May 5, 2023

The Honorable Lori E. Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago
121 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602

Dear Mayor Lightfoot:

As far back as the early 1910s, Chicago served as a city of refuge for those looking to escape social, political and physical execution. Over half a million people fled the southern United States seeking to protect their families and the future generations after them. Chicago was not proactive in preparing housing, educational opportunities, and implementing measures in the face of The Great Migration to rid the city of discrimination at the time, resulting in today’s legacy of de facto segregation. In an effort to close the gap left by the negligent response by the City, local churches and social organizations provided travel, housing and employment assistance to those seeking refuge. Today, many of the descendants of those who participated in The Great Migration are healthy Chicago natives that contribute financially, socially and culturally to the City we know and love.
Mirroring the great migration, we are now faced with the responsibility to accept migrants being shuttled from Texas and help them assimilate into the United States. This responsibility has stretched the limits of our cooperative social service groups, as many migrants are now staying in overcrowded spaces. This is unacceptable, and we should be supporting our local churches, as we did during The Great Migration, to help vulnerable people and treat them with the dignity they deserve. St. Kevin’s Church in South Deering is a great option to shelter migrants and equip them with appropriate support services. St. Kevin’s Church has an unblemished tradition of service and outreach as they have an unwavering respect for life.
Chicago has always served as a sanctuary city, so it is disappointing to witness the prolonged attempt to reach out to social organizations, such as Centro de Trabajadores Unidos , to stabilize overpopulated shelters. As we continue to receive migrants and brace for the impact of additional migrants seeking refuge in the United States, we need to take advantage of local entities such as St. Kevin’s Church and Centro de Trabajadores Unidos that are willing and capable of assisting those in their time of need. I urge you to recognize this event for what it is, a humanity crisis, and operate accordingly.

Thank you for your consideration.


Sen. Robert Peters signature
Robert Peters
Illinois State Senator, 13th District