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Covid-19 Rising again in Chicago and Illinois

Illinois Covid rate at 5.7% Chicago 14.9%, while Zip Code 60623 is at 22.3%

Chicago and the virus has started to spike again. Even though Covid-19 has restricted and minimized the freedoms of many Americans there are many who do not take the spread of the virus seriously and don’t abide by the restrictions.
Governor Pritzker has put into place new levels of restrictions because of the sprike and Mayor Lightfoot has promised more if improvement is not realized.
In the last 7 days Illinois has had 44 deaths and of that 44, Cook County had reported 9 people die because of Covid-19: 1 male 40s, 1 male 50s, 3 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 2 females 90s, and 1 male 90s. The total number cases in Illinois reached 360,159 deaths came to 9,387.
The City of Chicago as of the October 21 reported 91589 cases and 3,022 death. The positivity rate is now at 14.9% as of Oct. 17. What is alarming is zip codes such as 60632 is at 27.9 % positive, 60629 at 27.5%, 60638 at 26%and 60623 is at 22.3%, according to the city’s Dept of Health. These are the highest in the City of Chicago.

Student Athlete Alexis Haywood

By Todd Thomas

Alexis Haywood, a sophomore point guard for the Truman Community College women’s basketball team and a graduate of North Lawndale College Prep High School recently sat down with the North Lawndale Community Newspaper to discuss her basketball career and academic goals as she works toward her associates degree, and pursues her goal of playing basketball at a four-year university amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

NLCN: After playing basketball at North Lawndale College Prep (NLCP) why did you want to continue playing on the collegiate level?

Alexis: I want to be a pro and I love the game, so I started to take basketball more seriously in high school. And watching my brother Carlos (Carlos Hines, also a NLCP graduate plays at Northern Arizona University) and my role models in the WNBA and NBA made me want to keep getting better, so college was the next step for me.

NLCN: What about your relationship with the late North Lawndale head coach Lewis Thorpe?

Alexis: I wrote a paper once and coach Thorpe called me into his office and told me he was going to put it in the school newspaper – that was my first time meeting him and he asked me if I played basketball, and I said yeah. After that he became like a godfather to me. My relationship with him was smooth and he was my motivation. I wish I could have one more conversion with him, but the last conversation we had he told me to not give up and to keep hooping, because there were times I wanted to quit playing basketball. But once he passed away I promised to keep my word and keep pushing for him.

NLCN: What was your experience as a basketball player and student at North Lawndale?

Alexis: It was a good environment despite what was going on at times in and around the school. We were like a family and I want to go back sometimes. The energy is good there and you have a great support system. They’re not going to let you down and I felt like they were leading me to better things. The coaches stayed on me, but it was tough love and it was a good experience to play for them. But I played on junior varsity first and the competition wasn’t as good as varsity. Varsity is tougher and more intense, and I needed the experience going up against teams like Marshall on the varsity level.

NLCN: Why did you choose to attend Truman Community College?

Alexis: I was at Kennedy King first, but it didn’t work out over there with me and some of the coaches, so I contacted coach Glover at Truman. At first me and my mom were concerned about transportation because I live far away and she didn’t have a car. But coach Glover said the Red Line drops you off right in front of the school so I was like boom – alright I’m ready to go, and started the transfer process from Kennedy King to Truman. Now I like it over here. Coach Glover is one of my biggest supporters and he motivates me as well. I wish this was a four-year college.

NLCN: What was the 2019-20 season like for the Falcons?
Alexis: We went through a lot this season. We started with a full team and ended up with five girls. I’m proud of what we did. We played through injuries and played through it as a family. We did what we could with five girls, and our record could have been better, but we’ll take it. I love my teammates and we did what we could. We stuck together and we have a great relationship.

NLCN: What are some of the challenges of both studying and playing sports?

Alexis: There is a lot of responsibility. You have to focus on academics and once you’re done with that you’ve got to refocus and think about your sports. It’s a lot of pressure but having the support from my teachers and my coaches and my teammates gets you through it. It doesn’t stress me out that much but it is a big responsibility. But if I was a regular student it would be boring. When you have a sport that you love that’s what makes you want to come to school more – that’s what motivates you to get good grades so you can keep playing.

NLCN: Tell me about the change to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Alexis: Taking online classes is sometimes easier as far as being able to use your notes, especially if you have the resources you need. But it’s not good in terms of physically communicating with your teacher. It was better to be online for the most part and at the end of the spring semester we only had a few weeks of e-learning, so it wasn’t that bad finishing the semester online. But when you’re at home you do have to focus more because you want to watch TV, and you want to go out so basically it comes down to discipline.

NLCN: The gym and fitness center at Truman were also closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, how did that affect you?

Alexis: It hit hard because we had been in the gym for the whole season – it was difficult to deal with. When you’re an athlete you want to be in that environment, you want to put in the work and you want to be in the gym. Right after everything closed down all the gyms were closed so I just worked out at home doing whatever I could do. Just working on my body and not playing basketball.

NLCN: There is a real possibility that there won’t be a basketball season for 2020-2021. Are you prepared for that?

Alexis: I was hesitant to stay at Truman when I first found out we weren’t going to have a season. I was already doing bad in some of my classes with basketball, and now without basketball what will happen when I don’t have basketball to motivate me to want to keep up my grades. But after talking to coach Glover and AD Green they encouraged me to stay. They said that since I don’t have basketball I can really focus on my grades and possibly get into a good school that I’m interested in. So I decided that I might as well finish because I want to graduate and go to a university.

NLCN: Are you concerned about staying motivated through the school year without basketball?

Alexis: It’s going to be hard, but all I can do is try. My coaches and AD are there for me, so I think I’m going to be good. I don’t see coach every day like I did but talking over the phone still helps – it doesn’t matter if it’s on the phone or in person. Just to know that you have your coaches there to talk to is all that matters. But it is difficult sometimes because before the pandemic I was at school or in the gym in a good environment. But now I’m just at home and there are so many negative activities going on around me. I just have to discipline myself to stay positive and stay focused on my goals, and not give in to what goes on around me.

Virtual Census Rally Ad

The March on Washington

By: Ms. Chevette M. Conley
Writer/ Photojournalist

On August 28 thousands mobilized in Washington D.C. on the grounds of The Historic Lincoln Memorial for a much anticipated historic march. It marked the 57th Anniversary of the march on Washington that took place in 1963 headed by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King JR. 

Where he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Congressman John Lewis was also a major speaker at that famed event.

The march on August 28th was organized by activist Rev. Al Sharpton, the Action Network, and Martin Luther King Jr. III. The Event was held to remind and urge politicians to enact bills to stop murders by racist cops, no Choke Holds, no knees on necks, no shooting just to be shooting black people. It was held to fight for the injustices against black and brown people, lack of fair housing and home ownership, inadequate health care, jobs, mass incarceration, lack of contracts for minority businesses, poor funding for community schools, and lack of good jobs. Injustices that have to be changed!” 

“People came from all over the country to be a part of this history making moment and movement.!” The Rev. AL Sharpton announced the event’s schedule at George Floyd’s Funeral Services. George Floyd was murdered by a white cop in Minnesota, who kneeled on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds as he begged for his life, and called out to his mom until he died which was recorded live on video.

The tragic event started protests and riots all over the country. People of all races were saddened and very angry, at the same time. It also started a movement to get justice for Floyd and all of the black and brown people who have died unjustly at the hands and guns of police.

People began forming organized groups to voice their anger about the injustices against black and brown people!” 

There were a lot of References to the statement that was first belted out by Rev. Al Sharpton at George Floyd’s Funeral,” Get your knee off our necks!”, “I can’t breathe!”  Which was Eric Garner’s last words as he was put in a choke hold by a white cop and died. Then Sharpton shouted “Black Lives Matter!”

There were many at this March. The speakers seemed endless. The Event started 7am when the Organizers began setting this in motion , “Al Sharpton even did his own Walk through… to make sure everything was set up to his satisfaction, and safe for the Event goers.

There was a live Band. They kept the crowd entertained. People were singing along with them and some were dancing. All of the Speakers spoke with such Passion & Power. Some. spoke with much sadness over the deaths but, many spoke with Anger!” They made statements like “I’m tired!” Tired of hearing so many new names and hash tags to this list of people who’ve died at the hands of these racist white cops!”

George Floyd’s brother tried to speak on his behalf but, was overwhelmed and couldn’t continue, therefore; his sister Bridget Floyd spoke. She reminded the crowd in her words, “We have to be that voice.” Because George couldn’t be a voice this day. She also said, “We have to be that change.”

Yolanda Renee King the granddaughter of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was amazing. She gave a Powerful Speech it was something to behold!” She let everyone know that her generation was going to make her grandfather’s dream a reality!” This was the same spot Dr. King gave his ” I have a Dream” Speech!”

The crowd loved her!” They cheered, and yelled and clapped… with much approval!” There were many mothers and family members of murder victims who spoke: Jacob Blake Sr. spoke out in anger about his son being shot in the back seven times!” by a white cop in Kenosha, Wisconsin. This took place just 2 weeks before and his son asked him why did they shoot him so many times?” He told him, “Baby, they weren’t supposed to shoot you at all. Jacob Blake Sr. told everyone in the crowd that they had to hold court right now! America was Guilty! Guilty of racism! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!” 

People began speaking with so much emotion that it brought tears to the eyes of some in the crowd. The mother of Marquise Alston spoke on his behalf. He was 22 when killed by Washington D.C. police in 2018. 

Anthony Benjamin Crump, a lawyer, who represents many of the families, addressed the crowd. Rep. Sheila Jackson from Texas, Democratic National Chairman Tom Perez, Rep. Charles Booker, a video speech from Vice President hopeful, Kamala Harris, and Cong. Ayanna Pressley, who talked about those who fought for, and are fighting for justice. The organizers, and those building up the communities.  There was also a powerful moving speech from Dr. Jamal Bryant, Minister of New Birth Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.  Ahmaud Arbery ‘s mom spoke. Howard University student Government Association President, clergy members, and many Activists, also. Porsche Taylor spoke, she was there with many women bike riders who came across the country to march. There were singers; George Clinton, Bebe Winans and others.

Breanna Taylor was shot by police who raided her house in Louisville, Kentucky!” They didn’t even knock!” They shot her numerous times. Her mother Tamika Palmer urged everyone to stand together. She said., “We need change!” She stated to the crowd ” We have to vote!”

Martin Luther King Jr., III gave a long speech. He talked about the injustices of this country to black people, the things his father fought for, and how he was a victim also. He was only 10 when his father was murdered. His grandmother was murdered coming from church!” Then, the urgency for us to do the work!” Not just the march, but organizations to get the vote out, build up your neighborhood. Get involved to make the change. Be the change. We have to do this ourselves.

Rev. Al Sharpton gave a crowd arousing movement ready, fiery speech! Al Sharpton reminded the crowd what has taken place with all of these Racist killings. That we have to make them stop killing us! “We have to get into some good trouble!,” like John Lewis stated.

Al Sharpton asked everyone, “Would your future generations remember you for your complacency, your inaction? or would they remember you for your leadership, your passion for weeding out the injustices and evil in the world? “After he spoke he recognized many others that were there to represent their Loved ones, who were Murdered. Sadly, there were too many, to have them all speak. The Event had run longer than expected!” It was time to March!’ 

“The March was Beautiful! Everyone seemed to be enjoying the moment,…and Excited to be a part of this Historic Event!” The sun was beautiful and Blazing Hot!” The temperature was 98 degrees and about 103 with the heat index. But, it didn’t stop anyone…who wanted to be apart of this Historic Movement!’ People were everywhere. They filled the Lincoln Memorial and the Park to Capacity and beyond.They ventured from all across the Country. A group even walked 84 miles to get there,.. wearing the same clothes on their backs!” It was a beautiful, moving, sight to see!”

After the March AL Sharpton went on stage that was set up at the end if the March. He thanked everyone fir Participating and prayed and gave a Benediction for everyone to be safe returning to their destinations.

 But’ many people hung around to keep the momentum going, and even started other marches afterwards.

The Movement will continue.”But, let’s do the work and get the Murders to STOP!!”

Congressman Davis Racial Gap in Economic Mobility

Asphalt Pavers

When asked about the racial gap in economic mobility in Chicago, Congressman Davis responded, “there isn’t just a gap there is a chasm” indicating that it is deep and more than what is seen on the surface. “You hardly ever see any black people at construction sites. Sometimes I will see somebody who’s a flagger. But we really weren’t just dealing with observation., We were dealing with numbers generated by the US Department of Labor.
Chicago has the widest racial gap in economic mobility according to Harvard economist Raj Chetty. Chetty and his colleagues produced an Opportunity Atlas using census data and income tax returns to measure the economic mobility of Americans across time and over selectable parts of the country. Chetty in an interview with WBEZ, stated “the city has the biggest gap in terms of rates of upward mobility for black men growing up in low-income families relative to white men growing up in low-income families…..that gap is the biggest gap of the 50 largest cities in America. He also states that the reason is very poor opportunities in terms of schools, high crime and more broadly a lack of access to mentoring and social capital networks that might help you rise up.
The Chicago Black United communities and the Black Independent Political Organization came to Cong Davis to champion the issue. Davis several years ago had a task force that focused on black contractors and jobs in the industry, but stated Davis with budget cuts, he had to cut staff which populated many of his task forces that were in place..
Davis also mentioned, “that if you are not trained you can’t end up working in the building trades…except as a laborer. So many need to be in a pre-apprenticeship program or an apprenticeship program, Then of course you become a journeyman, then fully certified…. These are great jobx. Many of them make more money than school teachers, lawyers, doctors, social workers, and getting the training or getting hired, the unions dominate this total area of work. We’re talking about more than 60 trades.
Finding an African American in those trades is like finding a needle in a haystack. You can find more doctors than you can find in some of those trades. Asphalt-paving machine operators and boiler operators are usually 100% white people.

Residents, Church protest Planned Cannabis Facility

Ms. Delores Thompson, a resident who lives on the 900 S Keeker block, received a letter from Attorney Thomas R Raines representing the owner of the property located at 917-927 S. Keeler Ave. NLCN did make attempts to reach Atty. Raines for comment and left messages with his staff.

The letter states that they are required by law to notify property owners within 250 ft of the property that they are trying to get rezoned. The current zoning of the property is zoned as 17-5-0102 M1, Limited Manufacturing/Business Park District. The primary purpose of the M1, Limited Manufacturing/Business Park district is to accommodate low-impact manufacturing, wholesaling, warehousing and distribution activities that occur within enclosed buildings. The district is intended to promote high- quality new development and reuse of older industrial buildings.

The owner MJA Chicago, LLC is trying to get it rezoned as 17-5-0103 M2, Light Industry District. The primary purpose of the M2, Light Industry district is to accommodate moderate-impact manufacturing, wholesaling, warehousing and distribution uses, including storage and work-related activities that occur outside of enclosed buildings. The M2 district is generally intended to accommodate more land-intensive industrial activities than the M1 district, according to the Chicago Zoning and Land Use Ordinance.

24th Ward Ald. Michael Scott stated, “unless there is community approval, it won’t happen.”

Representatives speaking on behalf of residents were Ms. Delores Thompson, Ms. Cynthia Sanders,Sandra Spellman and for the church Pastor Angela Spivey, and Deacon Harvey Russell.
For more on this story with photos and video go to our website www.nlcn.org

Forty Acres Fresh Market

By Todd Thomas

Having a healthy diet can be challenging for anyone, and the challenge is even harder for people living in some of the low-income and often undeserved areas of Chicagoland where grocery stores and produce markets are few and far between.

Healthy food advocates have attempted to address the issue in recent years, but many Chicagoans on the West and South sides of the city still live in food deserts and could benefit from a quality source of affordable and healthy groceries.

One company that could fill the void is Forty Acres Fresh Market. The company started a little over two years ago and operated pop-up markets in the Austin community, while also delivering produce boxes throughout the Chicago area. The plan was to open a permanent store, but the coronavirus pandemic put that idea on hold for the time being.

“Are people going to want to come out – we’re going to be a small store and are people going to want to shop in a small store – are they going to feel safe,” said Forty Acres owner Liz Abunaw. “Also, this is not a good time to start a construction project and we don’t know what the real estate market will do – are we headed to a recession or depression.”

Abunaw used to patronize Stanley’s Market on Elston Ave. and thought that the West Side could use a similar type of business.

“Somebody needs to put something like this on the West Side – somebody needs to put a Stanley’s on the West Side, finally I thought why don’t I do it,” Abunaw said. “We were barreling down that path and then COVID hit.”

Abunaw was also motivated by a bus trip to the West Side not long after she moved to Chicago a few years ago where she could not locate a bank or grocery store within a mile of her location.

“You can find fried chicken and liquor stores, but not a strawberry,” she said.

The coronavirus has people wary about gathering with others and concerned that a trip to the grocery store could lead to exposure to the virus. Consequently, there has been an uptick in shoppers ordering their groceries online for delivery.

“We’re fine doing deliveries for now and we’re doing over 200 deliveries a week. We’re fortunate because we’re in an industry that people are flocking to right now, and because it’s an essential business we don’t have to shut down,”Abunaw said. “We deliver daily, and our delivery fee is only five dollars. We accept SNAP and we take multiple forms of payment – we’re about as accessible as it gets.”

She also said that the safety of everyone involved is paramount.

“We do contactless deliveries; we wear masks and gloves and there’s more frequent hand washing – we’re just more diligent. We were always sanitary now it’s like a hyper-vigilance,” she said.

Dr. William Yates Discusses COVID-19

By Todd Thomas

As the Coronavirus continues spreading in the Chicago area, a local company – Yates Enterprises has begun distributing products to help people fight the pandemic, including an innovative walkthrough body temperature-taking device. Dr. William Yates, MD the company’s owner and founder spoke with NLCN about COVID-19 and his efforts to combat it, especially in the African American community.

NLCN: Dr. Yates give us a brief description of your company, how long have you been around…are you based in Chicago…what is your mission?

Yates: I was born and raised in Chicago and I am a proud product of Chicago Public Schools.  I went to college and medical school at Northwestern University and then spent much of my surgery experience at Howard University in Washington DC.  I became a Trauma Surgeon to help repair the devastating injuries that seem so frequent on the streets of our large cities and it gave me proximity to troubled individuals allowing me an opportunity to somehow change their ill-fated paths. I started my public safety company approximately 2 1/2 years ago after I felt there was a simple solution to prevent these mass shootings in schools, malls and other public places.  

Providing metal detectors, x-ray equipment and hand-held metal detectors to prevent firearms entering any public place was my goal.  Simply stated, my mission was to deter and prevent the unnecessary gun violence in all communities and prevent the horrific results.

NLCN: Why did you decide to sell the walkthrough body temperature detector?

Yates: I had already been working on a combo metal detector with thermal detection capabilities. This allows screening for firearms as well as fever.  When COVID-19 became prominent, I centered most of my efforts on portable, non-contact infrared thermal detectors to limit the spread of the disease.

NLCN: How have the trials of the product worked out so far?

Yates: The products are working very well.  They are non-contact, accurate, efficient and great devices to find out if someone has an elevated temperature in 1 second

NLCN: What types of companies and organizations will need the device?

Yates:: As I am sitting here thinking, I can’t think of a single company where this device would NOT be applicable unless there is a sudden vaccine for the virus that eliminated all stages of the illness. Almost every company and organization needs thermal detection.  I would strongly recommend that all retailers and restaurants have the devices so that their customer base will return in force and feel safe and confident that their health is taken seriously.

NLCN: The pandemic has affected some communities more than others – from a medical/health standpoint why do you think this is the case?

Yates::  I believe the pandemic has affected an inappropriate number of minority communities more than others. There are several reasons for this, and they’re deeply rooted in the misallocation of healthcare in the poor communities. The virus seems to prey on the weakest of our citizens who are overweight, have diabetes and hypertension. This triad of disease processes seems to be a common equation for the attractiveness of the virus.  As we all know, these ailments are disproportionately present in the African American and Hispanic communities.  

To make matters worse, both communities find it difficult to maintain social distancing as the shelter in place mandates. The reason for this being that several minority- heavy jobs are in the service industry and cannot be completed remotely.  If they could, our community is not equipped with the necessary technological tools afforded others.  Social distancing also remains elusive in our community due to the fact that in our homes several generations often reside making distancing almost impossible, and restricting the flow of others in your home is also very difficult.

Last, but not least, the ability for our community to have access to testing to determine who has the virus, who does not have the virus and who is spreading the virus is not readily available.  

NLCN: What can be done to slow the spread of coronavirus in the community?

Yates:: The main thing other than the obvious mandates would be an emphasis on testing to see who actually has the potential to spread the virus and who is immune.  A vaccine would be ideal or if a vaccine is not readily available, then drugs to treat the infection so that it would not be lethal.  I think of the same process as the AIDS epidemic. To date there is no vaccine to eradicate the HIV virus but there are drugs to treat it and allow people to have a normal quality of life.  

NLCN: Anything you would like to add?

Yates:: I do feel that there will be a new normal dictating the way the public shops, eats, seeks entertainment, and just lives.  Even though the public is very tired of being shut in and wants to enjoy their God given freedom, they are still skeptical or paranoid about them or one of their loved ones becoming ill. To help alleviate this fear, devices such as the one that I provide, I believe will be commonplace from this date forward and for good reason.