In the airy hall of the South Shore Cultural Center (SSCC), the audience screamed with excitement when former president Barack Obama walked in with the first renderings of the planned Obama Presidential Center (OPC) in Jackson Park on May 3. The OPC is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for investment in the South Side—and the audience had reason to be excited, as the former president, with his usual charisma, introduced a “transformational” plan that’s supposed to revitalize the nearby neighborhoods with employment, training, and business opportunities.
On February 16, during the 3rd Ward town hall meeting at the KLEO Center just west of Washington Park, Pastor Torrey Barrett and Dr. Carol Adams announced their plan for a new organization representing Woodlawn, Washington Park, and South Shore. The organization will look to ensure that three communities affected by the upcoming construction of the Obama Presidential Library in Jackson Park have their concerns heard and interests met. It’s still in the phase of what Adams called “early community engagement,” and hopes to open the application for board seats within the next two or three weeks. “WoWaSo,” as it’s been informally named, wants to consolidate existing scattered neighborhood plans and push for a more comprehensive agenda regarding the Obama Library, but there are doubts and concerns about how fair this consolidation will turn out to be.
The fragrance of scented candles swirled out when the door opened. Inside, Kenya Renee, the owner of Absolutely Anything Essential, welcomed customers with a gold-lipstick smile.
The fifth annual round of festivities for EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, drew to a close on September 25. This year, the art festival hosted work from 145 galleries from around the world, with participants from twenty-two countries and fifty-five cities, and presented the creations of more than 3000 artists. According to the organizers, approximately 38,000 visitors came to Navy Pier to celebrate this yearly art week.
On August 12, at the chapel of Gifts from God Ministry (GFGM) in Englewood, twenty young adults sang and danced to James Brown’s 1968 hit “Say it Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud.” Holding in their hands Future Business Certificates issued by the church, they celebrated their graduation from a six-week entrepreneurial experience program designed to show them the ins and outs of running a black business.