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West Side tour covers communities of North Lawndale, Austin, West Garfield Park and East Garfield Park

(CHICAGO) – July 5, 2018 –Mayoral candidate Dorothy Brown will host her third “Listening Tour” event on the West side of Chicago on July 10th at  United For Better Living, 4540 W. Washington Blvd.  As with her past two events the afternoon will begin at 4:00 pm with a walk through the neighborhood to introduce herself to the community and invite them to attend the session.   The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and cover the Westside communities of North Lawndale, Austin, West Garfield Park, East Garfield Park.

Recent news reports have outlined struggles facing some West Side residents including an inordinate number of deaths from opioid overdoses as reported by WBEZ.  According to the report  since 2015, 10 people have fatally overdosed at the JR Plaza Hotel, according to city data.  Also, on the agenda, as it has been in some previous meetings, is the issue of violence in the community, employment, housing  and economic development.  Candidate Brown has spoken out against the current implementation of the city’s Affordable Residence Ordinance (ARO) and expects to hear more about that at the meeting.

As during past events, the candidate will share her personal story of growing up in a rural and impoverished  environment in the state of Louisiana to eventually leading one of the largest county governmental court records system in the country.   The resounding theme of Brown’s campaign is to be the mayor for all of Chicago.

The ‘Listening Tours’ will continue through the summer with the next event scheduled for July 17th,  at Saint Luke Church of God in Christ, 914 N. Orleans Street, to hear from residents on the Near Northside, the Loop, North Center, Lake View, Logan Square, Lincoln Park, and Avondale.  Brown will also walk around these communities, starting at 4 p.m., and invite people to attend the session.

For those who cannot attend in person, you can visit to share your thoughts.  A full “Listening Tour” schedule is included on the website.

For more information on Dorothy Brown’s campaign, visit her website at You can also follow the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, @dorothyformayor.  Join the conversation using #Hope4AllChicago, #ListeningTour. You may also contribute to the campaign using Text2Give – ChicagoHope to 444999.


HUD/CHA residents benefit from new Section 3 resident initiatives

Hood Construction, Inc and Community Section 3 Construction benefit from CHA’s JOC Program

Hood Construction, Inc. is owned by Dennis Hood, a current Chicago Housing Authority, (CHA) resident and Community Section 3 Construction is owned by Paul McKinley, both have successfully advocated for, and now participating in jobs and contracts for CHA residents under the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 3 program.

Hood Construction, Inc. and Community Section 3 Construction are listed among the 103 companies in the Job Order Contracting (JOC) program. The goal of the JOC program is to foster a partnering atmosphere by increasing Section 3 Business Concern participation and providing the opportunity to perform progressively complex and higher valued projects. Contractors are expected to consistently perform at a high level of performance quality on all assigned projects, according to CHA. For more information on the JOC program go to

With steel toe boots and hard hat, North Lawndale Community News (NLCN) went to the job site of the two subcontractors, Hood and McKinley at the Julia C. Lathrop Homes Redevelopment project at 2900 N. Leavitt to see the contractors and their workers performance. They were in the middle of a gut rehab of several buildings of the Lathrop Homes subcontracted under Land Lease and Related Midwest.
Situated between the Bucktown and Roscoe Village neighborhoods, Lathrop is a 34-acre site bordered by the Chicago River, Diversey Parkway, and Clybourn and Damen streets. The redeveloped Lathrop will be a mixed-income, mixed-use community that will include public, affordable and market-rate housing along with significant green and open space.

HUD’s Section 3 program was first initiated in 1968 by Congress under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Section 3 is a way by which HUD fosters local economic development, neighborhood economic improvement, and individual self-sufficiency. It’s the legal basis for providing jobs for residents and awarding contracts to businesses in areas receiving certain types of HUD financial assistance. Under Section 3 of the HUD Act of 1968, wherever HUD financial assistance is expended for housing or community development, to the greatest extent feasible, economic opportunities will be given to Section 3 residents and businesses in that area, according to HUD’s website.

This legal Act has been largely ignored for decades, retarding or killing the economic opportunities that it was designed to produce until many others like Dennis Hood, Paul McKinley, Mark Carter and Grady Norwood protested and debated for improvement, change, and actual realization of the promises of Section 3. See 45 second video at ( Mr. Hood also secured support from Congressman Danny Davis (7th District) and James Hill, Public Service Administrator at Illinois Secretary of State.

The Lathrop Homes was the first project built in Chicago. It was started in 1937 and completed in 1938. Since then, the project has deteriorated greatly and needed renovation to the extent that some units were uninhabitable (See view from the inside video at (
With expenditures reaching over 1,162 billion U.S. dollars, the United States is the one of the largest construction markets worldwide. The local construction industry has shifted into a higher gear as new residential towers keep coming out of the ground. Construction firms have been on track with an estimated $14.3 billion in residential and commercial projects in the Chicago area.

James Hill outside of his normal work hours for the State of Illinois Department of Human Services – was instrumental in helping Dennis Hood in developing his back office or financial side the of his company without pay.

Mr. Hill has a background in he as BA in Economics in Business from Morehouse College. He is also an entrepreneur and has worked for the Mayor’s office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Along with being the President of the National Black Agenda Consortium.

Part of his passion is economic and job development in the African-American Community. “With hood starting his own CHA resident owned company to go in the construction area, I thought it was just a real opportunity for the community as a whole for Hood in Job development and to see that its successful was very important to me. That is why I do whatever I can in terms of helping to advise and to keep him on the straight and narrow,” said Hill.

Eugene Jones Jr. , the CEO of CHA has  been instrumental in the success of the JOC program. Based on his living in CHA for sixty years as resident Dennis Hood stated, “Eugene Jones is the best I have ever seen.” Jones is directly responsible for implementing CHA’s extensive redevelopment program. “Eugene took CHA in a new direction so that it would not be under the probation and cloud of confusion that it once was. He opened up the process of which now the whole nation is watching,” said Paul McKinley.

Dennis Hood was also passionate about how Don Biernacki was vital in their success. Don is Senior Vice-President of Construction at Related Midwest. Over the past four years, Related Midwest has awarded more than $61 million in contracts to small and local businesses ranging from landscaping to fencing to general construction. In addition to contracting with new and local minority and women-owned businesses, Related Midwest also provides mentorship, business support and training to community entrepreneurs, according to Chicago Construction News.

Mr. Hood and Paul McKinley keep their focus on making sure their construction business is a success. They are assisted by their foremen and staff. With the success of projects like the Lathrop Homes, the JOC program will continue to produce opportunities.

Former NLCP Basketball Player Martrell Barnes Makes the Right Move

By Todd Thomas

Making the right move after high school is difficult for many prep athletes, but former North Lawndale College Prep basketball player Martrell Barnes appears to have made an excellent decision when he chose to attend Triton College, a NJCAA Division II basketball powerhouse, with a tidy mid-sized campus in River Grove, IL.

Barnes, a tenacious a six-foot three-inch guard, with a knack for rebounding and defense, has made a nice transition from the Phoenix to Triton, where he’s seen significant playing time, and contributed a lot to the Titan’s 20-3 record.

Several of Barnes’ senior teammates from NLCP chose to attend colleges across the country, but he decided to stay in the Chicago area to begin his collegiate career. “I considered going away to school, but I wanted to put myself in the best position to succeed, whether it was here or away,” Barnes said. “Here at Triton we are 20-3. We get a lot of attention, and it’s a good program, with a fun and cool coach.”

The fun and cool coach is head coach Steve Christiansen. The veteran coach has fourteen years’ experience coaching and recruiting for the Titans, and said he’s been interested in Barnes for several years. “I first watched him play as a junior and he hit a game winner against Farragut. Then I saw him get 18 rebounds in another game. Martrell showed a real will to get to the ball, and I got a feeling that this was a Triton type of player – a guy with some grit,” Christiansen said.

Barnes’ freshman season hasn’t been spectacular, but he has been efficient, and consistent. He’s averaging 7.3 points-per-game, with a solid 56 percent field goal percentage. In addition, he’s averaging 47 percent from 3-point range to go along with four rebounds per game. With a look toward the upcoming playoffs, Coach Christiansen sees Barnes playing a big role.

“He’s one of our key guys. It’s not about who starts, but who finishes, and Martrell is willing to defend – he’s willing to take a charge, and he’s willing to go get an offensive rebound. Those things add up to winning plays,” he said.

Barnes attributes a lot of his success on the court to things he learned at NLCP under coach Lewis Thorpe. “He taught me that there’s no secret to being good, and it’s all about hard work. He stresses defense, and that helped me at the college level,” Barnes said.

He also said coach Thorpe kept him motivated after a difficult season-ending loss against Fenwick in the state playoffs. A loss that ended his high school basketball career.  “Coach Thorpe said the main goal is to make it to the next level. No matter where you play you’ve made it to the next level – that helped me get over the loss.”

But Barnes’s is a fierce competitor and he still feels the sting of that defeat. “It hurt because I knew there was no more high school basketball. I knew I would miss it, but Coach Thorpe always told us that you have to face reality. But I can say that I gave it may all, and that’s all you can do. You name it, I try to bring it every game,” Barnes said.

Another thing from high school that stays with him is the chant of “Red Red”, which is a cheer shouted loudly by the team and the fans at Phoenix games to step up the defensive pressure on opponents. He even mentally drifted back to those days during a Triton game.

“A couple of times here at Triton I made a mistake and shouted out Red, still thinking I was at North Lawndale. That stuck with me – I’ll never forget Red. It means don’t let your man touch the ball, and if you do you might end up on the bench, Barnes said.” One thing he does not miss, is the relentless violence on the west side streets where he lived while at North Lawndale. Currently he lives with several of his Triton teammates in a house in nearby Addison, IL. “You don’t hear what you would hear out west, like gunshots,” Barnes said. “That’s real big to me, and it feels good to walk to the store and not have to look over your shoulder.”

Headed into the basketball playoffs and with the spring semester in full swing, Barnes said he feels good about where he’s at in life. “I’m really happy I chose Triton. I passed all my classes. Coach gave me all the help I need, and there’s a brotherhood with my teammates – they’re like family, and I Like to feel comfortable. It feels like I’m at North Lawndale all over again.”

NAACP presents 2nd District Cook County Commissioner Candidate Forum