination, and Health." This ...


Gay News

Lightfoot may be hired to investigate Dolton mayor, trustees 2024-04-06
- A group of Dolton trustees is aiming to hire former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot—who is also an ex-federal prosecutor—to investigate Mayor Tiffany Henyard, media outlets reported. The group wants Lightfoot ...


Gay News

NATIONAL mpox, Trans+ Day of Visibility, police items, Best Buy, Gentili's death 2024-04-05
- The CDC has concluded that mpox cases are on the rise in the United States, increasing to almost double what they were at the same time last year, according to ABC News. There is a national year-to-date estimate of 511 cases ...


Gay News

Ugandan court mostly upholds harsh anti-LGBTQ+ law 2024-04-04
- On April 3, Uganda's constitutional court refused to annul or suspend an anti-LGBTQ+ law that includes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts, Reuters reported. However, the judicial body voided some provisions that it said were ...


Gay News

How safe are we really? A look into Illinois' LGBTQ+ protections as hate rises nationwide 2024-04-02
- Illinois has long been known to have some of the strongest LGBTQ+ legal protections in the country. Its first anti-discrimination laws go back several decades, and the state boasts a wide variety of protections of LGBTQ+ ...


Gay News

Q Force initiative looks to 'save democracy' by getting out the vote 2024-04-01
- The Q Force Midwest Force Action Group initiative wants to save democracy-and they've hit the ground running to ensure President Biden wins reelection this November. The initiative of LGBTQ+ organizers and volunteers seeks to invigorate voters ...


Gay News

Chicago's transgender community kicks off Transgender Week of Visibility with daylong conference, resource fair 2024-03-30
- Transgender community leaders, allies and politicians kicked off a weeklong celebration of transgender visibility in Chicago with a one-day conference and resource fair. More than 100 community members attended the ...


Gay News

White House issues proclamation on 2024 Transgender Day of Visibility 2024-03-29
- A PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: On Transgender Day of Visibility, we honor the extraordinary courage and contributions of transgender Americans and reaffirm our Nation's commitment to forming a more perfect ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Political candidates, flag controversy, HRC gala, New York Times, Disney 2024-03-29
- In California, of the historic 30 LGBTQ+ legislative candidates who ran in the March 5 primary, more than half are moving on to the fall ballot, The Bay Area Reporter noted. Based on the still unofficial ...


Gay News

Thailand parliament passes landmark marriage bill 2024-03-27
- On March 27, Thailand's parliament approved a marriage-equality bill by an overwhelmingly large margin—a landmark step that moves one of Asia's most liberal countries closer to legalizing same-sex unions, media ...


Gay News

Kara Swisher talks truth, power in tech at Chicago Humanities event 2024-03-25
- Lesbian author, award-winning journalist and podcast host Kara Swisher spoke about truth and power in the tech industry through the lens of her most recent book, Burn Book: A Tech Love Story, March 21 at First ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.