Construction on the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago was suspended Thursday after a noose was discovered on the work site.
Lakeside Alliance, a partnership of four Black-owned construction firms that is building the center, said it reported the incident to police. The company said it is offering a $100,000 reward to find who was responsible.
"We have zero tolerance for any form of bias or hate on our work site. Anti-bias training is included in our onboarding process and reiterated during sitewide meetings. We are suspending all operations on-site in order to provide another series of these trainings and conversations for all staff and workers," the company said.
The Chicago Tribune reported police were aware of the incident and that it is under investigation, according to police spokesman Sgt. Rocco Alioto.
"This shameless act of cowardice and hate is designed to get attention and divide us. Our priority is protecting the health and safety of our workforce. We have notified authorities who are investigating the incident," the Obama Foundation said in a statement.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker also weighed in.
"I condemn this act of hate in the strongest possible terms, and the state of Illinois will make all needed resources available to help catch the perpetrators," Pritzker tweeted.
City work to prepare for construction of the site, dedicated to the nation's first Black president, began in the spring of 2021. The groundbreaking ceremony was in September of that year. The center, which is expected to open in 2025, will sit on 19 acres in Jackson Park on the city's South Side. The park is named after Andrew Jackson, the nation's seventh president, and is close to the Obama family home and where Barack Obama started his political career.
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