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Afternoon Edition: Nov. 19, 2021

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

Kyle Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty In Kenosha Protest Shootings
A supporter of Kyle Rittenhouse reacts as a not guilty verdict is read in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse today in Kenosha, Wis.
Nathan Howard/Getty Images

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.

This afternoon will be partly sunny with a high near 40. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low around 33. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 48, and Sunday will be partly sunny with a high near 49.

Top story

Split Kenosha crowd cheers, jeers Rittenhouse not guilty verdict

A profanity-laced shouting match erupted outside the Kenosha County Courthouse moments before the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict was read.

Then “God Bless America” blared on a loudspeaker after the 18-year-old Antioch man was acquitted of all charges.

“I flew here from California. ... I wasn’t going to let the Rittenhouse family be here and not feel supported. This is a just trial,” said one Rittenhouse supporter. His sign read: “Free Kyle. The USA is still worth defending.”

The smallish crowd outside the courthouse was gathered into three clusters.

Justin Blake, an uncle of Jacob Blake, whose shooting by a white police officer touched off protests in August 2020, was disgusted by the verdict. He said the trial’s outcome was “even worse” than prosecutors not charging the officer.

“It shows this city doesn’t welcome African Americans or minorities,” Justin Blake said.

Rittenhouse, 18, was acquitted of all charges today after pleading self-defense in the deadly Kenosha shootings that became a flashpoint in the nation’s debate over guns, vigilantism and racial injustice.

He had been charged with homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangering after killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle during a tumultuous night of protests over police violence against Black people in the summer of 2020. The former police youth cadet is white, as were those he shot.

The jury, which appeared to be overwhelmingly white, deliberated for close to 3 1/2 days.

Rittenhouse could have gotten life in prison if found guilty on the most serious charge, first-degree intentional homicide, or what some other states call first-degree murder.

Clare Spaulding has more on the scene outside the Kenosha County Courthouse here.

More news you need

  1. The Chicago Public Schools inspector general has substantiated allegations against 13 adults at the Marine Leadership Academy for either committing or covering up sexual misconduct dating back more than two years, district officials revealed today. The allegations include instances of school staff members grooming and sexually harassing students.
  2. In other CPS news, the Illinois Occupational Health and Safety Administration is asking district officials to show they’ve cleaned up Eberhart Elementary School. Eberhart was left so dirty by custodial contractors that the school’s own staff picked up mops and brooms to do the work themselves.
  3. At least one person was taken into custody this afternoon after Chicago police responded to fighting at Clemente High School in Ukrainian Village. David Struett has more here.
  4. City Hall today lifted the veil on five competing proposals for the downtown casino — with each pitch promising complete entertainment destinations with revenue to bail out city pension funds. The proposals differ in their locations, dollar commitments, timelines and the number of additional hotel rooms planned.
  5. Navigating the labyrinthian Chicago Pedway will soon be a bit easier. The city announced yesterday that it’s upgrading the signs in its system of underground tunnels people can use to get around downtown, especially during bad weather.
  6. It was 57 years ago this weekend when B.B. King recorded one of blues music’s seminal records in Bronzeville — “Live at the Regal.” A new book on the guitar great recalls the set that thrilled the crowd and disappointed the band — you can read an excerpt here.

A bright one

Englewood school looks to bring Black-centered stories that ‘need to be known’ into the classroom

Kinadee Jordan is an effervescent, confident 13-year-old. When asked what’s the secret sauce of the Montessori School of Englewood, she quips, “Me!”

With 420 students, the charter school at 6936 S. Hermitage Ave. is almost entirely free to its predominantly Black population. Kinadee has been at the school since first grade. Now in eighth grade, she loves to sing and read.

Kinadee’s reading has helped her empathize with others on a deeper level, but one thing has always bothered her.

“I know there are Black authors in the world,” she said. “I want books on my culture.”

Kinadee’s words were heard by the school’s executive director, Rita Nolan, and board member Quilen Blackwell, who also offers at-risk youth jobs in his flower shop, Southside Blooms at 6250 S. Morgan St.

Together, they came up with Books and Blooms, an initiative to raise $10,000 so the school can purchase books featuring Black and Brown main characters.

Students at the Montessori School of Englewood show off the books they picked out to read in the library Thursday morning.
Cheyanne M. Daniels/Sun-Times

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that we have the resources to be able to make sure from our kindergarten on up that ... books with the African American child in the center, not just the periphery,” are in each classroom, said Nolan.

That can’t be done, she added, when most donated books are Eurocentric.

“One of the challenges that we have is when people donate books, they give us their scraps, and that’s a big thing that we want to try to change,” explained Blackwell. “We want the school and students to have more agency over the kind of books that they want.”

Southside Blooms will donate 20% of revenue from purchases at southsideblooms.com using the code “BOOKS” to the school.

The books will also be bought from minority-owned bookstores, Nolan added.

Cheyanne M. Daniels has more on the initiative here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

How would you describe winter in Chicago to someone who’s never experienced it before?

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’s the most underrated neighborhood in Chicago?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Little Village. Known for the crime, but that makes others ignore the culture of the people there, the amazing food, various storefronts and traditions. Especially long-time Spanish book store LIBRERÍA GIRON, around for more than 50 years and still standing — keeping the traditions of the Hispanic community. There’s so much to Little Village that people don’t know about.” — Elizabeth Walker

“Ravenswood. It is its own little world. Close to everything. Multicultural. Fun festivals and great parks. Library, movie theatre and Old Town School of Music. Lots of independently owned business and very clean and quiet.” — Lynn M. House

“Bronzeville because it is a center for African-American life and culture in Chicago.” — Shannon L Campbell

“Rogers Park! It's melting pot diversity, hardworking blue-collar people, family involvement, a plethora of different languages and food from all around the world. Its proximity to Lake Michigan, the redline, purple and yellow that will take you to Evanston or Skokie in the blank of an eye. Crown the melting pot capital of Chicago already.” — Haynk Jean-Baptiste

“Portage Park. No need to ever go deep in the city nor far west to the suburbs. It’s just perfectly placed in the middle of the northwest side of Chicago. Lovely neighborhood, friendly neighborhood and great small businesses. Awesome nightlife and it’s great during the day for families if they want to do activities. I’m proud to be born and raised in this part of the city.” — Loli Mauriz

“Garfield Ridge. Blue-collar people who keep up their homes very well. Close to Midway and we have Weber’s Bakery, one of Chicago’s best.” — Mike Walsh

“Westside in between Laramie and Austin — in the Austin area. We have one of the most beautiful parks, named La Follette Park — Stephanie Howard

“Humboldt Park — Puerto Rican restaurants, architecture, massive park, lagoons, swan boat rides, inland Beach, live salsa music, food trucks, gardens, easy to ride a bike and overall vibe.” — O.J. Wojahowski

“It’s Englewood actually. Too often the good in the community is overshadowed by crime, however, Englewood is filled with talented and skilled individuals. The people there are driven and resilient. Some of the best talent in Chicago derived from or currently reside in Englewood.” — Andrea NaTay

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