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The Englewood they see: Residents discuss the tension, resentment and good in their neighborhood after police shooting
On Monday morning, at the corner of 55th & Racine, Teamwork Englewood was going about the daily business of community building.
Two blocks from where a police shooting Sunday triggered a confrontation between the community and cops, Cecile DeMello and volunteers were doing voter registration, completing Census forms and dispensing food to families.
One of many grassroots organizers working for change in a community branded one of the most challenged by gang crime, DeMello wasn’t about to let the negative spotlight turned on Englewood — after the looting that followed Sunday’s shooting — deter her work.
“We work long hours. We’re pouring our heart and soul into this work. We see a very different Englewood than what people see. It almost has a small town, village vibe to it,” said DeMello, 36, whose group won a U.S. Department of Justice grant to implement community-driven anti-violence initiatives in the Chicago Police Department’s Englewood District.
“This incident was an example of how much work we still have to do around helping police in this community learn how to show up in a way that is respectful and dignified when there is crisis and trauma unfolding.”
This week’s mayhem began when police were called about a man with a gun near Moran Park. Finding 20-year-old Latrell Allen, they chased after him, and when Allen shot at them, they shot back, police said.
A crowd gathered, angered after word went out that Allen was unarmed when shot. By that night, looting began on the South Side. A caravan of criminals converged downtown to destroy and loot stores. Looting also happened on the West Side Monday.
“We’re just trying to get to the root causes of how did we even get here? How do we as community members and leaders come up with solutions to prevent these kinds of incidents from even happening in the future?” said Maurice Perkins, 35, who runs the Think Outside Da Block nonprofit.
For all their hard work to combat negative perceptions, you won’t hear DeMello or Perkins condemn the looters: “There was a time growing up in Englewood where I made a lot of decisions that, looking back, I would probably do things different had I had the right guidance. So I’m in no position to judge,” Perkins said.
The activists said Moran Park has long been a hotspot for criminal activity. And residents in surrounding blocks, including Elizabeth Wilson, 62, blame that concentration on historical inequities. Englewood has a nearly 50% poverty rate and 26.8% unemployment rate.
“Englewood has been neglected a long time,” said Wilson. “If people don’t have anything to do, you want to do wrong in order to provide for yourself.”
“I think it’s sad,” Wilson said of the looting. “It goes back to giving people something to do, giving them jobs. Where can you go around here and get a job? Where can you go around here and get a handout? Nowhere. In their minds, they’re saying, ‘Well, they ain’t giving us nothing. We’ve got nothing. They’re not trying to helpme.’”
More news you need
- Of nearly 1,000 complaints filed against Chicago police officers since the death of George Floyd, roughly 170 had enough supporting evidence to warrant full-blown investigations by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, COPA’s chief administrator said today. Listen to her full interview with Fran Spielman.
- The city’s role in helping General Iron move from affluent, predominantly white Lincoln Park to a majority-Latino Southeast Side neighborhood to make way for the Lincoln Yards redevelopment violated federal fair housing laws and should be investigated, community groups say. In a complaint filed today, the group called the move a civil rights violation.
- The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the shooters responsible for murdering a 2-year-old girl in northwest Indiana. Joette “Jo Jo” Malone was in the backseat of her mother’s car July 29 when they were caught in crossfire from gunmen in two other cars in Hammond.
- More than 200,000 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 over the last five months in Illinois — about 1.6% of the state’s population — as health officials today announced the latest batch of 1,834 new cases. Since early March, a total of 200,427 people have been confirmed to be carrying the virus.
- Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office has outlined a project to assess Chicago’s monuments and decide whether they need to be removed or changed. The “racial healing and historical reckoning” project will catalogue public art, and an advisory committee will determine whether any pieces need to be evaluated.
- Thousands of workers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are preparing for a strike vote over working conditions and increased pay. They’re calling for access to personal protective equipment, increased staffing and a raised minimum hourly wage of $15.
A bright one
If you’ve missed going to the movies over the last few months, this one’s for you: AMC Theatres will reopen next week with retro ticket prices of 15 cents per movie.
AMC Entertainment, which owns the chain, said it expects to open the doors to more than 100 cinemas — or about a sixth of its nationwide locations — on Aug. 20 with throwback pricing for a day. That includes 13 Chicago-area locations, like AMC’s River North location.
The chain touted the reopening as “Movies in 2020 at 1920 Prices.” During its opening-day promotion, AMC will show catalog films, including “Ghostbusters,” “Black Panther,” “Back to the Future” and “Grease.” Those older films will continue to play afterward for $5.
AMC and other chains have said they will operate at reduced capacity to facilitate social distancing, along with increased theater cleaning and required mask-wearing.
From the press box
The White Sox and Cardinals’ planned Friday series opener at Guaranteed Rate Field has reportedly been postponed as St. Louis continues to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak among its ranks. The Cards haven’t played since July 29 due to multiple positive coronavirus tests.
The Blackhawks also look to regain their scoring touch in Game 2 of their first-round series against the Golden Knights this afternoon. Coverage starts at 4:30 p.m. CT on NBCSN and NBCSCH.
Your daily question☕
What’s been the hardest thing about wearing a mask for you?
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: Will you be using e-scooters to get around the city now that they’re back?Here’s what some of you said…
“Not sure the added expense would work for me. Also the hazards of being on the road. I ride a bike to all places and get a cardio workout. If anything I’d rather own my own than to rent one.”— Ivan Ruíz
“No, they’re too dangerous.”— Otis Hill
“We like renting them and just letting the kids ride them, not really for getting around the city though.”— Mike Prochaska
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