Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter in Cabrini: Jane Byrne's 1981 PR disaster

Posted By on 03.29.13 at 02:17 PM

Jane Byrne speaks to the crowd.
  • mediaburn.org
  • Jane Byrne speaks to the crowd.
In the spring of 1981, facing a barrage of criticism about her administration's policy toward public housing, then-mayor Jane Byrne decided to prove she was committed to increasing safety in the projects. She was so committed, in fact, that she was going to move into an apartment in Cabrini-Green!

The experiment went about as well as one might expect. Some of Byrne's new neighbors suspected her move was nothing more than a publicity stunt and decided to call her out on it in the middle of a community Easter celebration. While Byrne presided over the egg hunt and sang "Easter Parade" with a bunch of cute kids, neighbors marched around with picket signs a few feet away.

Tom Weinberg and Tom Finerty caught the whole thing on film. It's a disturbing example of police brutality. Now Weinberg has posted it on his website Media Burn Archive, which has given us permission to repost it here.

And, yeah, it seemed the protesters were on to something. Jane Byrne lasted a whole three weeks in Cabrini-Green.

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