Afternoon Edition: July 9, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Sam Skinner, co-chair of the city’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, discusses the task force’s final report, titled “Forward Together, Building a Stronger Chicago.” Mayor Lori Lightfoot (left) also was there Thursday as the report was unveiled at the South Shore Cultural Center.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Afternoon Edition

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.

This afternoon will be super hot: sunny with a high of 94 degrees and heat index values as high as 99 degrees, plus some possible showers and thunderstorms in the mix. Tonight’s low will be around 73 degrees. Tomorrow will be another hot one, but a bit more bearable with a high near 89 degrees ahead of a weekend with highs in the mid-80s.

Top story

Lightfoot unveils roadmap to economic recovery from coronavirus pandemic

Mayor Lori Lightfoot vowed today to lead a “second Chicago renaissance” by following a roadmap to recovery from the economic devastation created by the coronavirus pandemic and the stay-at-home shutdown it triggered.

Lightfoot said the pandemic, and the systemic vulnerabilities that forced Black and Latino Chicagoans to bear the brunt of its repercussions, provide the city with a “once in a generation opportunity” to create a “new economic model based on dynamic, inclusive growth.”

She promised to seize that opportunity by following the blueprint laid out in “Forward Together, Building a Stronger Chicago,” a 105-page report by the city’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force that includes 17 broad-brush recommendations and many more specific suggestions to confront the challenges Chicago faces.

Many of those challenges — like unequal access to jobs, health care and healthy food — existed long before the current crisis. The pandemic simply exposed Chicago’s ugly underbelly — and in many cases made it worse.

“If we do this right — and I’m committed to making sure that we do — this will be the kind of transformation that, generations from now, we’ll be talking about as the second Chicago renaissance. … If we do this right, people are gonna be coming to Chicago to say, ‘What happened? How did the Chicago renaissance start?’” the mayor said.

Within the broad-brush recommendations are more specific and intriguing proposals. They include a public-private fund to provide venture capital for local entrepreneurs; a portable benefits program for gig workers; subsidized child care; a 211 line for mental health emergencies and creating a “health check-off,” like the Zagat survey for restaurants, that provides Chicago attractions and businesses a “set of standards” to meet so patrons feel safe.

The broader recommendations for addressing “new and old traumas” include increasing access to mental and emotional health resources and services in communities and creating a culturally-sensitive, diverse mental health workforce.

To expand economic opportunity, quality employment options and financial security, the report advises the city to reimagine the region’s workforce infrastructure and create a plan to invest in displaced and young workers; to increase ownership in employment for Black and Brown residents in the region’s contracting and construction industry; to create the most vibrant small business and Black- and Brown-owned business community in America; to expand relief programs and to experiment with innovative ways to improve and strengthen the social safety net.

The broader recommendations also include building on the region’s strengths and seizing opportunities created by COVID-19, and offer suggestions on how to rebuild the city’s convention and tourism industry.

Read the full story by Fran Spielman, and check out a PDF of the full report here.

More news you need

  1. As the country reckons with widespread racial disparities, Northwestern law students are pushing for more Black faculty members, and they’re using social media to go public with their demands. “My silence was contributing to the racist environment; it no longer sat right for me to not speak up,” one student said.
  2. A vandal threw a brick through the window of Ald. Ray Lopez’s home early this morning before coming back an hour later and setting a nearby garage on fire. Lopez shared a surveillance video clip on Twitter and suggested “gang bangers” were to blame.
  3. A popular meme of Kevin Hart and Keanu Reeves is being used to spread misinformation, suggesting that wearing a face mask while carrying a firearm in public is a class four felony. There is no federal law that bans carrying a concealed weapon while wearing a mask, PolitiFact Illinois explains.
  4. After four turbulent months that included the loss of 71 jobs, the Field Museum is set to re-open July 17 following the coronavirus shutdown. But don’t expect big crowds: The museum plans to cap daily attendance at one-fourth of capacity.
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A bright one

Chicago’s Oscar winner Matthew A. Cherry launching HBO Max show based on ‘Hair Love’

Filmmaker and Northwest Side native Matthew A. Cherry will get to expand on his Academy Award-winning short film, “Hair Love,” in a new show for HBO Max.

The 12-episode season of series, titled “Young Love,” will center around the Young family — Stephen and Angela, daughter Zuri and pet cat Rocky — who were introduced in the animated short. The show will explore parenthood, social issues, career and marriage.

“I am beyond excited to continue telling the story of Stephen, Angela and Zuri and further explore the family dynamics of a young Black millennial family we established in our short film ‘Hair Love’ as an animated series,” said Cherry.

“Hair Love,” which won the Oscar for best animated short film earlier this year, follows an African American father as he attempts to style his daughter’s hair for the first time; the short film debuted in 2019 when it was shown in theaters with “The Angry Birds Movie 2.”

Read the full story from Evan F. Moore.

From the press box

Chicago Public School athletes will be permitted to start practicing again starting next Monday, Michael O’Brien reports. The decision by CPS comes days after the Illinois High School Association gave the green light for school districts to approve socially distanced practices.

Additionally, the IHSA amended its “Return To Play” rules this afternoon to ban physical contact between athletes and require athletes and coaches to wear masks at all times. The rule change puts an end to some hastily scheduled basketball and football competitions that were planned in recent days.

Your daily question ☕

What’s the most fun thing you’ve done so far this summer?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you what your song of the summer is this year. Here’s what some of you said…

“‘All By Myself’ by Eric Carmen” — Phyllis Hahn

“Rolling Stones ‘Gimme Shelter… In Place’” — Bill Linden

“‘Stayin’ Alive’ by The Bee Gees.” — Annie Pippin

“‘I hate you Carole’ by Joe Exotic.” — Katie Elizabeth

“‘Long Hot Summer’ - Keith Urban.” — Erika L.H.

“‘Trapped’ - Utopia.” — Guy Clifford

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