A community like this—there’s no condos here—most of the houses don’t have in-unit washers and dryers, so folks are forced to use laundromat facilities. We think that this laundromat focuses on a really underserved niche—low-income, working-class folks. Clean clothes [are] a right, in our opinion. You can go without a lot of things, but everyone is entitled to clean underwear. You shouldn’t have to go to a rat-infested hole in the wall to clean your clothes. This is thought of as a safe place in a very dangerous neighborhood.
According to recent reporting by DNAInfo, 15th Ward Alderman Raymond Lopez has proposed using around $400,000 from the ward’s infrastructure budget to install traffic circles and speed bumps in Back of the Yards (particularly in the area around Davis Square Park) in an effort to combat crime. The idea, according to Lopez, is that putting speed bumps and traffic circles on intersections around major parks will “restrict the amount of traffic coming into the [park] area,” “a definite deterrent to those gang members accustomed to driving in, shooting and speeding out.”
I’m sixty-eight years old, but I really feel like I’m nineteen. I really try to stay busy. I love what I do, and the reason why I love what I do is because that’s what God wants me to do. Here, 139 years old, the church is. Really, we’re well-known for all the years we’ve been here. St. Gabriel’s is the same.
Let the name be a clue—more than anything, this community, alternately known as New City, is and has always been defined by its proximity to what is perhaps Chicago’s most storied industry: the stockyards.The area was put on the map in 1865, when the Union Stockyard was established in what was then land outside city limits. Continue reading
Tucked between a law office and a weight loss clinic (“hasta 20 libras al mes”) on 26th Street in Little Village is a church and a quiet hotbed of social change. A broad white sign, in prim red lettering, announces this as the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission. A blue awning stands watch over the window and the door; its lack of words is all that distinguishes the mission from the litany of other storefronts on the street. Continue reading
PLANT CHICAGO, NFP/RACHEL SWENIE. Mayor Rahm Emanuel tours the growing system at The Plant, an urban agriculture organization in Back of the Yards.
We believe that if you have a whole system problem, only a whole system solution can transform it,” announced Naomi Davis, founder and president of the grassroots community development organization Blacks in Green, to an auditorium full of Chicago Humanities Festival patrons on Sunday afternoon. Continue reading
To talk about Garfield and Peoria is to talk about St. Basil–Visitation parish. Its two landmarks face one another on either side of Garfield Boulevard: Visitation Catholic School and St. Basil’s Church, with Peoria running in between. Today, the church and school communities are both small but vibrant; Father Hernán Moran-Rosero of St. Basil’s speaks fondly of Visitation’s annual Christmas concert, which is held at the church each year and marks a rare instance when the pews are filled. Just a few decades ago, empty seats at St. Basil’s would have been unthinkable, as would a Latino reverend. Continue reading
Reminiscent of green lawns and warm summer evenings, the name “Back of the Yards” might evoke the image of a quaint small-town neighborhood. Rather than neatly-trimmed backyards, however, the neighborhood gets its name from a much grittier—and gorier—history. Continue reading