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Construction resumes at Obama Presidential Center after noose is found

In six days officials say a loophole has been found at the Obama Presidential Center work site on the South Side, the construction firm overseeing the project said work has resumed with “extra safety measures in place.”

“We will continue to assist authorities in their ongoing investigation to identify the person or persons responsible for this horrific act,” the Lakeside Alliance, which is building the center, said in a press release. “While Lakeside Alliance understands that no amount of training will lessen the impact of last week’s horrific act, we will continue to provide ongoing training on anti-bias, inclusion and belonging to help create an inclusive work environment.”

The center, which will honor the legacy of President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, is also being built in Jackson Park on the city’s predominantly black South Side by a joint venture of four African-American firms — Brown & Momen, Powers & Sons, Safeway, UJAMAA — and Turner Construction. The Obama Foundation, too committed to hiring various contractors and construction workers from the South and West sides of the city.

The alliance said “all staff and on-site workers have participated in anti-bias training” over the past few days. They offered a $100,000 reward to help find the culprits.

No one has been charged in the incident, and the Chicago Police Department said Wednesday it had no updates.

A Lakeside spokeswoman last week declined to comment on the details of the incident, including where the noose was found or whether it was placed in a threatening manner, citing an ongoing investigation by Chicago police.

“Lakeside Alliance is proud of the workforce we have assembled, and we remain committed to making sure everyone feels safe and is treated with respect and dignity on site,” the release said Wednesday. “We will not allow this hateful act to distract us from our mission to transform the paradigm of the construction industry in Chicago.”

The Obama Foundation condemned the act as a “shameless act of cowardice and hate,” and Governor J. B. Pritzker pledged to “dedicate all necessary resources to help catch the criminals,” adding: “The noose is more than a symbol of racism, it is a stunning reminder of the violence and terror black Americans have been subjected to for centuries.”




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