While scrolling through Instagram over the weekend I happened upon a post by @greatestgifters. According to their bio, they are a gratitude journal you write for one person as a gift. Their tagline says: “Take your daily gratitude practice to the next level.” This weekend’s post showed four Black people wearing yellow safety vests doing what looked like street sanitation work on what looked like a quiet tree-lined street. The caption read: “In Albuquerque, a city worker drives around asking the homeless if they want to work for the day. If they say yes, they work five hours a day for $9 hour and after are taken to a health center where they are offered food, shelter and other services.” The caption read: “Sounds like a win-win solution.”
Last August, construction started on the Jeanne Gang-designed, Chinese-funded downtown skyscraper Wanda Vista, which will be the third-tallest building in Chicago when it is completed. The building has been heavily promoted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration, but for some, it has become a symbol for the divisive effects of globalization on local economies once reliant on now-outsourced jobs, from manufacturing and engineering, to tech support and reading x-rays.
Update (2/7/17): Today the Senate voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as the 11th Secretary of Education. In a rare maneuver, Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote after the Senate deadlocked at 50-50.
It was January 10. I turned off the Obama Farewell speech at its conclusion in my hometown, feeling dejected and uninspired. As an Obama supporter, I expected insights and inspiration to deal with the next four—and hopefully not eight—years. But the Obama farewell speech came off not as the call to action he promised but a history lecture without a reasonable, unifying message from a person with privileged opportunities.
My head was spinning at 12:30am when I knew the unexpected would happen. The last thing I typed before I went to bed around 2am was the first thing I would say to my eleven-year-old son and my eight-year-old daughter when they awoke:
As I begin my twenty-first year as an educator, I can honestly say I’ve never before felt the need to defend my profession as I have the last few years. When I started teaching at 22, I got lots of praise for choosing this career. But these days, I’m always on the defensive against so many people who have a negative view of teachers in Chicago Public Schools.
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.”
Fred Castillo knows that when a man walks out of a barbershop, “most of the time, you feel like a million bucks.” While Fred feels proud of his work, he also sees that it’s about more than cutting hair. “It’s about building a friendship,” Fred explains. “At the barbershop, you develop a bond with the person you see every couple of weeks.”
The creator of the Soulful Chicago Book Fair, Asadah Kirkland, is a go-getter extraordinaire. A New York transplant, Kirkland’s always worked in the literary world, from managing a bookstore to writing, but the idea for the fair began with a random conversation at a café she frequents. Local entrepreneurs were discussing putting together a book fair in Woodlawn, a community not known for culture. Kirkland decided she would take the conversation from idea to reality and created the Soulful Chicago Book Fair, which will be held Saturday, July 16 on 61st Street between Cottage Grove Avenue and King Drive.