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Sigcho-Lopez keeps committee chair after controversial rally appearance – NBC Chicago

The Chicago City Council voted against a measure that would have removed Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez from his leadership post after attending a rally over the weekend condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza.

An American flag was burned by a military veteran at the rally, and photos showed Sigcho-Lopez standing in front of it as he gave a speech at the event.

By a 29-16 vote during a special session of the council, lawmakers chose not to remove Sigcho-Lopez from his position as chairman of the council’s housing committee.

Ald. Chris Taliaferro spoke at Monday’s meeting, saying Sigcho-Lopez apologized for appearing with the group.

“When I spoke to my colleague, I forgave him for what was in my heart, what I believed to be an inappropriate gesture. “It’s because of this that I was able to accept his apology and say that it’s enough for me,” he said.

Sigcho-Lopez said he did not condone the actions of those at the event, but said he believed burning the American flag was an expression of free speech.

“I have clearly apologized. I neither endorsed nor participated in any of these actions claimed by some of my colleagues. At the same time, I’m not condemning a veteran for their First Amendment rights,” he said.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson released a statement following the Council meeting.

“I strongly believe in the democratic process and was happy to see Ald. Sigcho-Lopez and Ald. Taliaferro reaches mutual understanding and moves forward,” he said. “I once again commend the City Council members for their thoughtful debate and look forward to continuing to work collaboratively to meet the urgent needs of all Chicagoans.”

Sigcho-Lopez said he was not present when the flag was burned and did not notice the flag as he spoke.

Other lawmakers had criticized Sigcho-Lopez for calling for the Democratic National Convention to be canceled because of the Biden administration’s handling of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“We have a right to call out our colleague, who should be held to a higher standard when he makes comments about canceling the DNC, makes comments about the commander in chief in front of a charred flag,” said Ald . » Gilbert Villegas declared this last week.

The alderman stood by those comments during an interview with NBC Chicago last week.

“Yes (the DNC should be canceled),” he said. “The president and many leaders have neglected the issue of migration and neglected the genocide in Gaza. »

NBC Chicago

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