Mikva Challenge Students Critique Mayoral Forum

On Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Chicago Tonight for an hourlong forum with Mikva Challenge high school students who asked him about his priorities for a second term. After the forum, students shared their thoughts on how well they thought the mayor answered questions and how the forum impacted their opinions of him.

How well did Mayor Emanuel answer the questions?

"He was indirect.” Aryanna, Sullivan High School

“In the beginning, he kind of was like beating around the bush, but some questions towards the end he gave great answers.” Autumn, Roosevelt University

“He generally went around the questions. He played the political game.” Heaven, Sullivan High School

”Some questions he answered them well, but others he tried to avoid answering.” Jennifer, Lake View High School

“Not really well because he was very indirect.” Xiaohua, Westinghouse College Prep

“He was beating around the bush.” Aloysius

“He kept beating around the bush.” Paola, Kelly High School

“He was not specific enough; however, he did answer some of the questions the way I expected him to.” Veronica, Kelly High School

“I think Mayor Emanuel answered the questions good, but he was a little evasive.” Christian, Alcott College Prep

“From what I could tell, he was fairly direct and positive.” Khayla, Chicago Military Academy

“He did pretty well but changed his answers a lot.” Jerome, Amundsen High School

“He just kinda answered them. Never did he actually answer them.” Lupe, Westinghouse College Prep

“He went all around the questions.” Natalie, Roberto Clemente High School

“He was indirect, but for one at least he was direct.” James, Alcott College Prep

“For the most part he answered thoroughly, although he was evasive with some answers.” Alejandra, Westinghouse College Prep

Do you think it is important for young people to have an opportunity to ask questions of the mayor? Why or why not?

“Yes, because there are ideas and questions that may never have been asked if we did not have the options, [and] there might have been something he learned about.” James, Alcott College Prep

“Because as young people we always hear from our parents about the mayor, but to hear for ourselves and get to ask questions ourselves is different.” Aryanna, Sullivan High School

“Yes, I think it’s important because he needs to know that the youth’s opinions matter because these issues affect us.” Alejandra, Westinghouse College Prep

“Yes, because we get to see what his plans are.” Xiaohua, Westinghouse College Prep

“Yes, to speak our minds and to see what he is going to do to answer our question to fix the community.” Chris, Fenger Academy High School

“Yes, because not often do young people care enough or get taken seriously.” Lupe, Westinghouse College Prep

“It is important because the youth don’t get enough opportunities to make their voices heard.” Veronica, Kelly High School

“I think we have a voice just as any adult. We’re as greatly affected by the decisions that are made as anyone else.” Autumn, Roosevelt University

“Yes, because he needs to know the youth’s opinions.” Aloysius

“Yes! Because [otherwise] he’s not very in touch with every community.” Alicia, Kelly High School

“Yes, it’s important young people feel like their voices count.” Natalie, Roberto Clemente High School

“I think it is, because young people will turn into the adults and they have to live through Chicago, so it’s good to have a voice.” Christian, Alcott College Prep

“I think it is important for youth to ask questions because that’s how young people can get involved in politics.” Jennifer, Lake View High School

Were you surprised by anything Mayor Emanuel said or how he behaved? Explain why or why not.

“I do feel that he is trying to improve as mayor.” Autumn, Roosevelt University

“No, because he really was not answering our questions!” Shawnee, Fenger Academy High School

“Nope, this was what I expected.” Alicia, Kelly High School

“I found it interesting how Rahm took credit for APTP’s (Albany Park Theater Project) in Albany Park. APTP is eighteen years old.” Jesi, Amundsen High School

“The fact that he remembered the high schools of many of us was very surprising.” Veronica, Kelly High School

“He was sneaky in trying to connect with us through asking what schools we go to.” Lupe, Westinghouse College Prep

“He acted as if he knew us and made me super uncomfortable.” Paola, Kelly High School

“I was surprised at how he didn’t have answers to some questions but he still tried even though it was clearly false.” Alejandra, Westinghouse College Prep

Were there any questions you wish had been asked?

“Why does he run red lights?” Aloysius

“Yes: Does he plan on closing more schools?” Shawnee, Fenger Academy High School

“I wish he had actually answered the questions because they were questions that needed to be asked.” Jesi, Amundsen High School

“I wish the minimum wage had been addressed.” Khayla, Chicago Military Academy

“Questions about the minimum wage.” Paola, Kelly High School

“How could the mayor put more after school programs for teens and kids that don't do sports?” Chris, Fenger Academy High School

Did the forum have any impact on what you think of the mayor? 

“In the beginning, I had a negative perspective of the mayor, but after the talk I was very optimistic about what he’s going to do to improve the city in this term.” Autumn, Roosevelt University

“No, but he did come prepared.” Aloysius

“No, I support him and this was what I expected. I wish he stayed longer for pictures and personal comments!” Alicia, Kelly High School

“I can tell that Mayor Emanuel is trying his best.” Christian, Alcott College Prep

“He does try to answer the questions, so that makes him more approachable and humble.” Veronica, Kelly High School

“I think he is kind, polite, and compassionate about what he does.” Khayla, Chicago Military Academy

“No. I still don’t agree with him much.” Lupe, Westinghouse College Prep

“No - he does want to solve many issues; however, he does not have as much knowledge as needed for permanent fixes.” James, Alcott College Prep