Stratton asks feds for abortion rights support, young Highland Park victim back in critical condition and more in your Chicago news round up

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

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Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing to examine a post-Roe America, focusing on the legal consequences of the Dobbs decision, on Capitol Hill in Washington today.

Andrew Harnik/AP

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

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Top story

As ‘island’ for reproductive rights, Illinois needs more federal help, Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton testifies in Washington

Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton today testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Illinois, now an “island” for reproductive rights, needs more federal support to handle an influx of patients coming to the state for abortions and more legal protections in place for doctors and abortion providers in a post-Roe v. Wade world.

“Before the threats to Roe v. Wade were fully realized, Illinois was proactive, upholding bodily autonomy and protecting the right to an abortion,” Stratton testified. “And still, the overturning of Roe v. Wade has sent us down a dark, agonizing path.”

In his opening statement, Sen. Dick Durbin, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the Supreme Court decision “the first time in America’s history that the Supreme Court has revoked a constitutionally protected right.”

Stratton’s appearance in Washington comes as 10 states have already banned abortions, and Illinois remains in the spotlight as a place for women to seek reproductive care. More bans are expected in the coming weeks.

Stratton, a mother of four daughters, is also featured in a Gov. J.B. Pritzker reelection campaign TV ad that began airing this week in which she appears with abortion rights supporters to tout the protections signed into law by Pritzker in anticipation of the Roe v. Wade reversal.

She said patients are coming to Illinois from every surrounding state to seek care but also from states like Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida.

Stratton testified that Pritzker has asked President Joe Biden for more access to federal funds to support the demand of women coming into the state for reproductive health care and to create a centralized hub for providers and patients to ease the burden on abortion care providers in Illinois.

Tina Sfondeles has more on Stratton’s testimony here.

More news you need

  1. Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy who was left paralyzed after being shot in the Highland Park Fourth of July parade mass shooting, now needs further, complex surgery, as his condition has worsened. The boy is again back in critical condition after having shown some improvement Friday, according to his family.
  2. Three people were injured in a fire in Little Village early this morning, including an 89-year-old man and a 12-year-old boy. The cause of the fire was still under investigation as of this afternoon.
  3. The long-awaited federal racketeering trial of Chicago Ald. Edward M. Burke has been set for November 2023, giving the city’s longest-serving City Council member an opportunity to seek reelection while facing federal criminal charges — again. The feds’ case against Burke has lingered for more than three years, thanks in large part to the pandemic and a mountain of pretrial motions filed in August 2020 that were only ruled upon last month.
  4. For his latest column, our Neil Steinberg sat down with Chicagoan Edith Renfrow Smith, who will celebrate her 108th birthday on Thursday. “Just remember, this is a wonderful world, and you need to take care of it,” Ms. Renfrow Smith says.
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A bright one

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater celebrates Quincy Jones in outdoor musical program

For its fifth appearance in the Chicago Park District’s “Night Out in the Parks” program, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater pays tribute to legendary musician, composer, arranger and record producer Quincy Jones with a new work, titled “Q After Dark.”

The 10-member professional company is teaming with nearly the same number of singers and musicians for its largest-scale offering ever as part of the outdoor summer series. Performances continue July 21 at Palmer Park and July 27 at the South Shore Cultural Center, the latter featuring a slightly longer program and additional musical forces.

While these productions on open-air stages don’t allow for the same polished feel of an indoor performance venue with tightly controlled lighting and scenic effects, artistic director Nicole Clarke-Springer believes these settings have their own distinctive appeal.

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater artistic director Nicole Clarke-Springer and music director Sam Thousand are helming the company’s “Q After Dark” production for the park district’s “Night Out in the Parks” summer program.

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater artistic director Nicole Clarke-Springer and music director Sam Thousand are helming the company’s “Q After Dark” production for the park district’s “Night Out in the Parks” summer program.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

“What I’m excited by,” she said, “is the idea of having that outdoor-festival feel to it, where everyone can bring their picnic baskets and blankets and just enjoy dance under the stars. And let that be environment and speak for itself.”

Deeply Rooted marked its 25th-anniversary last year as one of Chicago’s top dance companies, with a distinctive contemporary style that melds ballet and modern dance with African and African American dance.

“We work to be clean technicians in our artistry,” Clarke-Springer said, “but our niche is that we have incredible storytellers. Yes, we are a Black dance company, but we allow a space for everyone to see themselves inside the stories that we tell.”

Kyle MacMillan has more with the company here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What Chicago-set TV show gets it right when it comes to depicting our city?

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

Yesterday, we asked you: What local Chicago event are you most looking forward to before the end of the summer?

Here’s what some of you said…

“As every year since ‘67, standing on the Shore, waiting for the alewives to return.” — Jack Barth

“White Sox game with my brother.” — Alan Szablewski

“Taste of Greektown.” — Stan F Hill

“Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest!” — Dennis Fritz

“Taste of Polonia — especially since I moved within walking distance. Pierogi all day!” — Cheryl Wisniewski

“Burgerfest this weekend!” — Eric Janzen

“Taylor Street Italian Fest.” — Cathy Alletto

“Ducky Derby, Air and Water Show” — and hopefully just getting to dine outdoors and hang out with my kids.” — Sharon Brady

“African Festival of The Arts. Washington Park Labor Day Weekend.” — Norman Littlejohn

“The first day of school because these kids is outta control 😆😫.” — Ron Willis Jr.

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

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