A Chicago nonprofit is unapologetic for denying area for George Lucas’ museum

FILE - This file artist rendering provided by the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art shows the proposed museum, left center, in Chicago. A federal judge has set a February hearing for next moves in a lawsuit seeking to stop "Star Wars'" filmmaker George Lucas from building a $400 million museum in Chicago. On on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, U.S. District Judge John Darrah told the nonprofit group Friends of the Parks to file a response to the city's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, in Chicago. (Lucas Museum of Narrative Art via AP, File)

CHICAGO (AP) – The head of a small nonprofit that stood its ground and blocked “Star Wars” creator George Lucas’ private museum from being built on Chicago’s prized lakefront is unapologetic in the face of attacks that its campaign merely protected an existing parking lot.

The preservationist group was vilified after going up against a billionaire Hollywood mogul and a mayor who was once a White House chief of staff. Lucas’ wife accused them of denying “black and brown children” opportunities and a prominent Catholic priest even compared them to a street gang.

But as crowds fill the ribbon of green along Lake Michigan this Fourth of July, Friends of the Parks Director Juanita Irizarry urges people not to take for granted the dazzling open spaces that generations of activists have fought to preserve.

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