Afternoon Edition: June 17, 2022

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

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M.A.D.D. Rhythms celebrated Juneteenth 2021 with performances.

Andrew Nadler

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 sunny with a high near 85 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low near 57. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 72. Juneteenth will be mostly sunny with a high near 84. ☀️

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Afternoon Edition

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Top story

Juneteenth in Chicago: Celebrating history, continuing a struggle for freedoms

This is only the second year Juneteenth has been marked as a federal holiday, with a three-day weekend and events across Chicago.

But it’s nothing new to many Black Chicagoans, who have been celebrating the holiday for years.

“Juneteenth is not a ‘let’s go take advantage of the latest sales at a retail outlet’ holiday,” said Michelle Duster, a Chicago professor, author and historian. “It’s more about sort of appreciation and reflection. It’s really family-centric or community-centric, with a sense of pride. It’s an acknowledgment that we actually built this country physically.”

The holiday commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas finally were told they were free — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Duster and others say the holiday represents the continued struggle and fight for freedom for Black Americans.

Duster is the great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells, the former Bronzeville resident who was an investigative journalist and crusader for the civil rights movement. Wells, born six months before the Emancipation Proclamation, died in 1931. In 2019, a major downtown Chicago thoroughfare was renamed in her honor.

Duster lives on the South Side and frequently leads efforts to honor Wells’ legacy. On Monday, Duster will speak at the Field Museum about Ida B. Wells’ legacy connected to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Admission will be free Monday to commemorate the holiday.

“It’s different from Black History Month,” Duster said. “That’s obviously a monthlong celebration of a lot of the achievements and everything. But Juneteenth is this specific day that is celebrating the actual freedom from chattel slavery.”

To Bril Barrett, co-founder of the nonprofit M.A.D.D. Rhythms, today’s struggles of Black Americans are part of the reflection on Juneteenth.

“We have to honor our legacy, our history and our contributions,” Barrett said. “Most importantly, honor the struggle and the fight and the fight that still continues to this day. I think you’ll take it as just a reminder of that because, in reality, 1865 was not that long ago.”

Mariah Rush has more on the holiday here.

More news you need

  1. The City Council’s Rules Committee will meet on Tuesday to confirm Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s second appointment to fill an aldermanic vacancy with all signs pointing to the sister of newly departed Ald. Michael Scott Jr. Sources said Lightfoot met with three finalists recommended by a screening committee: Monique Scott, the former alderman’s sister; Trina Mangrum, chief of staff to Ald. Jason Ervin; and former Bulls player Wallace “Mickey” Johnson.
  2. Chicago and suburban Cook County were shifted from “high” risk to “medium” risk for COVID-19, according to CDC data reflecting a decrease in new cases and hospitalizations in the region. “But COVID-19 is still with us,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, who still recommends masking indoors.
  3. The CDC recently issued guidelines for sex among people who suspect they might have monkeypox. From “considering having sex with your clothes on” to “avoid kissing,” the guidelines resemble much of what health experts have been recommending to lower the risk of contracting COVID.
  4. Attorney Nicholas Kantas’ father-in-law, recently retired Illinois lobbyist Al Ronan, isn’t helping him in his race for Cook County judge, according to Kantas’ campaign. But Kantas is getting assistance from other clout-heavy lobbyists — like his wife Maren Ronan, reports our Robert Herguth, who has a rundown of some of Kantas’ other donors here.
  5. Former President Donald Trump will headline a rally near Quincy in central Illinois on June 25 to benefit freshman Rep. Mary Miller, who’s locked in a Republican primary with Rep. Rodney Davis. The rally comes as Trump seeks to solidify his hold on House Republicans by backing MAGA candidates facing off in primaries against rivals deemed less loyal, Lynn Sweet reports.
  6. Who makes Chicago’s 148,000 manhole covers? Our Neil Steinberg and Ashlee Rezin traveled to the Neenah Foundry in Neenah, Wis. — where many of the city’s covers originate — to learn more about an unseen yet essential part of our infrastructure.
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A bright one

Art ‘meant for people in dark places,’ Myron Laban says of his ‘Uplift’ murals around Chicago

For a decade, Myron Laban has been on the lookout for drab walls in Chicago on which he can paint murals.

Laban, 27, says he isn’t just looking to make them prettier. He’s hoping the results might inspire people, too, especially those facing hard times or mental illness.

He says he wants his work to be uplifting, to remind people life isn’t always going to be difficult, that “hard things” might come their way, but “they also go.”


Myron Laban painted this mural at Milwaukee and Western avenues in 2020. It’s one of his “Uplift” series of murals around Chicago.

Nicky Andrews/Sun-Times

Like the mural he painted in 2020 at Milwaukee and Western avenues, centered on a faceless figure carrying a young boy through flowers and grass. He sees the faceless figure as symbolic of life and the boy as a force for optimism.

Everyone experiences hardships differently, and everyone finds their own ways to heal, says Laban, who’s also a pharmacist. He says both of his jobs have the same aim.

“I use my different professions to heal people,” he says.

Nicky Andrews has more with Laban here.

For more stories about Chicago’s street art, try our weekly Murals & Mosaics newsletter.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What does the Juneteenth holiday mean to you?

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

Yesterday, we asked you: Where’s the best place to catch the sunset in Chicago?

Here’s what some of you said…

“On the upper floors of Willis (Sears) Tower.” — Donna DeMilio

“John Hancock’s Signature Lounge.” — Niki Brown

“Montrose Harbor at the point, at sunset. That’s where my husband asked me to marry him, 46 years ago. He was from Brooklyn. He passed away 5 months ago.” — Sheryl Ames

“South Shore country club watching the sunset over downtown.” — Rus Austin

“The roof of Lake Point Tower. You can see the simultaneous sunset and moon rise.” — Sharon Jordan

“I personally like a sunset cruise river to lake Wendella the Sunset Cruise it’s amazing.” — Elizabeth Murray-Belcaster

“March 21 and September 22 from the steps of the Art Institute. Chicagohenge.” — Alexei Gaidamak

“North Ave. Beach — where the fishermen fish.” — Gerry Pointer Sr.

“Navy Pier off of Lake Michigan.” — Steve Price

“Promontory Point or the 31st St. Marina to watch it set behind the skyline. The Museum campus between the Planetarium and Aquarium is nice too.” — David Williams

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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