Bianca Betancourt, founder and editor-in-chief of CIRCUS Magazine, sits in the magazine’s 18th Street storefront. A neon CIRCUS logo casts her curls in electric blue light while Cherokee, her eight-year-old German Shepherd, greets passersby with howls.
I feel that one of the great miracles in recent journalism, if I may, is that that swagger and freedom that the Reader represented when it was flush with cash has somehow survived to one degree or another through all these difficult financial times. It’s easy to be on top of the world, cocky and cool, when you’re rolling in the dough, but when you’re struggling…if you still maintain that sense of mission, it is really impressive.
South Side Weekly Stage & Screen Editor Nicole Bond recently had a chat with children’s author Senyah Haynes. Haynes is the Founder and Executive Director of Diasporal Discoveries, a nonprofit that connects youth to the history and culture of the African diaspora. In this conversation, what started out as two old friends catching up over coffee turned into a discussion about the role and responsibility of literature to its youngest audience.
Carol Moseley Braun was the first African-American woman appointed to the Senate, representing Illinois as a Democrat from 1993 to 1999. After a thirty-year career in politics and public service, serving, among other positions, as the Ambassador to New Zealand, Moseley Braun turned to the private sector. She founded her own USDA-certified organic and biodynamic company called Good Food Organics in 2002 and under its umbrella sells Ambassador Organics, a line of food products which currently includes teas, coffee, cocoa, and olive oil. Biodynamics is a holistic agricultural approach that involves crop diversification, the maintenance of on-farm biodiversity preserves such as marshes and forests, and the avoidance of chemicals and off-farm products. For Moseley Braun, biodynamics is a way “to heal our bodies and our farmland.” She grew up between Bronzeville, Park Manor, and Chatham, and currently resides in Hyde Park.
Lee Hogan grew up in Sledge, Mississippi, graduating from Quitman County High in 1962. She came to Chicago that winter and began waiting tables. She has owned and operated her own restaurant, Miss Lee’s Good Food, in Washington Park for the last eighteen years.
In this, the Weekly’s third annual Interview Issue, you’ll find five long, thoughtful interviews with artists, motivators, and city leaders.
I grew up in Chicago; in my earliest years I grew up around Humboldt Park. It’s really funny, people ask me how did I come to work wherever it was—West Side, South Side. I was one of two Anglo kids in my school, so when people ask me about why I choose to work with diverse populations or whatever bizarre verbiage or politically correct verbiage du jour that there is floating around, I’m never sure how to really put that forward. The reality is I work with people that I grew up with, that are really to me the primary comfortable real everyday people. I guess as a white woman I’ve noticed people put this frame on me of, “Well, you’re this person working here, this is not the same.”
Fred Evans is a swim coach at South Shore International College Prep, a selective enrollment school located on 75th and Jeffery. He has coached swimming in Chicago for over forty years, starting at Chicago State in 1974 and then moving on to Chicago South Swim Club, the first integrated swim team in the city. Before he was a coach, he swam at the collegiate level, where he became the first African American national swimming champion in the United States. His daughter Ajá Evans was an Olympic bobsledder and his son Frederick Evans III played in the NFL for nine years.