Running through the heart of Chicago’s political debate is an angry river, well-worn and deepened throughout its modern history. On one side of that seemingly eternal divide stands a white politician primarily committed to economic growth, one who downplays the political importance of race and typically ends up enacting policies directed toward attracting the college graduates and businesses that populate a vibrant and successful Loop. On the other is the minority politician who points out the gross inequities associated with those policy priorities and instead calls for safer streets, open schools, and an economic strategy that is geared toward neighborhood growth. Continue reading
As the 5th Ward’s incumbent alderman of sixteen years, Leslie Hairston is no stranger to the perennial blossoming of challengers who loudly critique her rule over this district by the lake every four years. Continue reading
These were Bob Fioretti’s people, this was his standing-room-only crowd.
Another spring day begins at Bronzeville’s Mollison Elementary School. Two blocks away, a seventh grader yanks at the arm of his little sister. She’s insisting on picking a palmful of yellow flowers for a friend’s birthday, but her brother knows the consequences for arriving after nine o’clock. They scurry in, just in time. Continue reading
Laura Gottesdiener’s “A Dream Foreclosed” is the story of four men and women and their broken dreams. Though the four are dispersed around the country, they are all black, and all the victims of a housing crisis that has singlehandedly shattered their modest dreams of a better life. Continue reading
Wiping her hands on an apron as she strides out of the kitchen, the single employee on duty at Josefina’s Bakery turns down “Vas a Llorar Por Mí,” the latest single from Banda El Recodo De Cruz Lizárraga. The same evening sees students from Benito Juárez Community Academy slouched over benches in nearby Dvorak Park, next to a hassled mom whose shouts of “¡Cuidado!” fall on the deaf ears of her boisterous son. Men stream out from citizenship classes in Casa Aztlan, a longtime home of social activism in the neighborhood.
A block away from all of this is Thalia Hall, a sprawling nineteenth-century building at the corner of 18th and Allport that has recently found new owners. Continue reading
It seems as though the center couldn’t possible hold in South Shore. In a city where homogeneity within neighborhoods has been the rule for decades, the uneasy marriage between rich and poor, progress and stagnation—at times just a block away from each other—is blatant and inescapable. Continue reading