The 3rd Ward—where Alexandria Willis hopes to be the next alderman—stretches from Washington Park, Fuller Park, and a small corner of Englewood through Bronzeville to the South Loop. Willis grew up in Chicago and moved to the 3rd Ward four years ago, to a spot in Bronzeville not too far from where her father grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes. A policy analyst with a background in public health, nursing, and advocating for nursing home safety, Willis has been excited to contribute to the community’s momentum as a resident and through work like serving on the board of nonprofit developer The Renaissance Collaborative and helping with the Englewood Quality of Life Plan.
I feel that one of the great miracles in recent journalism, if I may, is that that swagger and freedom that the Reader represented when it was flush with cash has somehow survived to one degree or another through all these difficult financial times. It’s easy to be on top of the world, cocky and cool, when you’re rolling in the dough, but when you’re struggling…if you still maintain that sense of mission, it is really impressive.
In December of 2015, after massive public outcry over the killing of Laquan McDonald, the U.S. Department of Justice initiated a probe into the Chicago Police Department. The thirteen-month investigation, for which the Department spent hundreds of days in Chicago, conducted hundreds of interviews, and reviewed tens of thousands of pages of documentation, resulted in the release last Friday of a 160-page report. The report concludes that CPD engages in the unconstitutional use of force and suffers from severely broken training and accountability systems. Below we have highlighted particularly jarring numbers, anecdotes, and conclusions from this report.
I grew up in Chicago; in my earliest years I grew up around Humboldt Park. It’s really funny, people ask me how did I come to work wherever it was—West Side, South Side. I was one of two Anglo kids in my school, so when people ask me about why I choose to work with diverse populations or whatever bizarre verbiage or politically correct verbiage du jour that there is floating around, I’m never sure how to really put that forward. The reality is I work with people that I grew up with, that are really to me the primary comfortable real everyday people. I guess as a white woman I’ve noticed people put this frame on me of, “Well, you’re this person working here, this is not the same.”
By this spring, a factory roof in Pullman will be home to a farm that grows up to a million pounds of pesticide-free produce a year. As 9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale says, “That amount of lettuce is unreal!” When it opens up on top of eco-friendly cleaning product company Method’s new manufacturing plant, Gotham Greens’ rooftop farm will be the largest of its kind in the world. Not only will it grow produce year-round, but, along with Method’s plant, the farm will also bring close to 150 new jobs to the community. The plans are an exciting development for an area that has historically had a higher unemployment rate than the city as a whole, but they also highlight a divide between Pullman proper and the surrounding area. Continue reading
I am a sacker of cities, destroyer of Troy,” proclaims Iphigenia toward the end of Court Theatre’s Iphigenia in Aulis. Only sacrificing Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis will raise the winds the Greeks need to sail to Troy; to that end, her father, the Greek commander Agamemnon, has resolved to kill her. Anguished but out of options, Iphigenia (Stephanie Andrea Barron) finally and fervently accepts her fate. The veneer of glamorous martyrdom in her words belies her death’s horror, and its futility: her murder will pave the way for the ten years of slaughter and atrocities to come. The fluidity and power with which Barron delivers the line similarly conceal the care and challenge involved in translating Euripides’ 2,400-year-old tragedy for today’s stage. In this production, what is just below the surface often has the strongest effect. Continue reading
There’s something about Shred Fest, She Shreds magazine’s annual festival celebrating female musicians, that seemed perfectly at home inside Pilsen’s ChiTown Futbol.
Most people feel aimless or apathetic from time to time, but for the title character of Gideon’s Confession, stasis is a way of life. Describing himself as “a compass without a magnet”—directionless —he wallows in indecision about his career and his life, enabled by regular checks from a generous uncle. Continue reading