• michelle fennessey

    Michelle Fennessy, Viaduct Activist, Sullivan Supporter Honored

    Right now, at UIC Pavilion, a community activist is being honored. 

    The UIC Flames basketball game today will take time out to recognize the work of Michelle Fennesy, the University Village community organizer, Ph.D. and registered nurse who has been at the forefront of addressing the public health problem of filthy viaducts on Halsted St.

    If there’s one thing that characterizes an activist who’s a Maureen Sullivan supporter, it’s that they don’t wait around for someone else to do a good thing in the neighborhood. Instead, they get on the case  — and they get WOW-level results for their neighbors.

    Take the problem of filthy and dangerous viaducts in our community. Community activist, PhD. and registered nurse Dr. Michelle Fennessy of University Village lives near the unhealthy eyesore where Halsted St. passes under railroad tracks owned by the BNSF Railway.

    She pushed and pushed Alderman Balcer for a fix and got nowhere.

    Other suggestions came along the lines of getting an unrelated corporation to fund the viaduct.  Patrick Daley Thompson suggested that Google be contacted to sponsor the property and its cleanup.

    “What about the tax money I already paid for this purpose?” thought Michelle (and everybody else who hears these kinds of classic answers that push privatization.)

    Adding to her already underway efforts, she built the website ChicagoViaduct.com, incorporating a petition at Change.org.

    And she took to Twitter.  You can follow her here. 

    You won’t believe the results she got.

    TRAIN EXECUTIVE GETS ON A PLANE

    A major problem with viaducts is the fact that the city and the railroads that run over them both believe the other is responsible for the upkeep of the walkway and throughway.  Michelle had seen this finger pointing between the city and the BNSF Railroad for a long time.

    So she did some research.  And she found out that BNSF railroad is owned by none other than billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

    So she tweeted him.  And he responded, sending BNSF’s Director of Public Affairs from his office in Texas to fly to Chicago to inspect the viaduct along with the company’s Supervisor of Chicago structures.

    The viaduct cleanup is underway now. Results!

    FENNESSY, A SULLIVAN SUPPORTER, TALKS INTERVENTION

    Why does an effective activist like Michelle Fennesy support Maureen Sullivan for 11th Ward Alderman? “Maureen is going to be action-oriented, she has a history of it and I see her as someone who is not afraid to challenge the status quo. We need more of that! In the words of Elvis [Preseley], ‘too much conversation and not enough action.'”, Fennesy said.

    “Now I realize Elvis meant other things, but I see it in nursing terms as “intervening” to make something happen. Maureen = intervention and the 11th ward needs a real advocate for our community,” she added.

    We couldn’t agree more.

    [Photo Credit: DNAInfoChicago]

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