It’s a quiet afternoon at Kusanya Cafe on 69th and Halsted, with a few people chatting over hot mugs of coffee or working on their laptops. The exposed brick walls give the space a stripped-down feel, but with colorful paintings and large windows that let in lots of natural light, the room feels warm and homey. Though the atmosphere and decor are mildly reminiscent of a café one might see in Uptown or Lincoln Park that serves infused lattes for five dollars, a quick glance at the menu hints that Kusanya isn’t a North Side transplant. A grilled mozzarella sandwich named Mozz Def and a ham panini named Ham Master Jay—plays on the names of rappers Mos Def and Jam Master Jay—indicate that Kusanya’s roots are firmly planted here in Englewood.
Last Tuesday, the Cook County Land Bank Authority and Metropolitan Planning Council wrapped up the last of three public meetings with Woodlawn residents held as a precursor to the development of the long-vacant Washington Park National Bank Building at 63rd Street and Cottage Grove. The meetings were part of the Corridor Development Initiative (CDI), a community-oriented process designed to ensure that Woodlawn residents’ suggestions would be incorporated into the final plan for the development.
The summer of 1943 witnessed a remarkable collective mobilization: Chicagoans produced more than 55,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in nearly 175,000 Victory Gardens, small plots of land started by citizens to mobilize food production during World War I and II.
On the evening of February 28, about thirty congregants of St. Adalbert Church huddled under a tunnel of scaffolding outside the main doors of the church, seeking refuge from a downpour of rain. Holding posters, candles, and various Catholic paraphernalia, the churchgoers collectively chanted “La iglesia no se vende.” (The church is not for sale). At around 6:30pm, a few of the elderly parishioners, standing on the steps at the entrance of the church, began a prayer vigil.