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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

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.

Lawndale Christian Health Center testing for Coronavirus

Lawndale Christian Health Center (LCHC) has been selected as one of several Coronavirus testing site. They are located at 3860 Ogden Ave. This particular coronavirus is called COVID-19, an abbreviation for coronavirus disease 2019 has been plaguing the world, since early January when a whistleblower reported it in China. The whistleblower also contracted the disease and unfortunately has died. Now, the disease, spread around the world by physical contact and airborne means has reached Chicago and it is on the Westside of Chicago.

In Chicago, the number of COVID-19 cases are 28,567 and deaths 1,206, according to the City of Chicago Dept. of Public Health (CDPH).  More data can be found by going to

North Lawndale Community News (NLCN) visited Lawndale Christian Health Center with Bruce Miller, CEO of LCHC. Miller arranged an interview with Dr. Bruce Rowell, a pediatrician by practice and the Chief Clinical Officer for Quality at LCHC. Rowell was the 2nd pediatrician to work at LCHC. He started there in 1995, where he worked for about 7 years. Then he moved into more administrative duties and became Chief Clinical Officer. When asked what has kept him at LCHC for the years he’s been there, he stated, “It’s our faith-based and community mission….to show and tell about the Christ-spirit providing quality affordable healthcare.”  What that means to him, he said, is that we deliver the best medical care that we can, that its ultimately, competent and compassionate to our patients.” Over 25 years, Dr. Bruce Rowell has gotten to know his patients and families, especially kids that he has seen as babies grow up and go off to college and have kids of their own. He said, “it has been a treasure to see.”

When LCHC saw that COVID-19 was happening, they formed a COVID response team with other health leaders and clinicians at LCHC. Remarked Bruce, “We started meeting on a daily basis to keep abreast of recommendations and what we needed to do to best care for our patients.” Some of the first things that they wanted was to protect their staff and their patients. He used the principals of protect, detect, and respond as missions of the COVID response team, making sure they were caring for their staff and patients using appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and following CDC guidelines for infection control.

LCHC has five satellite clinics and an Adult Day Center. Some had to be closed because of the State of Illinois COVID-19 “Stay at Home” mandate orders for essential businesses. LCHC had to consolidate down to their main campus. But now the Adult Day Center site has been repurposed and COVID-19 drive thru testing by appointment, in addition to their main campus clinic. LCHC had to also close down group programs for recovery and pregnant women groups, behavioral health groups, and the fitness Center. The Tomato Cafe has also been turned into take out and pickup only.

“We knew that we needed to protect our patients and have them shelter at home like they were supposed to. That meant following guidelines… So the American Academy of Pediatrics and the pediatricians are saying we still need to see, face to face, the younger kids,” said Dr. Rowell. LCHC continues to see their newborns and have their well child visits because immunizations are most important. They deliver 1000 newborns deliveries a year. They also operate a well clinic for prenatal women.

LCHC is using more telemedicine and telehealth and it was a huge as a response. Almost all of their providers now are trained starting first with their psychologists and social workers who work in behavioral health using phone and video through a program called Their telehealth and telemedicine programs and training help with educating patients about health and providing medicine while staying with “Shelter in Place” guidelines. They still provide essential adult visits in the main clinic.

Anybody who calls, answers the questions have you been exposed, their travel history or what systems you have. If anyone has symptoms like respiratory or a fever gets seen in their respiratory clinic that is separate from their wellness clinic keeping well people away from exposure. Everyone who comes in the facility gets a systems check, and staff have the appropriate PPE. Most of their patients who call are from the community. But they get those who are new patients. LCHC also get calls from hospitals who have Covid-19 patients who don’t have doctors and need somewhere to follow-up. Using tele-visits, they determine if they need to come in or stay at home to self-quarantine, checking on them every day or every other day, using their clinical judgement to determine.

To call LCHC for COVID they use their general number at 872-588-3000. You don’t have to have insurance, “If somebody has insurance, certainly, we would want know that because we could bill them afterward. But we are not currently charging for telehealth visits and we are not charging for co-pays right now, said Dr. Rowell. Our doctors can get on the phone and try and give the best advice. It may be really early for somebody whose conditions are mild. it might be stay at home, or it might be let me give you a telemedicine visit with our doctor because you have all of these other problems and let us work on your diabetes and get that under control in order to get you your medicines or things like that. It might be come to our respiratory clinic, if somebodies breathing heavy,” stated Dr. Rowell.

LCHC stays in close contact with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and their weekly updates for clinicians, also the Chicago Dept. of Public Health and the Illinois Dept. of Public health. They have a provider whose is in charge of infection control, Sarah Diamond. She manages their employee health, making sure they are following all the proper protocols and the recommendations of the CDC and the guidance related to protective equipment and the care and follow-up of patients. LCHC also have other providers to network and learn like the University of Chicago that help with staying on the forefront of the Covid-19, the program is called project ECHO.

LCHC sends tests to state laboratories. They are working on four different ways. In the beginning test results took about 5-7 days. now it’s down to 1-2 days. They also have an Abbott Labs testing machine which can give results in about 15 minutes. Which will allow them to do about 50 tests a day. They have 500 staff in all their clinics and around 150 working in the clinic and telehealth. Never before has LCHC had providers to perform Triage. Dr. Rowell said, I am thankful for our providers being so dedicated to caring for their patients and to our mission and just show Christ and do really good quality medicine. All of our staff are really deemed flexible.

Partnering with the City of Chicago’s Dept. of Public Health, LCHC is caring for at-risk patients at local shelters. LCHC goes to local shelter such as the Franciscan House of Mary and Joseph located Harrison and California Ave, Pacific Garden mission, and also Breakthrough. The goal is to identify people who are not Covid-19 positive and get them out of that situation,” LCHC CEO, Bruce Miller.  The hotel is located in a downtown Chicago at Hotel 166. They are averaging about 155 patients a day. All the Covid-19 positive people are being relocated at Safe Haven. LCHC is using their new Covid-19 testing machine in a mobile strategy because it gives results in 15 minutes and they can identify very quickly, and relocate patients to the appropriate sites. Those that are Covid-19 negative and have other health issues going to Hotel 166 and those that are Covid-19 positive going to Safe Haven. LCHC is hoping to get more supplies for the new Abbott testing machine to continue testing via mobile before they run out. One major problem looming over them is they only have supplies for 72 tests left. The machine took only couple of hours of training and is being used strategically as possible. But having ample supplies will negate the benefit of having the machine.

For more information on Lawndale Christian Health Center contact 872-588-3000 or go to their website at

Creative Salon, Westside Black Men hand out more than 17,000 Masks & Gloves

Since Friday April 17, IL State Rep LaShawn K. Ford, 8th District, Twister, activist Mark Carter, and Creative Scott, and Anthony Jones, and others began passing out face masks and gloves to individuals at Creative Salon at 3946 W. 16th Street to combat the news that African Americans are dying at the rate of 70% of the total Coronavirus case deaths in Chicago. 50% of the total Coronavirus cases overall, are African American, despite being only 30% of the total population.

The group started out with over 7,000 masks on the Friday the group launched, providing masks to the community. They gave some to William Penn School located a few blocks east of the shop, whose Principal came to the shop to pick them up. All Chicago public schools are still giving free lunches during the school closures. Governor Pritzker has also extended the Stay at home period through May 30 and face coverings all individuals over 2 years old in public places.

Before noon, the group received a call and were given another 10,000 masks at a discounted price of $1,000. The seller preferred to remain anonymous according to Mark Carter who received the call. That’s about 10 cents a mask. But this group is giving the masks away free to individuals, 1st responders, and senior buildings on the Westside of Chicago. We know there is a need and there is a lack of masks that is being worn,” said Creative. Creative reached out to Mark Carter and they got together with other men to put the effort together.

Located on 16th street, near Pulaski Rd in the North Lawndale Community. The group packaged gloves and masks in small zipper bags to safely distribute to individuals. One of the 1st places that they visited was the fire department located across the street from the salon. 1st responders, including police, firefighters, doctors, and nurses have been infected. Firefighter Edward Singleton and 49-year-old Mario Araujo the first of the Chicago Fire Department to die from Covid-19 related complications.

Chicago born, Rapper “Twista” is helping to promote the ‘Mask Up and Live’ campaign. The campaign is geared to get more and younger African-Americans to wear masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak and its deadly outcomes to the most vulnerable. Stated Twista by video on a cell phone, “You may be brave enough to tough it out. But you don’t know what’s going to happen when you go back home and you sit around your favorite Auntie, or your grandmother or your mother, or your baby sister. You don’t want them to contract it.”

The group reached out to let people know by using Facebook Live, texting, and phone calls. starting with putting face masks on every man, woman, and child. Later the group went to senior building and also gave them masks. They set a schedule to give the mask every day from 11am until 2pm at Creative Salon until they run out. After 2pm they deliver to other most vulnerable locations in the community.

The group is excepting donations either masks, gloves, and/or funds large and small to help with supplying these lifesaving resources to the community. They can be dropped off at the Salon or you can call Creative Scott at 224-857-0795 to arrange for pickup.

Types of Essential Businesses Open in Illinois



Congressman Danny K. Davis Resources to Help with CoronaVirus



Steps to stop the CoronaVirus

Stay Safe

Wash Hands

Wear Masks

Wear Gloves

Stop CoronaVirus in its Tracks