Beyond Borderlines: Pilsen’s Environmental Justice Reparations and Reforms

By Nina Lopez and Leslie Montoya

Environmental issues such as water contamination are the results of poor company human and environmental ethics, and the EPA in is joining an alliance with the City of Chicago to coordinate monitoring and establishing a better plan to clean up and keep Pilsen clean.

Blue Island Produce Inc. 2320 S Blue Island Ave – Photo by Leslie Montoya

Diego Sandoval, a student attending Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, located in Little Village, explains how his high school has made contributions in decreasing these environmental issues.

Sandoval spoke about how his school and science teacher recently planted a garden in the back of the school building “as a way to get us involved,” he states. The school’s faculty encouraged the students to make time during the school day to go outside and plant in the garden.

Xochiquetzal Peace Garden, Pilsen – Photo by Leslie Montoya

According to Sandoval, “before the garden was made, the area was just a muddy, dirty hill. So the school made it into a playground and garden. The science teacher also wants to give students the vegetables that grow from the garden.”

In a recent reporting, 57,338 citizens of Chicago, we exposed to contaminated water.Continue reading “Beyond Borderlines: Pilsen’s Environmental Justice Reparations and Reforms”

Guy Fieri’s Top 11 Chicken Wing Spots in the U.S.A

As the semester approaches, the days get longer and the weather becomes warmer, summer in the Western Hemisphere is beginning to approach.

While college students race to register for their top pick courses for their final year in their undergraduate careers, there is an overwhelming amount of adventure that the summer offer.

As summer rolls around Students are so involved in preparing for the future as part of their routine and it becomes mundane. Since many students are turning 21 around the end of their junior year and the beginning of their senior year in college, there are many more opportunities to explore and get out and try things on your own.

After binge-watching Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on my couch when I was not at work this past spring break, I was inspired to check out Guy Fieri’s top chicken wing list.

With the amount of time that the summer offers, checking out the country’s best chicken wings can be something to plan ahead for now that we 21-year-olds can put on our bucket list and perhaps plan for the future.

Since summer is rolling around, I compiled an interactive Google MyMaps of Guy Fieri’s top 11 chicken wings places in the U.S.A. to start planning adventures and not guys school schedules for the following term.

Gentrification in Chicago’s Pilsen Neighborhood

Chicago is known for its historical gentrified neighborhoods, racism and corrupt politics that causes mass amounts of displacement.

Declining rates in public housing, education, and public service funding is an important debate in Chicago’s politics and the Pilsen neighborhood is no outlier.

The mostly Latino/Hispanic has attracted young college students from University Village and the recent renovations and small, hipster coffee shops have brought a new crowd of young almost middle-class adults.

Perhaps the recent surge in new Pilsen community residents, new businesses and the community rapidly change the neighborhood.

This neighborhood is made up of mostly lower class Latino/Hispanics and the influx in hipster taco joints displaces Ma and Pa spots. In addition, rent rises as more people outside of the Latino community move in from more middle-class backgrounds.

According to Chicago Mag, current Pilsen community polices are debating the rent increase in the neighborhood.

Check out this Google Timelapse to see the recent expansion of the Pilsen neighborhood throughout time.

Coming in quick: The Marijuana Industry

Whether you are in a state that has legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana, you could probably attest to the forest fire of conversation the legalization of marijuana has produced.

From the coffee shop around the corner to the political campaigns both nationally and locally, the legalization of marijuana has gained support from politicians and everyday people.

The political and ethical debate around marijuana is definitely in a different place than it was in the 80s.

Unlike the War on Drugs coined by our former President Ronald Reagan has turned into a multi-million dollar industry.

Even if you do or do not support marijuana usage for personal or economic reason, check out these interesting facts about the industry in Colorado from the Colorado Official State Web Portal.

Google Trends Assignment: Nike & Kaepernick in post-BLM Google searches, and Michael Cohen and Donald Trump in the last 30 days.

The lasting effects of the Black Lives Matter movement are carrying on into corporate American and Nike is risking it all to represent the fight against police brutality of mostly black lives.

Last week Nike Released their Dream Crazier ad highlighting women fighting back despite oppression they may face. It seems that it is not just celebrities tweeting hashtags for awareness, but even companies are standing behind post-Black Lives Matter politics.

Dream Crazier | Nike | Via Youtube

It is no shocker that Nike pulled in about 28 million views on their Dream Crazy ad on September 5th last year. The internet was filled with reactions to Nike representing Colin Kaepernick their message, their fight against violence on black bodies.

Dream Crazy | Nike | Via Youtube

From Tweets supporting the message to at home videos of people burning their Nike gear, the reaction was large.

Nike is a company that stresses innovation. Supporting the athlete who lost his career over fighting for what he believed in does not fall short from being innovative. Which is part of Nike’s company mission statement

Though Nike as a company may have put themselves at risk for supporting Kaepernick’s kneeling in response to systemic racist policing in our country (such as those burning shoes and other gear), they did so anyway.

It seems that the number of companies and celebrities supporting social justice resist groups and movements is revolutionary.

The graph above shows the dramatic increase in Google searches of Kaepernick and Nike around the release date of the Dream Crazy ad in September. High levels of interest on these topics prove the level of reaction, support, and even the backlash tied to the statement Nike made.

Large scale conversations about Kaepernick prove the ongoing levels of the post, Black Lives Matter politics in our society. Athletes, celebrities, politicians and even million dollar companies stand behind the going against the norm and “risking everything” for the fight in social justice.

There is an interesting amount of things going on within the courtroom and those who obtain social power. The last two months of 2019 there has been tremendous media coverage on Michael Cohen’s trail.

Cohen, whose hotel was raided by the FBI back in April last year now faces numerous charges. The last week of February Cohen faced trail where people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stood for questions in court just a week ago.

Michael Cohen stands on a trail before a courtroom of people facing multiple accusations. According to the Washington Post, last year Cohen pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws and other charges and even tax evasion. Cohen recalls this action to have influenced the presidential campaign of 2016.

This puts Donald at the forefront of discussion.

As a kind of divergent, while Cohen stood on trial last week, Donald Trump was meeting with Saudi Arabi.

According to the standing statement, the meeting was to discuss a $450 billion dollar deal with the Saudi’s purchase of U.S. military arms in order to create revenue and jobs according to Donald Trump. In addition, on Thursday Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a summit.

It is not wrong to say that the amount of Google searches within the last 30 days have increased for both Michael Cohen and Donald Trump. Check of this graph to see the spike in Google Search within the last two months for Cohen and Trump.

Chicago White Sox Game Attendance Since ’05

Whether you call it Comiskey Park, U.S Cellular Field, or Guaranteed Rate Field, all South Siders could agree that the suspense from the last play during the ’05 World Series left their hearts racing.

As a Chicago native raised in the South Side, 2005 was a monumental moment for my side of town. I could almost hear the fireworks going off in the distance like they did at U.S Cellular Field when the boys won at home games.

Recently, there have been billboards across the city advertising cheap tickets for White Sox games. Oftentimes, White Sox games are plugged by some reference to cheap tickets.

Dwindling attendance of Baseball games have been recently recording. According to Fortune, game attendance rates have dropped down to 6.6% during the 2018 year compared to prior years.

These attendance rate trends have been prevalent for the Chicago White Sox. The graph shows a 734,016 attendance total decrease in Chicago White Sox game attendance since 2005.

Perhaps the declines are a result of people losing love for the greatest American past time or maybe it is the result of the rebuilding and team construction going on.

According to ESPN, just this past January, the Chicago White Sox announced Frank Menechino as the new hitting coach. Last season (2018) statistics, the Chicago White Sox’s overall batting average declined 2.8 percentage points since 2008.

As the Chicago White Sox continue to make transactions for their team, their ride or die fans continue to support the game under the Chicago sun each season despite the drop in attendance numbers.

Check out this graph that tracks the overall attendance decrease since the Chicago White Sox won the World Series in 2005.

Image: Leslie E. Montoya

Hitting Left Recap: Floyd Webb, Susan Kerns, and Gordon Quinn (Episode No. 100)

Photo Via Hitting Left Facebook

First off, congrats to Mike and Fred on their 100th episode of Hitting Left this past Friday. I would like to take the time to say that I am extremely excited to have been interning just in time for such an important moment.

This Friday, the Klonsky brothers caught up with Floyd Webb, Susan Kerns, and Gordon Quinn on Hitting Left. According to my schedule, “the movie people.”

Our 100th episode happens to take place just in time before the 2019 Oscar Awards. Our guest offer insight into the film and other media representations that are crucial points of critical analysis.

Mike and Fred focus on the extremities of the power structure within the film and entertainment world.

In order to grapple with the representations of content and images, we must understand the historical context of film making and media.

Around this time last year, there was talk around the Oscar award nomination. There were no black actors represented in the nomination despite movies like Get Out and The Black Panther.

The controversy comes at a very interesting time in our social and political climate. Without beating around the bush, politics have become the center of our media and even pop culture.

By critically engaging in the politics of the entertainment world, it not hard to see the power structures that causes people to be jobless and marginalize the poor are the same practices that have historically kept blacks (and other minority groups) in the dust.

You have got to question pop culture and entertainment because there is some overarching power that keeps misrepresenting blacks on and off the scream. This power struggle is everywhere in and around our media today. In order to understand it, one must become critical, one must become uncomfortable.

Click here to listen to listen to the full episode.

Hitting Left Recap: Lisa Yun Lee and Sunny Fischer. (Episode No.99)

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting
Photo Via Hitting Left Facebook

Those Public Housing residents, which includes multiple tenement facilities and museums, wanted a place to home their history within a special place about 11 years back.

Lisa Yun Lee started at the Jane Adams homes in order to explore progressive politics that bounded both women and minorities that use creativity within the museum space that facilitate community conversation and involvement.

In order to go up-stream, Lisa Yun Lee states that we must look into ourselves and our history. This project is especially seeking to mediate spaces that particularly shed light and remember the history of Chicago Public Housing.

Spaces like the Jane Adams museum preserve experiences of public housing that dismantles the traditional narrative of the public sphere. This museum stresses the understanding of their position on the current land and the importance of acknowledging the historical truth about how these spaces came to exist.

Fred stated he believes that the city of Chicago is where community organizing began.

From Cabrini Green to recent high-rise building construction, Chicago presents a unique history of public housing. Historically gentrification and red-lining placed marginalized communities were the foreground of public housing critique.

What is extremely interesting is the power that the current lack of affordable housing in our city does to our communities. It seems like the political talk during the current mayor race focuses largely on affordable housing rather than public housing.

Lisa Yun Lisa explains the importance of digging deep into the intersectionality of violent experiences of communities as crucial points of examination. In order to truly critically analyze the current fight of social justice surround Chicago Public Housing, we must dig down into our experiences as individuals and connect them with the historical practices that have especially dismantle minority communities through strategic practices.

Click here to listen to the full episode.

Chicago Pride Parade Attendance

During the month of June, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community comes together to celebrate Pride month with a 4 mile- parade in the Northside neighborhood of Boystown.

Since the legalization of gay-marriage rights took off just a few years back, national gay pride has since flourished. By coming together on a Sunday under the Chicago summer sun, the LGBTQ+ community embraces their identities through this social event.

Openly embracing your culture in an environment like the Pride parade allows members of the LGBTQ+ community to feel a sense of togetherness with each other. People from all of the city and would come in together in unity to celebrate culture in an open and safe environment.

Throughout the years, LGBTQ activism and aware have been at the forefront of political campaigns and topics of discussion. Over the last 29 years, the estimated attendance at the Chicago Pride Parade The current graph shows the increased attendance of the Chicago Pride Parade from 1985 to 2014. The estimated attendance has an increase of from about 30,000 to roughly one million people.

Hitting Left Recap: Amisha Patel & Ben Joravsky (Episode No. 98)

Pictured (Left to Right): Ben Joravsky, Amisha Patel, and Michael Klonsky.

Two days after Chicago was colder than Antartica… and still no Fred.

I imagine his flight had been delayed and he was “stuck” in the warm weather of Puerto Vallarta. We hope you got to listen, Fred!

This Friday, February 1st, Hitting Left’s Mike Klonsky welcomed special guest Amisha Patel and Ben Joravsky filling in for our co-host, Fred. Ben Joravsky writes about Chicago politics for the Chicago Reader.

Having Ben on the show offered critical points regarding politics. Amisha also offers insight as she works for Grassroots Illinois Actions as a hands-on organizer and activist.

So, let’s get to the conversation. One that needs to be had. What are everyone’s thoughts on Chicago politics?

I mean, it is kind of a given. If you are from Illinois, you know the historically faulty politicians that call the shots in Chicago, are making decisions that directly cause an effect for the citizens of the city. Ben refers to the “mob mentality.”

Street renovation and urban planning in our City directly ignore the inequities faced by manly minority and low-income neighborhoods and political involvement may intervene in these spaces.

It is vital to have Amisha Patel present, as she works closely with the Grassroots organization here in Chicago.

The Grassroot Illinois Action functions as an organization that uses political involvement and implementation as one of their main strategies. Through community work in main the Humbolt Park neighborhood, GIA states that

“We set out to unite Chicagoans in an effort to build real independent political power in and for our communities. Together we can pursue a vision that values all of our city’s residents, all of our children, all of our neighborhoods.” (Via Grassroot Illinois Action, Facebook)

Interventions on local politics through communities based organization pose an interesting take on social movements on current issues.

Click here to listen to the full episode.

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