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Riot Fest is a benefit to Douglass Park and Chicago

The Sun-Times article of Sept. 14, “As Riot Fest crews set up in Douglass Park, Little Village, Lawndale residents keep pushing for music festival to leave” is one-sided and short-sighted.

Riot Fest organizers provide jobs for the duration of the event, as well as free tickets, for community members. Organizers also host several Douglass Park clean-up events.Riot Fest is indeed a wonderful event, and we, as a community, need to make the fine arts available. I reject the contention of some that this is a “noisy weekend.”

I appreciate the sense of “this is our park” conveyed in the article. But happily, the parks belong to all. In the 1830s, James Thompson laid out the park system for Chicago, meant for all to enjoy. I understand that there are some who do not want the Park District to broker these large festival events, but on the other hand, how do we maintain the parks? I applaud the park district for monetizing the parks to help fund their beauty for future generations. The money raised through taxation alone will not help keep all parks and facilities functioning and vibrant.

The Chicago Police Department and the city provide exceptional security for the community and the festival attendees. As a retired member of the police department, I have participated in safety and security meetings. Overwhelmingly, event organizers listen and heed recommendations to make their events safe. Riot Fest was no exception.

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It is understandable that no resident wants a nearby park monopolized. Douglass Park is the perfect location, since the footprint for Riot Fest is less than half the size of the entire park.

I am a lifelong Chicago resident, for 63 years. I have been inconvenienced by sporting and other events and numerous street festivals and parades. This is what I have come to expect living in a large urban area. Thousands of Chicagoans attend Riot Fest. Chicago is a world-class city. Let’s continue world-class events!

George J. Devereux, Chicago

Dem put a MAGA in Illinois politics

Your readers should be reminded, as you devote resources to attacking people who disagree with you as “a threat to democracy,” that these MAGA Republicans are so dangerous a threat to our republic that our very own Democratic governor spent big bucks to give one a shot at taking control of the executive branch of our state government.

If not for a Democrat, there would be no MAGA in Illinois politics.

Jim FitzGerald, Edgewater

Averting the threat to our ideals

My father immigrated to America from Romania in 1917 when he was 15. He traveled alone in steerage to flee religious oppression and injustice. Despite the difficulties immigrants faced, he quickly recognized that this country was totally different from the one he left. The difference was a democratic society. My father never reached the American dream of financial success, but his greatest pride was to become an American citizen.

Today, the blessing of American democracy is endangered. The threats come from apathy, intolerance, and lack of truth. Growing up in a democracy, too many Americans take it for granted. Unfortunately, democracy is a gift that can be lost if it is not nurtured by active citizen respect and participation. The ideals of democracy are not found on social media and extremist websites. The ideals are found in the honest study of our history and the recognition that our system deeply contrasts to other repressive forms of government. Our citizens possess a gift we must protect through activism, education, and responsible journalism. American democracy is not perfect, but only ordinary citizens can improve and protect it.

Betty Kleinberg, Deerfield

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