The push to protect transgender Illinoisans, lawsuit accuses CPD of false arrest 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.

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Iggy Ladden, a co-founder of Chicago Therapy Collective, stands in front of a mural in Andersonville honoring Elise Malary, a transgender activist who went missing and was found dead in Lake Michigan last year. “She believed that if trans people don’t have access to affirming jobs, that it’s impossible to have health and wellness,” Ladden says.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Good afternoon, Chicago. ✶

If you’ve stepped outside even for a moment today, you’ve probably noticed that we’re not dealing with a typical cloudy day. Things look — and smell — bad out there.

It’s all a result of Canadian wildfires. We’ve got a lot of smoke blowing in over the northern border, making Chicago’s air quality today the worst in the world. That’s right — we’ve got the least healthy air on the planet right now.

The hazardous air conditions are expected to continue into Wednesday morning before things start to improve. So we’ve listed a few ways to stay safe and avoid lung irritation, via the American Lung Association.

Now here’s some more news you need to know this afternoon.

⏱️: A 7-minute read

— Matt Moore, newsletter reporter (@MattKenMoore)


TODAY’S TOP STORY

Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community ‘visible, vibrant’ — but concerned for transgender members’ ability to live freely

Reporting by Tina Sfondeles

Coming to Chicago: Chicago is home to a growing number of transgender people who have moved here after the passage of anti-transgender laws in their home states. Illinois is swimming against the negative tide in a number of other states, which are passing legislation targeting transgender residents. The laws are among the key issues affecting Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community, according to advocates, service providers and members of the community who spoke with the Sun-Times.

Caring for the transgender community: Protection of the transgender community is a focal point for many Chicago advocates as red states continue to place restrictions on transgender people and their lives continue to be politicized. Illinois serves as a blue haven for those seeking gender-affirming care and for abortion care services, since Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the state’s Democratic supermajority Legislature have gradually expanded health care and helped protect the transgender community.

Hate is also an issue affecting many in the LGBTQ+ community, transgender residents in particular. This year alone, legislators approved a measure that protects health care providers who provide gender-affirming care and their patients from legal attacks by neighboring states. Another law allows businesses to create multioccupancy, gender-neutral bathrooms.

Issues affecting all Chicagoans: Members of the LGBTQ+ community who spoke with the Sun-Times also expressed concerns shared by many Chicagoans.

“If I could wave a magic wand and say that things could be better, one [would be] the issues that intersect with other communities. The issue of housing instability for our LGBTQ youth and seniors, in particular, those crosslink with other poverty issues,” said Tracy Baim, a veteran journalist and gay rights advocate.

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WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?

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Carlishia Hood attends a new conference Tuesday at the Bronzeville Law Group. A lawsuit claims Hood was falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted, causing her to suffer emotional distress. It seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

  • Lawsuit accuses Chicago cops of false arrest: A lawsuit accusing Chicago police of false arrest has been filed a day after murder charges were dropped against a mother and her 14-year-old son in the shooting of a man who attacked her at a South Side hot dog stand. The suit claims police sought charges against Carlishia Hood “for which they knew there was no probable cause,” saying video footage of the shooting “completely exculpated Carlishia Hood.”
  • Sentencing of former state Sen. Terry Link set for October: Link’s entanglement with the feds first became known in 2019, when the Sun-Times and other media reported he was the unnamed state senator who wore a wire against then-state Rep. Luis Arroyo. Link lied to reporters at the time and claimed it wasn’t him.
  • Mayor’s promise to double summer jobs program off to a slow start: Mayor Brandon Johnson campaigned on doubling the number of summer jobs available to Chicago’s youth. As the program kicks off, he still has a long way to go.

BRIGHT ONE ✨

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Kids sing along as El Hitta performs during the 10th annual This Is Life Youth Talent Showcase and Resource Expo Saturday in Englewood.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Fighting negativity, Englewood dance and music showcase puts youth talents front and center

Reporting by Kaitlin Washburn

About 50 kids put their many talents on display at a music and dance showcase Saturday afternoon in Englewood dedicated to shifting the narrative about Chicago’s youth from defeated to optimistic.

“We see all the negative news about death and turmoil, but here, we wanted to show our kids having fun and give them a chance to show off their talents,” said Natalie Manning, who co-founded the showcase with her son, Dorian Adams, when he was 11.

Attendees of this year’s 10th annual This Is Life Youth Talent Showcase & Resource Expo saw more than 20 performances from rappers and dance troupes whose members are all under the age of 21. The youngest performer was 6 years old.

Danielle King, whose daughter Danica performed at the showcase with the all-girl Bring Out Talent Dance Company, said practicing for such events helps the girls in the troupe learn “structure, hard work and the values of a sisterhood.”

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MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR 👋

Juan Carlos Silva, painter

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Juan Carlos Silva was a career military man before leaving his home country for the trek north. In Chicago, his talent for painting has fed his spirit and found fans.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Reporting by Emmanuel Camarillo

Juan Carlos Silva has sketched hundreds of faces.

When he left his native Venezuela in 2020, Silva earned money by drawing portraits of locals and tourists in the South American nations he visited in search of opportunity.

“With no work, no money, I survived on my art,” Silva said. “I started to draw in the public squares. I didn’t have anything else that I could do.”

He spent months in Colombia and Ecuador, passed through Brazil and Chile, carrying his art supplies with him. Seeing no chance for long-term prosperity in South America, Silva made the decision to make the arduous trek north to the United States.

Silva arrived in Chicago from San Antonio last month, becoming one of thousands of migrants the city has taken in since August. And as of last week, he’s also one of the hundreds of migrants who have had to spend nights sleeping on the floors of the city’s police stations. The 46-year-old former military man had been staying in the lobby of the Morgan Park District police station.

The discomfort has fueled his artistic spirit. Silva is lending his talents to the Edna White Community Garden, next door to the police station, volunteering to paint the garden’s sheds and benches. He’s also using the space to hone his craft, channeling his migration experience to create new works, thanks to the nearby community donating paint supplies.

“I think artists need to experience suffering to get the best out of them,” Silva said.

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YOUR DAILY QUESTION ☕️

What has the wildfire smoke been like in your neighborhood today?

Email us (please include your first and last name and where you live). To see the answers to this question, check our Morning Edition newsletter. Not subscribed to Morning Edition? Sign up here so you won’t miss a thing!


Thanks for reading the Sun-Times Afternoon Edition.

Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

Editor: Satchel Price

Newsletter reporter: Matt Moore

Copy editor: Angie Myers

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