Note from Alderman
Celebrate Black History Month this February!
Locally, the City moved to celebrate Black History Month with the Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards, where we heard testimony and voted earlier this week to approve at the full City Council, an ordinance granting landmark status to the childhood home of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley.
Emmett Till was a 14 year old boy from the Woodlawn neighborhood in Chicago, who was visiting relatives in Mississippi in 1955 when he was abducted from his bed in the middle of the night by two white men who accused Till whistling at a white woman. Those men proceeded to beat and shoot him in the head, then dumped his body into the Tallahatchie River. They were never held accountable for the murder.
Naomi Davis, founder and CEO of Blacks in Green, just purchased the childhood home of Emmett Till in October and is rehabbing the home with the intent to create an international heritage museum called The Till-Mobley Great Migration Museum, Garden and Theater. The not for profit organization is working to raise $11 million to rehab the home and build out the museum.
Ms. Davis and the City landmarks division worked with Preservation Chicago to landmark Emmett Till’s Woodlawn Residence in order to recognize and honor his memory, and the civil rights movement that he helped to inspire. The landmark designation passed the full City Council on Wednesday. (Read the original 2006 Landmark Designation Report with photos and detailed history of the Emmett Till story) Other efforts will be undertaken to designate the home of Emmett Till as a national historic landmark.
President Biden is working on a renewed effort to put Harriet Tubman on the US $20 bill after it was shelved by the last administration. There are different designs for the bill that will be considered. Harriet Tubman was enslaved, escaped, and helped others gain their freedom as a “conductor" of the Underground Railroad. The USD20 bill was scheduled to be released in 2020 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
Covid vaccine rollout per the CDC is proceeding slowly as the City and State of Illinois look to get more vaccines from the federal government. In the meantime, be extra aware of vaccine scammers. Scammers may pretend they are from WHO, CDC, CDPH or IDPH. Vaccines are free and will eventually be available to all people. If you are concerned about anyone attempting a scam, shut them off, and call 911 for assistance.
Thanks to the 14th District for co-hosting the carjacking panel discussion this week with us and the 1st Ward. Another public meeting will take place with Ald. Smith and the 18th District February 2nd. Sign up here. There will also be a Feb 2nd discussion by state legislators on the crime bill they passed last week in an open public forum. Details are listed below for the state crime bill virtual meeting.
The latest vaccine update from CDPH is included in this newsletter. Last week, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and CDPH announced details of the plan to vaccinate thousands of teachers and staff under phase 1b of the city’s vaccination plan. However, there are still outstanding issues of concern by the teachers union and the CPS approach to a return to schools. If you are a parent, check your email for messages from CPS and/or your principal for up to date information.
Alderman Scott Waguespack