Afternoon Edition: Migrants’ complicated search for housing in Chicago

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

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Mariser Fernandez walks down the street with her grandson and youngest daughter near their home in Brighton Park.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Good afternoon, Chicago. ✶

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, a bold, emotional and always-evolving genre that’s said to have started at a back-to-school backyard party in the Bronx.

Since then, hip-hop has changed the world, thanks to the innovations of artists in places like New York City, Atlanta and L.A.

But let’s not forget about Chicago’s contributions to the hip-hop movement.

Hip-hop would look and sound different if it weren’t for homegrown rappers and producers like Common, Twista, No I.D, Da Brat, Chief Keef, Noname, Saba — and, of course, Kanye West, with his complicated and problematic legacy.

If you’re looking to commemorate the occasion, LL Cool J is throwing a party at the United Center on Sunday. The rap legend will be joined by various hip-hop luminaries as part of the The F.O.R.C.E. Live tour, LL’s rolling hip-hop anniversary revue.

For a fully Chicago way to observe, head over to North Lawndale Saturday for the 16th annual Firefest Hip-Hop Block Party, where you can celebrate the genre’s past, present and future. See live graffiti painting, B-boy and footwork dance battles, DJ sets and performances from LaRussell, Brittney Carter and more.

Now here are the stories you need to know this afternoon.

⏱️: A 7-minute read

— Matt Moore, newsletter reporter (@MattKenMoore)


Venezuelan matriarch ‘catches a break’ in complicated search for housing for migrants

Reporting by Michael Loria

Navigating policy: Back in May, Mariser Fernandez, her husband, two grandchildren and two daughters arrived at a shelter in Chicago after crossing seven countries together — and being bused to the city from Texas. They were put out on the street just days later, after the shelter staff wouldn’t let her grandson inside without his mother, who had left to find work out of state.

A chance encounter: One day, while wandering Little Village, carrying her 2-year-old grandson, Fernandez met a woman on the street who happened to work for Little Village Community Council, a local nonprofit that’s been helping recent immigrant arrivals find housing. The council found the family a temporary apartment for May and June before moving them into their current apartment in Brighton Park.

The search for housing for migrants: Since last August, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began sending busloads of recent immigrant arrivals north, more than 12,000 immigrants have arrived in Chicago. As of early this month, around 7,000 remain in city shelters and police stations, but hundreds of families have begun moving into neighborhoods around the city.




The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the state’s assault weapons ban.

Seth Perlman/AP

  • State’s assault weapons ban upheld: Illinois’ highest court upheld the state’s ban on the sale of assault weapons in a 4-3 ruling today. The law bans the sale, delivery, import and purchase of guns that the law defines as “assault weapons.”
  • City planner resigns from Johnson administration: Rather than waiting for Mayor Brandon Johnson to decide whether to keep him, Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox is calling it quits. Cox, who led the Invest South/West initiative, is the third star of former Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Cabinet to walk away.
  • Limited ‘The Bean’ access: If you’re looking for a chance to see the good ‘ol bean-shaped Cloud Gate sculpture downtown, you’ll have to wait a few months, starting Tuesday. Access to and views of the attraction will be limited as Grainger Plaza undergoes construction.
  • Northwestern faced with another lawsuit: A suit filed by a former NU women’s lacrosse player alleges the university failed to protect her from a sexual assault last year by allowing her attacker to enroll in the school despite his history of sexual assault allegations.
  • Crayfish threaten local ecosystems: Red swamp crayfish are currently inhabiting the Chicago River and could be second only to Asian carp in terms of their invasiveness. Their presence in the river is a warning sign, experts say.



Parade participants dance along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive during last year’s Bud Billiken Parade. The annual back-to-school event steps off Saturday.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

🛼 Vocalo Summer Skate Party
Tonight, 6 p.m.
📍 McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Road
Admission: Free, skates provided on first come, first serve basis.
Roller skate to jams provided by DJs Cashera, Nudia Hernandez and Ayana Contreras. A dance floor will be open for all nonskaters.

🥳 The Bud Billiken Parade
Saturday, 10 a.m.
📍 Starts at 39th Street and Martin Luther King Drive, heads south through Washington Park and ends at Garfield Boulevard.
Chicago poet and Grammy winner J. Ivy is the grand marshal of the 94th Bud Billiken Parade, the annual event that kicks off the back-to-school season.

🫔 Hermosa Tamal Fest
Saturday, 10-4 p.m.
📍 Armitage and Keeler Ave
Head over to Hermosa for a one-day Latin American food festival featuring more than 30 food vendors serving tamales, arepas, empanadas, pupusas and much more.

🎶 My House Music Festival
Saturday and Sunday, 1-10 p.m.
📍 Harrison Park, 1824, S. Wood
Admission: $35+
This celebration of house music and community features Armand Van Helden, Derrick Carter, Bad Boy Bill, DJ Heather and more.

🎵 Northalsted Market Days
Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
📍 Halsted from Belmont to Addison
Admission: $20 suggested donation
This festival includes more than 250 vendors and music on five stages from performers like Betty Who, Crystal Waters, Shea Couleé and more.

😎 Sundays on State
Sunday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
📍 North State Street, from Lake Street to Adams Street.
Organizers will close the street to vehicles, and vendors will open booths for you to enjoy some food, drink and music at this downtown block party.


Sriracha shortage a chance to support Chicago-based hot sauce makers

Reporting by Ysa Quiballo

The sriracha shortage that began in 2020 has unfortunately stretched into 2023.

The original sriracha brand, Huy Fong Foods, has faced years of low chili pepper supply and production issues.

Until that issue is resolved, Chicago’s hot sauce scene has some worthy alternatives to do more than just tide you over until Huy Fong Foods resumes its spicy throne in the grocery aisle.

These are some of the best hot sauces, all made in and around Chicago, ranked on a heat scale of 1-5 chili peppers. A five-chili hot sauce will deaden your taste buds. Huy Fong’s sriracha is a 2.

  • All-Purpose Red Hot Sauce
    Cost: $7 for a 5-ounce bottle
    Made by Pickled Prince; available at Lincoln Cafe & Market, Belli’s, The Chunky Scone and Village Farmstand
    Heat scale: 1 🌶️
  • KFire Spicy Korean BBQ Sauce
    Cost: $8 for a 14-ounce bottle
    Made by KFire; also available at Here Here Market
    Heat scale: 2 🌶️🌶️
  • Jup’s Hot Sauce
    Cost: $10 for an 8-ounce bottle
    Made by Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods; available for purchase at the restaurant only
    Heat scale: 3 🌶️🌶️🌶️
  • Perdition
    Cost: $10 for a 5-ounce bottle
    Made by Soothsayer Hot Sauce; also available at Hexe Coffee Co., J.T.’s Genuine Sandwich Shop, and Totto’s Market
    Heat scale: 4 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️

Find a full list of hot sauces — plus reviews and where to find the bottles here.



What is one essential Chicago hip-hop track everyone should know?

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Editor: Satchel Price
Newsletter reporter: Matt Moore
Copy editor: Angie Myers

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