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Afternoon Edition: Nov. 29, 2021

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

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 cloudy with a chance of rain and snow and a high near 40 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with possible rain and snow showers along with a steady temperature around 36. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 45.

Top story

What can be done to stop Chicago’s Black exodus?

Anthony Simpkins remembers when the Greater Englewood neighborhood was a thriving Black community with more than 100,000 residents and a commercial strip that rivaled downtown’s shopping district.

“It was one of the most active commercial strips in the city of Chicago, and then — over decades — that all deteriorated,” said Simpkins, president and CEO of Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago.

“The mall was demolished, and there were literally hundreds and hundreds of properties — both homes and apartment buildings — that were torn down, and all that remains are the swaths of vacant land.”

In the past 10 years, the exodus of Black families has continued in Chicago, which was once a prime destination for Black Americans fleeing the violence and racism of the Jim Crow South. West Englewood and Austin have lost the most Black residents in the past 10 years, according to the 2020 census.

We shared the stories of Black Chicagoans who had left the city and how their lives improved — but is there a way to stop this 30-year decline in population?

Community leaders say in order to bring Black residents back, the city must devote more resources to closing gaps in homeownership, wages and life expectancy between Black and white Chicagoans, though admittedly it will be no easy feat.

Simpkins said there has been “significant investment” happening in Greater Englewood in the past six years, and he hopes people will notice the positive change happening already.

Elvia Malagón and Manny Ramos have the full story here.

More news you need

  1. Jury selection began today in the trial of Jussie Smollett, who arrived at Leighton Criminal Courthouse this morning flanked by his family and legal team. Smollett’s trial should end later this week or next week, Judge James Linn said in the courtroom today.
  2. An exasperated Cook County judge today accused Adam Hollingsworth, better known as the “Dread Head Cowboy,” of “disingenuous behavior” after his latest court filing asked for records prosecutors and the judge said he already has access to. Madeline Kenney has the latest on Hollingsworth’s animal cruelty case.
  3. Local residents and groups say a pair of proposed shipping warehouses on the Southwest Side aren’t getting rigorous environmental reviews despite a new air pollution ordinance backed by the mayor. While neither site has received city approval yet, critics are already weighing in with concerns about air quality.
  4. The sprawling Allstate headquarters campus in Northfield will soon be sold to a Nevada-based warehouse developer in a deal worth $232 million, the insurance giant announced today. David Roeder has more on the deal, which he writes “could lead to a land-use fight in the northern suburbs.”
  5. Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris will not seek reelection after 15 years in that chamber. Harris, who plans to finish his term, said he decided to make the announcement today so other leaders “have time to think and prepare.”
  6. Volunteers with a local bird group hope people will be more mindful of their trash after they recently saved a sandhill crane that had its beak stuck shut by a piece of plastic. Katie Anthony has more on the rescued bird.

A bright one

Chicago neighborhoods boost local shops on Small Business Saturday: ‘You see the good come out’

Neighborhood groups across the city put the spotlight on small businesses Saturday, enticing shoppers with deals, live music, refreshments and more after another brutal year for retail due to COVID-19.

“The small businesses are what make Chicago, Chicago,” said Angelica Moore, owner of Detoxxed Body in Bridgeport. “We’re a city of neighborhoods, we’re a city of small businesses.”

Moore was among the entrepreneurs who set up shop for Small Business Saturday in Bronzeville, where a pop-up market for up-and-coming operations was launched next to a village of shipping containers that now serve as storefronts.

Sharnele Amos, owner of Soilful Pots, talks to a customer during a holiday pop-up market in Bronzeville on Small Business Saturday.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The annual “buy local” holiday was also recognized up north, where Rogers Park Business Alliance district manager Carolina Juarez offered fresh crepes to passersby in hopes of getting them to visit some of the 17 shops participating in the neighborhood’s “Love Rogers Park” promotion.

“It’s a time to really come out and just support the small businesses in the community who were completely devastated in the past year and a half. That’s why we’ve kind of gone all out this year,” Juarez said.

Audrey Ney, a manager at Common Cup (1501 W. Morse Ave.) said the coffee shop was closed from March to September due to the pandemic, and seeing residents returning to the local spot has been uplifting.

“I think it’s a testament to the safe space this has been for people for so long,” the 26-year-old said.

Read our full story from over the weekend here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

If you could watch behind-the-scenes footage of the making of one record (like the new The Beatles documentary “Get Back”), what album would it be?

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: What’s your most wild in-store Black Friday memory? Here’s what some of you said...

“In 1989 at the local Kmart a fight broke out over Sony Walkmans that were sold at a huge discount, as were the 19” tube TVs with remotes. Crazy times we lived in back then, now look at us.” — Jaime Ortiz

“Going to Woodfield Mall for the first time in 1976 as a teenager.” — Robert Williams

‘Wal-Mart. The lines were so long it took an hour to check out 10 years ago.” — Myrna Kar

“Never shopped a single Black Friday in my life, and at 61, I’m not going to start now.” — Christine Bock

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