The Balkan-American community in Chicago is not staying quiet as Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson prepares to take office. Education, infrastructure, and property taxes were identified as primary concerns in a survey conducted by The Balkan Voice of The Pavlovic Today. However, crime and public safety are at the top of everyone’s minds.

“We need less crime and more public safety throughout all Chicago neighborhoods,” emphasized Bozo Durman, who stressed the need for safer streets and neighborhoods. Aleksandar Djuricic echoed those concerns, adding, “We need to address public safety, crime, taxes, and attacks from other Balkan communities.”

Meanwhile, Saveta Dubak sounded the alarm about crime, calling attention to the prevalence of scammers and mass shootings in the area. On the healthcare front, Dubak lamented her experience giving birth in Chicago, saying that doctors seemed indifferent to their patients’ well-being. She also advocated for the inclusion of pharmacies in urgent care facilities to facilitate easy access to medication after emergency treatment.

A young mother of two who wished to remain anonymous voiced similar concerns about crime and public safety. She revealed that she rarely felt at ease when entering the city and expressed frustration with the state of public education and healthcare policies. “I rarely feel a sense of ease and am always vigilant. Public education is a disappointment, as are many current healthcare policies,” she said.

The Balkan-American community in Chicago has expressed its dissatisfaction with the city’s efforts in the past to address their needs. Several residents believe that more support and additional resources are needed, especially given the size of the Balkan American community in the area. Key issues that the community wants Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson to prioritize include crime and public safety, education, taxes, and infrastructure.

One anonymous respondent emphasized the importance of addressing crime, while Bozo Durman stressed the need for the community to feel safe when entering the city. Aleksandar Djuricic called for “greater outreach,” while another anonymous resident expressed concerns about the condition of the city’s roads. “The roads are in terrible condition, and the speed cameras should create more than enough revenue to maintain them,” the resident said.

Saveta Dubak suggested that the mayor explore the possibility of forming a Serbian-American alliance and “meeting directly with community leaders to identify areas where the city can offer support and assistance in improving the lives of Serbian-Americans.” Another resident called for greater investment in public education and social services, lower taxes, while also urging the mayor not to defund the police.

The Balkan-American community in Chicago is eager for Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson to prioritize their needs and engage more with their community. In response to the question of how the mayor can improve engagement, one resident said, “Consult us on our needs.” Bozo Durman suggested that the mayor could get to know the Balkan community better by visiting their restaurants and trying their cuisine. Meanwhile, Djurcic recommended that the mayor utilize community leaders regardless of party affiliation.

Saveta Dubak suggested that the city can create more cultural and educational programs that celebrate Balkan culture and history. “While many Balkan cultural events are currently organized by members of the Balkan community, I believe that the city should also play a role in hosting and promoting these events,” she said.

“The city can provide more resources and support to Balkan-American entrepreneurs and businesses to help them contribute to the local economy,” Dubak added. She also emphasized the importance of encouraging Balkan-Americans to participate in civic activities, such as voting and community organizations, to ensure that their voices are heard in local decision-making processes.

“Understand who and what the community is about – begin by engaging with various Balkan-owned businesses within the Chicagoland area,” said another resident.

As the Mayor-elect prepares to take office, expectations are running high within the Balkan American community in Chicago.


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