Chris Kennedy is making political oratory great again.
The Chicago businessman and candidate for Illinois governor gave a speech rich with imagery at the Special Olympics Chicago fundraiser Monday. He was the honoree.
Looking out at the crowd of a thousand guests at Carnivale restaurant, Kennedy talked about family and faith. Those who remember the cadence of his late father’s voice heard it in his son’s.
“I’m an immigrant to Chicago,” the Boston-raised Kennedy said. “I’m a convert. And there’s no faith as strong as a faith of a convert. Chicago is a place where success is measured not by what you take from the city but by what you’ve given back to the community.
“If you’re lucky to live in Chicago long enough, you understand it’s more than an amalgamation of three parts — the South Side, West Side or North Side. It’s more than a collection of 77 neighborhoods. It’s filled with smaller communities. Hundreds of them. And within them, there are tribes and clans and most importantly, individual families.”
Kennedy went on to list mostly Irish friends and families who are part of Chicago’s fabric — the Burkes and the Daleys among them. He gave a nod to labor unions, police and firefighters, and “the park district playing fields of the 1960s” where Special Olympics began.
He even added some humor to his 10-minute speech. When an alarm went off behind him, Kennedy commented on the technical mishap, saying, “I feel like I’m at the Oscars.”
Cynics will say Kennedy was chosen as an honoree because he’s running for office.
But Anne Burke, the Illinois Supreme Court justice, called him a natural pick. She co-founded Special Olympics with Kennedy’s aunt, the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and remembers a 9-year-old Chris Kennedy attending his first event in support of Special Olympics.
The event raised $100,000 for Special Children’s Charities/Special Olympics Chicago.
Chef Tony Hu on kitchen duty?
Chicago restaurateur and chef Tony Hu, who pleaded guilty last year to felony fraud and money laundering, has started serving his one-year prison term.
The founder of Lao Sze Chuan, one of Chicago’s most notable Chinese restaurants, was ordered to surrender to authorities Feb. 16. He’s moved into his new home at a medium-security federal correctional institution in Terre Haute, Indiana.
No word on whether he’ll be assigned to kitchen duty. “I hope for the inmates’ sake that he is,” said a federal source familiar with the case.
Ivanka’s winning on Michigan Avenue
The owner of jewelry store Marshall Pierce & Co. says sales of Ivanka Trump‘s jewelry haven’t been affected by her father’s election.
“My clients seem to like her,” says Jerry Bern, owner of the only independent jeweler in Chicago selling Trump’s high-end collection.
Bern declined to reveal sales figures but acknowledges he’s seen business “pick up” since the election.
In fact, he says, he just sold a Liberte oval diamond drop necklace, a signature piece from the Trump jewelry line. It’s listed at $3,960.
In an email, Bern describes it as “Really pretty!”
His exclamation mark follows news in recent weeks that Nordstrom would stop carrying the Trump fashion line because of weak sales.
Bern, who attended President Donald Trump‘s inauguration, calls the move unfortunate and says the jewelry is helping drive traffic at his store. He’s even moved the display from a corner to the center of the showroom.
Staying home from New Trier
New Trier High School’s seminar day examining civil rights has gone off without a hitch. No numbers yet on attendance, but the auditorium seating was nearly filled.
At least one family, however, chose not to send their student to school.
Robert Blackwell Jr., a Chicago entrepreneur and friend and supporter of President Barack Obama, says his daughter stayed home.
While the school took some heat from conservative parents who thought the curriculum leaned too far left, Blackwell worried the content just wasn’t appropriate. He lives on the South Side and his daughter lives on the North Shore with her mom.
Blackwell said negative images were being reinforced, and he pointed to a session called “Blackenomics 101,” based on a rap song that uses the N-word.
“This session tells white teenagers that blacks need to express themselves through vulgarity and violence,” he said.
Blackwell is chairman of EKI-Digital, which helps companies monetize technology investments, and he’a chairman of Killerspin table-tennis company.
Keynote speakers were Colson Whitehead, who wrote “The Underground Railroad,” and Andrew Aydin, who with U.S. Rep. John Lewis, co-authored “March.”
Read more Taking Names at shiakapos.com.