Housing Issue 2019

Back to the Land Trust

A new generation of community land trusts looks back to the movement’s radical roots

Gaby FeBland

In February, the Hyde Park Herald reported that 4th Ward Alderman Sophia King had floated the idea of forming a community land trust in Bronzeville. Created in partnership with GN Bank, the land trust would provide a way for nonprofits to cheaply acquire and develop vacant lots in Bronzeville. “We’re not [averse] to developers developing, but we want to make sure that money stays in the community first and we harness the equity that’s in the land,” she said. (When reached for comment, King’s office said the proposal is still in its early stages.)

Interviews | Politics

Meet the Candidates: Maya Hodari

The Weekly sits down with the CHA development director and community organizer running for alderman in the 20th Ward

Katie Hill

About ten years ago, Maya Hodari says, she noticed an uptick in burglaries on her block, 65th Street and Drexel Avenue. In response, she and several other people living on her street formed a neighbors’ association, which began a series of projects—beautification, Clean and Green days, homeownership promotion—in an attempt to change the street for the better. One product of the group’s work with other Woodlawn residents was the Woodlawn Community Summit, an annual one-day neighborhood gathering entering its tenth year.

Interviews | Politics

Meet the Candidates: Nicole Johnson

The Weekly sits down with the educator running for alderman in the 20th Ward

Ellen Hao

Nicole Johnson is one of between five and twelve candidates (depending on how petition challenges shake out) running to replace outgoing Alderman Willie Cochran in the 20th Ward, who has been indicted on corruption charges. The ward is made up of parts of Woodlawn, Washington Park, Englewood, and Back of the Yards. Johnson lives a block west of Halsted in Englewood—in the same house she grew up in—and has worked across the city: as a third grade math teacher on the South and West Sides, a consultant at Magic Johnson’s education nonprofit the Academy Group, and at community development nonprofit Teamwork Englewood. She’s also a peer advisor at the Obama Foundation, and volunteers with Alpha Kappa Alpha and the Chicago YMCA.

Interviews | Politics

Meet the Candidates: Jeanette Taylor

The Weekly sits down with the community activist running for alderman in the 20th Ward

Ellen Hao

Jeanette Taylor first began thinking about a run for alderman after a September 2017 event with the Obama Foundation. Taylor, a local activist with the coalition calling for the Obama Foundation to accept a Community Benefits Agreement for its Presidential Center, asked the first question of Obama himself. (It came as a surprise: she didn’t know he’d be showing up to talk to the audience by video call.) The former president’s response to her request for a CBA was disappointing. If the center announced they might sign one, he said, “next thing I know I’ve got twenty organizations that are coming out of the woodwork.” “He got a lot of nerve saying that,” Taylor told Politico last year.

Police | Politics

Cognitive Dissidence

Chicago’s abolitionists make space for conversation after the Van Dyke trial

Jedidiah Brown, middle, erupted in cheers with a crowd as they watch the broadcasted verdict for Jason Van Dyke outside Cook County. Jason Van Dyke, a white Chicago Police Officer, was convicted of Second Degree Murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm for each of shots in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Soon after the conviction, Chicago activist took to the streets in protest for police reform, chanting, "CPD! Guilty of conspiracy." (Sebastián Hidalgo)

The evening after the Van Dyke verdict came down, Trina Reynolds-Tyler took to Instagram to ask her followers a simple question: “What is justice for Laquan McDonald?” An organizer and abolitionist, Reynolds-Tyler has been involved with activism around the McDonald shooting since before it caught the public’s attention.

History | Interview Issue 2018

Bones of the City

A Chicago archaeologist makes the case for digging up the past

Katie Hill

If we can learn something valuable about people by looking at the “mundane, everyday objects” of their daily lives, as Rebecca Graff suggests, the assortment of items littered around her office tells us the obvious—that she is an urban archaeologist. Lanyards from academic conferences are pinned to the bulletin board in a messy gaggle, stray surveying equipment sits in the corner, and her shelves are full of glass bottles with worn-off labels, artifacts saved from digs. Even apparent signs of hobbies, like the half-shelf full of beer cans, lead back to her discipline: the cans are gifts from her students, finds from antique shows across the world.

Architecture | History | Housing

Digging Up the Past

After a new archaeological discovery at IIT, a spat over the school’s history of displacement emerges

Courtesy IIT

About a month ago, while digging up the ground under the Illinois Institute of Technology’s S.R. Crown Hall in Bronzeville to repair the school’s steam tunnels, maintenance workers uncovered some unexpected remnants of the neighborhood’s past. The artifacts, displayed for a one-day exhibition at Crown Hall this month, included ceramic tiles and stone pathways, along with a random assortment of everyday objects: a busted thermometer, glazed clay Bennington marbles, and a dirt-caked silver fork inscribed with the word “Toffenetti.”