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We step off the porch, and come through the stepping stones,” sculptor Margot McMahon said, leading an impromptu tour for the Weekly of her new installation commemorating revered South Side poet Gwendolyn Brooks at her namesake Kenwood park last week. Starting in front of a small porch structure—representing the Bronzeville porch on which Brooks wrote her first poetry as a child—the flagstones meander in a curved line, etched with excerpts from Brooks’s book-length poem Annie Allen. The poem follows the story of a young girl growing into a woman in Bronzeville; it resulted in Brooks becoming the first Black writer to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
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The last time the Weekly surveyed the landscape of police accountability in Chicago, just over two years ago to the date and a month before the Laquan McDonald video was released, it looked considerably different. Scott Ando, a controversial longtime DEA agent, was still running the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA)—an agency which no longer exists. Garry McCarthy was still the tough-on-crime police superintendent, Anita Alvarez was still the tough-on-crime State’s Attorney, and the most vocal reform advocate in city government, Lori Lightfoot, had just been appointed president of the Police Board. The last two years have been some of the most tumultuous in the century-and-a-half-long battle over who will oversee and discipline the police force, and have arguably produced some of the most potentially impactful changes since the 1960s. However, as every person featured in this article would likely say, the work of establishing true, effective police accountability in the city is just beginning.
These arbitration awards are not the end of the battle over these records, as both Crystal and Roumell’s decisions simply continue the preservation of the documents. Though the awards are legally binding, they are subject to appeal, and both Kalven and Futterman hedged when discussing their merits with the Sun-Times, calling them “sort of a reprieve,” and a “timeout,” respectively.
“I’m running for president, but I’m running for Christ, too.”
A stone’s throw away from Chicago’s downtown area, one might find oneself in this nondescript, inconspicuous neighborhood called Bridgeport. With its post-industrial sheen, one would never guess the historic significance it holds: thousands and thousands of immigrants started up their American dream right here. It was a start-up for throngs arriving from throughout Europe. Word spread that boundless opportunities and streets paved with gold would welcome you. Bridgeport was booted up to the thriving union stockyards and the central manufacturing district. Abundant back-breaking work was available for everyone hardy or foolish enough to partake in this new American way of life. Saloons on every corner took the edge off the drudgery. Newly built churches and schools catered to your ethnic origin, gave you community.
“It’s the only way I know how to make a living. Selling hot dogs.”