When we fight, we win. So, let’s go and fight!” said Doug Bishop, opening an October meeting of Indivisible South Side at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago. He was followed by a presentation by Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) on the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) for the Obama Presidential Center, reports from Indivisible’s working groups, and pitches by four candidates running for office: Rich Eichols, for U.S. Congress in the 8th district of Michigan; Joshua Grey, for Cook County Commissioner in the 3rd District; Fritz Kaegi, for Cook County Assessor; and Sharon Fairley, for Illinois Attorney General.
In early 2007, New Haven was the first city in the United States to issue municipal ID cards as part of an attempt to make its immigrant residents safer. Among many functions, the IDs allowed immigrants to open bank accounts and stop carrying cash, which was the target of many street robberies and home invasions. The IDs also encouraged immigrants who were crime victims to come forward, because immigrants knew they would be taken more seriously once they possessed official identification.
On October 11, a study of twelve predominantly Latinx community areas in Chicago was published by the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP) and the Great Cities Institute, research centers affiliated with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). “The Latino Neighborhoods Report” examines income levels, employment opportunities, homeownership rates, and health insurance coverage in each of the twelve community areas; most notably, it finds that education rates among Chicago’s Latinx communities lag well behind their Black and white counterparts.
The 1963 Boycott of Chicago Public Schools was a pivotal moment in the history of education and racial justice, not only in Chicago, but in the whole country…I’ll repeat that again.” Then even more slowly and emphatically, Jay Travis, former Executive Director of Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, repeated the statement.
I spent 2016 researching Chicago’s police-in-schools program. I sought to understand the accountability system that allowed a police officer serving in a high school to return to his post only days after fatally shooting an unarmed teenager.
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.
On Saturday, October 14, rain poured down in torrents, the air cold and dark. It was one of the first chilly, rainy days after two weeks of unusually warm early October weather. Yet dozens of people made it through the storm to the DuSable Museum of African American History for EXPO CHICAGO’s panel conversation introducing the design team behind the Obama Presidential Center (OPC). In a shift from the typically fraught conversations about the OPC’s economic and local community impact, the panel instead focused on illustrating the design process behind the OPC, and discussing its role as an innovative social and cultural institution.
A year ago, Marie Newman was a nonprofit executive, a mother, and a successful business owner. Now, she is also candidate for the United States House of Representatives. She sat across from me at a downtown Starbucks facing Trump Tower which, on this afternoon, is glistening in the sun. With only a short time to talk before she had a speaking engagement, I asked her how she got to this point and where she wants to go from here.
For nearly a year, Lee Bey and I were neighbors in Pullman, living a few doors down from each other on the same stretch of workers’ cottages on St. Lawrence Avenue. We did not know each other at the time—except, of course, in the way that we all learn to recognize our unnamed neighbors with curiosity, apprehension, fondness brewed from familiarity. I can say that we definitely must have brushed elbows, standing on the 115th Street platform awaiting the forever-late inbound train; he can recall how he one day passed Cottage Grove Avenue to see me setting up the Pullman Free Library in the corner storefront. It was only after I moved out of Chicago altogether that we became Facebook friends and pieced together our neighborly past.
The summer of 1943 witnessed a remarkable collective mobilization: Chicagoans produced more than 55,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in nearly 175,000 Victory Gardens, small plots of land started by citizens to mobilize food production during World War I and II.