Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 6-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.
Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.
It’s finally Friday. We could see some showers and thunderstorms this afternoon, but it’ll mostly be sunny with a high near 90 degrees. It’ll cool down significantly tonight — the low will be around 63 degrees — ahead of a beautiful weekend. Saturday will be sunny with a high near 75 degrees and Sunday will also be sunny with a high around 77 degrees.
How CPS students are learning about black history and white supremacy — and how that’s helping them understand George Floyd
Before George Floyd, before the coronavirus pandemic, Chicago students started learning America’s real history.
Not the whitewashed history — the disjointed one that jumps from European settlers “finding” America, to a sanitized version of slavery, to the Civil Rights Movement and finally to a seemingly racism-free present time.
No, the real history. The one with white people having picnics to celebrate lynchings. The history of powerful black resistance music and art. The one with dismembered body parts displayed in storefronts and black perseverance and success through oppression. Black America’s history — America’s real history.
The civil unrest in the days since Floyd’s killing hasn’t only been a protest of yet another black man’s death at the hands of the police. It’s a rebuke of the 400 years leading up to Floyd’s undignified suffocation on a Minneapolis street.
Those hundreds of years of American history are tucked into the New York Times Magazine’s acclaimed “1619 Project” that has been taught in Chicago Public Schools since the fall. They’re the same 400 years of oppression that led a young African American student in Chicago to tell his classmates this week: “I don’t want to grow up to be a black man.”
“In middle school, they talked about slavery, but it was ‘Christopher Columbus, he found us,’” Arterah Griggs said while talking to three other black teenagers in a computer lab at Brooks College Preparatory Academy on the Far South Side. “Now I read this and I know he didn’t. We were the founding fathers. We put so much into the U.S. and we made the foundation.”
The worst Asia Reid remembers learning about American racism was whites kicking black people off the bus because they weren’t allowed to sit in the front: “I’ve never been taught about where I came from, and it’s really refreshing to see this,” she told the group. “Even if it’s not a good story, it’s something I need to know.”
“It’s easy now to say, ‘Oh, black people, their businesses are bad.’ Or, ‘Black people, they don’t prosper,’” said another student, Aisha Carothers. “But when we’re looking at magazines like this, we can see, ‘OK, well now I know why.’ But then that’s really not truth, because black people are successful in a lot of ways and they’re overcoming a lot of oppression and discrimination even after slavery.”
Nikole Hannah-Jones, the New York Times writer who led the creation of the 1619 Project and last month won a Pulitzer Prize for her commentary, said in an interview with us that understanding the “why” of how America’s racist society operates is “incredibly empowering for children.”
“It is not simply that black people are more criminal, or black people are deserving of the treatment they have,” Hannah-Jones says, “but that we have a system, and systems, that were set up that have led us to have a fundamentally unfair society.
“And I think that knowledge is very empowering. It explains why people are taking to the streets. It explains the anger. And it shows that black people are not responsible for their own death.”
More news you need
- Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability has recommended the officers involved in dragging a woman from a car by her hair and smashing the car’s windows at the Brickyard Mall be stripped of their police powers and reassigned to desk duty. Police said this morning that the officers still had their police powers.
- Chicago police officers who covered their badge numbers and nametags and were photographed giving the finger to protesters should be fired, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said today. “In my view, they’ve forfeited their right to be Chicago police officers,” Lightfoot said.
- Since federal charges were leveled against Matthew Rupert, the Galesburg man accused of rioting and looting in Chicago and Minneapolis, there’s been rampant speculation about his motivation for joining the protests, from him being a white supremacist to an Antifa anarchist. But those most familiar with Rupert suggest the truth is far more mundane.
- A lawyer in Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office took the unusual step today of publicly slamming Mayor Lori Lightfoot at a federal court hearing about police reform. “For the past year, we have seen far too much foot-dragging from the city and the Chicago Police Department,” said Shareese Nycole Pryor.
- The demolition of the old Crawford power plant in Little Village resumed early this morning as protesters chanted and blocked traffic on a busy section of South Pulaski Road. During the protest, a truck driver stepped out of his vehicle and began assaulting community organizers in the middle of the street.
- The virus that has raced around the globe and killed more than 100,000 people in the United States has yet to reach one small community in Illinois. Scott County is the only one of Illinois’ 102 counties that has not reported a single case of COVID-19.
A bright one
What’s a Chicago Summer™ without the lake?
Ever since the warm weather arrived, we’ve been dying to get back to enjoying one of the city’s greatest treasures — Lake Michigan, closed since March when the coronavirus pandemic hit Chicago and some city residents failed to socially distance along its shore.
Today, some promising news suggests summer 2020’s sunshine won’t be totally squandered: Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she hopes to reopen parts of the lakefront “very soon” — during designated hours and only for certain activities, presumably those that keep moving.
“I’m hoping to be able to announce a reopening of the lakefront relatively soon with a plan toward safely minimizing crowding and really having some designated time for particular activities along the lakefront,” she said.
“We’ve been working very diligently on a plan … But I’m hopeful we’ll be able to announce something very soon. I know people are anxious to get back to the lakefront.”
From the press box
Bears fans have been waiting for the Mitch Trubisky vs. Nick Foles quarterback competition to finally get underway. But neither player has ever flat-out won a starting job before, writes Mark Potash.
Sky guard Sydney Colson, who marched in Houston this week during a peaceful protest against racism and police brutality, is one of many WNBA players who want to stay involved in activism even after the current protests end, writes Madeline Kenney.
And Jean Lenti Ponsetto is stepping down as DePaul’s athletic director after 18 seasons.
Your daily question ☕
With Chicago partially reopening earlier this week, how will you be spending this first weekend since restaurants and other businesses opened back up?
Email us (please include your name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.
Yesterday, we asked you if you plan on getting tested for COVID-19 now that state-run, drive-thru testing is available to everyone, regardless of symptoms. Here’s what some of you said…
“Yes, we will get tested prior to seeing grandparents later this summer. Excited to hear that testing has opened up. Hopefully, it will become more widely available so that those without access to cars can access free testing more easily.” — Crystal Johnson
“Why? I could leave the site, be negative, and go catch it at a grocery store and pop up with it days later. All it tells you is if you are negative right there and then.” — Kelly Ha-Zee
Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.