“Actually all dead…it’s been dead for some years.”Alderman’s Comments Regarding South Shore Nature Sanctuary Cause Outrage

South Shore Cultural Center Nature Preserve. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

South Shore Cultural Center Nature Preserve. Photo Credit: Susannah Ribstein

South Shore Cultural Center Nature Preserve. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

South Shore Cultural Center Nature Preserve. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

South Shore Cultural Center Nature Preserve. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

South Shore Cultural Center Nature Preserve. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) proclaims in the Sun-Times that the cherished South Shore Nature Sanctuary is “actually all dead…it’s been dead for some years.” (Sun-Times, 8/9/19)

“Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) has drawn outrage from locals after falsely claiming the South Shore Nature Sanctuary is “dead” and has not been maintained.

“Hairston told the Sun-Times Tuesday that she’d like to take Mayor Lori Lightfoot on a tour of the sanctuary “because it’s actually all dead, and it’s been dead for some years.” She was trying to convince the mayor that plans to merge the Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses wouldn’t be disrupting parkland in the area.

“All one has to do to prove otherwise is take a visit to the sanctuary, said Brenda Nelms, co-president of Jackson Park Watch. “It is a lovely respite, used by local residents as a place of community, solace and recreation,” Nelms said in a statement. “We hope that Mayor Lightfoot will tour Jackson Park and South Shore, with Alderman Hairston or on her own, with an eye to seeing what would be lost.” (Evans, 8/15/19)”

Read the full story at Block Club Chicago

When 5th Ward Ald. Leslie Hairston recently described the South Shore Nature Sanctuary as “all dead” because there’s “nobody to maintain it,” she immediately got pushback from neighborhood park advocates, some of whom posted photos of prairie habitat lush with wildflowers and long grasses.

Hairston also inspired a local network of Environmentalists of Color, which has focused on promoting diversity in environmental organizations, to move into public advocacy.

“That language was so offensive that we felt it was our duty to speak up,” said Mia K. Marshall, a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago and former owner of an organic gardening company who’s active with the group. (Black, 8/22/19)

Read the full story at The Chicago Reporter

Ald. Leslie Hairston accused of lying about nature sanctuary as part of ‘marketing campaign’ to jump-start golf course merger; Hairston claimed the South Shore Nature Sanctuary has been “dead for some years … because there was nobody to maintain it.” But Jackson Park Watch posted pictures on Twitter to prove the sanctuary is alive and well and distributed them at a Chicago Park District board meeting.Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times, 8/14/19

Hairston’s claim on South Shore Nature Sanctuary is political self-interest; Far from being dead, it’s one of Chicago’s few thriving examples of a native lakeshore habitat, Letters to the Editor, Chicago Sun-Times, 8/19/19

South Shore Nature Sanctuary Is Far From ‘Dead,’ Neighbors Say After Ald. Hairston Pushes To Replace It with Golf Courses; Hairston made the comments at Medinah Country Club, where Tiger Woods — who’s backing a plan to remove and replace the sanctuary for a PGA-level course — was prepping for a tournament, Maxwell Evans, Block Club Chicago, 8/15/19

Fight for South Shore Nature Sanctuary is latest environmental justice flashpoint; Ald. Leslie Hairston’s recent comments highlight the disconnect between officials and community activists working for environmental equity. Curtis Black, The Chicago Reporter, 8/22/19

WATCH: Have You Discovered the South Shore Nature Sanctuary? Openlands, June 28, 2018

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