This week, it has been announced that George Lucas is looking into other cities to build the George Lucas Museum, after two years of planning. Not long after that, news broke on how Mayor Rahm Emauel is seeking assistance from a federal appeals court in an attempt to keep the Star Wars director from building the museum in another city. From a perspective of a politician, I could understand why Mayor Emauel would want to keep this museum in the city. George Lucas and his movies have a following, and have cemented itself into pop culture history, even to the point where Snapchat joined in on the celebration of Star Wars Day, held on May 4th with many posting the caption, “may the fourth be with you” (a pun on one of the most famous lines in cinema history “may the force be with you”). Can you imagine the social media buzz the museum would of gotten if it was built here in Chicago? Imagine the lines, the Snapchat videos, and money that would have been made on May 4th. If I can see it, I know others can. I understand why city officials would love for Chicago to be the home of the George Lucas Museum. In typical Chicago fashion, most likely a politician will say, “the museum will add value to the city and increase the value for tourist”.
That’s the problem I have, and that is why I’m not upset about the George Lucas Museum being in Chicago.
What needs to be done and what needs to be improve in Chicago has almost become an everyday conversation. Sure, the George Lucas Museum could bring more jobs, but who will those jobs be given to? What real benefits will communities have if the museum was located alone the lakefront? How much of our taxes will be put into this? As a native of the most segregated city in America, and the city that gets more attention because of the violence, corrupt politicians, and mismanaged funds, these are the questions myself and many others have when the museum was first brought to our attention. Chicago has enough tourist attractions, even the ones that don’t get recognized because they’re not located in the South Loop, Downtown or near the north side. Instead of putting our direction into something like a museum, we should put our energy and money into building structures, neighborhoods, and landmarks that are already in place and in need of funding.
In all honesty, we don’t need another Museum in the city; Chicago has 55 of them, with two more on the way. I believe the city needs to focus its attention on giving locals the ability to put businesses into their own communities. With more local businesses, the value of the neighborhoods in the city can rise. We the people, and the politicians need to focus more on the funding of schools. Yes, a museum can be educational, but school is a place where children do most of their learning and growing. There are too many schools in Chicago that are being underfunded and closed down. Children go to classrooms that lack books and learning materials, teacher work at schools that underpay them, and with the percentage of students that do graduate, most of them are prepared for college. With the controversy and outrage over the underfunding of Chicago State University, it would be slap in the face to the city of Chicago if the Lucas Museum was built. How can the city have funding for a museum in honor of a person who has little connection to Chicago, but not enough funding for the school and colleges, you and I, see everyday.
I am all for improving our city, but I think we need to redefine what “improving the city” means. Improving a city or a neighborhood doesn’t mean building new buildings at the expensive of taxpayer’s money. Improving the city doesn’t mean creating new tourist attractions for people who will only be in Chicago for a couple of days and only go to the downtown area. Improving the city means building the communities around us, properly funding the areas that need to be funded, and giving those who live here something to offer and something to look forward to. Give the citizens of Chicago something to be proud of and call our own. Chicago is ranked third in states people are leaving; in my opinion that’s appalling, and it is something that needs to change. If we want to make people happy, I do think George Lucas and Star Wars deserve an exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, lets see if we can get that off the ground.