Street vendors cover the city for Día de las Madres, 4 charged in fatal shooting of officer and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

SHARE Street vendors cover the city for Día de las Madres, 4 charged in fatal shooting of officer and more in your Chicago news roundup
Nancy León (izquierda), de 40 años, y su socia María Magaña, de 28, ambas de Englewood, venden arreglos florales para el Día de las Madres el martes 9 de mayo de 2023.

Nancy León (left), 40, and her business partner María Magaña, 28, both from Englewood, sell Mother’s Day flower arrangements at their stand on South Western Avenue and West 51st Street, yesterday.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about an eight-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

— Matt Moore (@MattKenMoore)

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Top story

On Día de las Madres, Chicago street vendors sell flowers and chocolates to passing cars

At 12 years old, Yulissa Martínez would join her mom to sell flowers every year around this time. Now a 25-year-old college student, Martinez has her own business selling flowers and chocolate-covered strawberries.

She is one of several vendors out in force today, as Mother’s Day is celebrated in the Mexican, Guatemalan and El Salvadoran communities.

“It’s just a very special day for Mexicans and Central Americans,” said María Magaña, who sells flowers in Gage Park. “ … It’s a good opportunity for us to be able to honor this day for moms.”

An undocumented student in her junior year studying accounting at Northeastern Illinois University, Martinez usually sells flowers with other members of her church, Cristo Es El Rey in Little Village.

“It’s amazing to share with people and then share their dreams,” she said of selling flowers with other church members. “It gives you hope and it gives you motivation to be humble because there’s always people who are in need.”

Five years ago, Magaña and friend Nancy León sold flowers on the side with Magaña’s family as a way to make extra money. They later quit their full-time jobs to start their own flower stand near 51st and Western.

Magaña said that they sometimes sell at different locations, but they’ve been preparing to be back at their usual spot today. Their day starts at 6 a.m. and can last until 10 p.m., or whenever their stock sells out. León estimates that they’ll make over $7,000 in sales by Sunday, making this time of year one of the busiest.

For the last 10 years in Little Village, uncle and nephew Miguel Bustos and José Núñez have been selling flowers and teddy bears with family members. Núñez, whose wife runs the business, said they sell exclusively on special days like Valentine’s Day and Mexican Independence Day. They also set up shop during street festivals.

“Many celebrate,” Bustos said. “Some might make an altar in their house dedicated to their moms following Mexican or Latin customs. And they come here to buy their flowers.”

More with these street vendors on this Día de las Madres from our Ambar Colón. We’ve also got a Mother’s Day interactive you can check out here.


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A bright one ✨

Globetrotting doll lands in Chicago for ‘Mexico Week’

Jaime Ortiz, a downtown worker of Mexican descent, found the “usually empty” Daley Plaza near his office transformed into something like the plazas his family knew abroad on Tuesday, alive with music, dance and even a 13-foot tall doll.

Ortiz, 27, headed to the square at Washington and Dearborn streets after seeing a clip on social media of his niece and nephew, both performers in a local Mexican dance troupe, preparing to take the stage.

Growing up in Pilsen, he knew pockets of Chicago celebrated Mexican culture, but seeing the downtown fiesta felt like a level of recognition he had never known before.

“There was always Cinco de Mayo, but seeing something like this in Daley Plaza,” he said, trailing off. “As opposed to 20 years ago, it just feels happier.”

Members of Toui Ballet Folklorico from the Richard Edwards Elementary School pose with La Muñeca Lele during a celebration of Mexico Week at Daley Plaza in the Loop, Tuesday, May 9, 2023.

Members of Toui Ballet Folklorico from the Richard Edwards Elementary School pose with La Muñeca Lele during a celebration of Mexico Week at Daley Plaza in the Loop yesterday.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The event was part of the Mexico Week festivities organized by the Mexican consulate in Chicago to promote unique Mexican traditions and celebrate ties between the city and the U.S.’s southern neighbor.

The city has long been a haven for Mexican immigrants and today, more than 200,000 residents of Chicago were born in Mexico, according to an analysis of 2020 census data by demographer Rob Paral, far more than any other country.

The downtown event included performances by the Ballet Folklorico from a Southwest Side school, solo mariachi singing from a recent CPS graduate and a troupe specializing in Aztec dances. Representatives from the Mexican consulate and CPS CEO Pedro Martinez, who was born in Mexico, also spoke to the dozens gathered to watch the performances and to see the enormous doll — Lele, a globetrotting mascot for the Mexican state of Queretaro — brought by the consulate.

“We want to celebrate the many cultures that our children have across our district,” Martinez said. “It’s what makes Chicago so special.”

More on Lele and upcoming “Mexico Week” celebrations from our Michael Loria.


From the press box 🏒⚾️🏈🏀


Your daily question☕

What’s something that’s definitely on your Chicago to-do list this summer?

Email us (please include your first and last name) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What’s something every neighborhood in Chicago should have?

Here’s some of what you said...

“A fine arts center.” — Bill Figel

“A corner bar, a diner, and an Italian beef joint.” — Jan Smid

“Access to clean water, food, decent schools, a safe place for kids to play.” — Missy Biggerstaff

“Ice cream and a good park.” — Tom G. Wojcik

“A dog park, a little free Library, a splash pad, a lending shed filled with tools and paint and stuff to borrow. And more love.” — Adrienne Varvil

“A tavern, a mom-and-pop grocery/deli, a savings and loan and an Italian beef joint.” — Greg Berezewski

“Good schools.” — Samantha Schneider

“Local-owned shops and restaurants. A good park, some kind of charity that helps people when they are having a hard time, access to good medical care and politicians who care about people.” — Tom Krajecki

“Easily walkable access to good public transit.” — Percy Hatcherson

“Street lights that actually work.” — Michael P. Murphy

“Economy that employs the community that it’s in. Clean, healthy food that’s not near its expiration date. City services that our tax dollars are paying for. Schools that actually teach useful information that we’ll actually use in our lives.” — Kobi Michael Jones

“Community garden. Health clinic. Neighborhood schools fully resourced. Affordable housing. Mental health services. Grocery stores with fresh produce.” — Pamela Cytrynbaum

“A place where kids and teens to go and have fun.” — April Smith

“Clean air.” — Samantha Schneider

“A swimming pool, a library, a bakery, a cafe, a bike repair and sales shop, a walking/ running/ bike trail, an exercise gym, a park with trees, lots of trees and flowers on the streets, a skateboard park, basketball hoops, a book/music store.” — Susan Basko


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