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Chicago’s Residents Fight Segregation Together

Claudette is inspired by positive thinking that she tries to share with as many people as possible to give them hope for the future.

How Does Redlining Effect Homeownership in Chicago and Other Areas?

The issue of redlining is important because numerous people today due to their race cannot own homes which is a part of building wealth for families. While driving through the city of Chester, Pennsylvania where a major portion of underprivileged African Americans reside where l also previously resided. l can see the difference in lightning, sidewalk, roads and lack of businesses. Within a few miles outside of Chester spacious homes, lawns are green and businesses are in abundance. Why is this a problem and is this an old practice that effects minority homeownership today?

On the award winning series of #CBS This Morning news Anchor Tony Dokoupil discovered the answer about redlining in Chicago through a potent interview by news Correspondent Adriana Diaz. Tony began his interview by stating, “Our series A More Perfect Union aims to show that what unites us as Americans is far greater that what divides us. This morning we will show you a new approach to bridging divides in Chicago. Neighborhoods from the city’s north and south side are banding together to take on some very deeply rooted issues. The difference between these communities that are stark but as Adriana Diaz shows us together they are tackling segregation and the inequities that come with it.” Video was shown of a black woman named Nannette Tucker and a white man named Wade Wilson sitting at a distance from one another fully masked for their protection during this #pandemic.

Adriana Diaz continued by explaining, “Chicago residents Nanette Tucker and Wade Wilson share a love of gardening and craft beer. They’re like neighbors sort of. Wade is called your #map twin. Why are you guys called map twins?” Both Wade and Nanette laugh casually as she explains, “ We’re twins because when you fold the map, we touch one another on the map. north and south.” With an intriguing look Adriana peers deeply into what Nanette and Wade meant. “Like many, Chicago is a grid with many streets spanning north to south. If you fold a map of the city in half you can match addresses on the north side with the same block on the south side. You lived all your life never thinking you had a twin. And now?” Adriana asked with a discerning smile? Nanette and Wade laughed as well. Nanette responded joyfully, “Now l have one.”

The interview was continued by Adriana where she discovered, “They live about fifteen minutes apart but Wilson and his wife Jennifer live in the majority white north side neighborhood of Edge Water while Tucker is in the mostly black south side neighborhood of Englewood.“ Diaz then asked, “How would you explain the differences between both of your neighborhoods which are essentially equal distance from the center but many worlds apart in many ways.” Nanette reminded people of the differences between her neighborhood and Wade’s by explaining, “It’s very clear that neighborhoods primarily on the north side have had more investment. Everything from the street lighting, the grocery stores and restaurants is plentiful on the north side and its not here. It’s almost like you feel a light come on at a certain spot when you’re going north. And when you’re coming back south you can feel the gloom that’s upon us in Englewood.”

Adriana mentioned how Wade and Nanette met to discover these differences within their neighborhoods. “They met through Tonika Lewis Johnson a Social Justice Artist who grew up in Engelwood a community often in the news.” Video was shown from various top news stories about Englewood’s community, “Two mass shootings. Shot in the head this afternoon. Drive-by shooting that claimed the life of a 15 year old boy in west Englewood.”

Diaz revealed who introduced the mapping system, “Lewis Johnson created the folded map project which included this film to change the conversation. She contrast how the same street like Ashland Avenue...” A video was shown to prove as Tonika knowledges the sidewalks as well as the buildings are better maintained. “None of which have nothing to do with gun violence. Only disinvestment.” Adriana revealed the real problem by mentioning, “ Chicago’s segregation is due in part to racist policies like #redlining where banks would designate properties in minority areas delineated in red as too risky for mortgage lending. Excluding black Americans from a primary pathway to building wealth, homeownership.“ Lewis continued as she explained in a disgusted tone, “You have neighborhoods that are predominantly black that have low homeownership as a result of discriminatory practices. Businesses left so you don’t have a business corridor so there you have no jobs. And now the schools are starting to fall because they aren’t properly funded.“

Now that the problems and issues have been addressed concerning segregation through redlining in Chicago was a solution given? Adriana described this solution given by Lewis Johnson, “Her solution, bring the north and the south together with map twins. It can feel so overwhelming to try to take on systemic racism but you have found a way to almost chip away at it one person at a time. One pair at a time?” With a broad smile Lewis responded, “Yes. Let’s use segregation as the actual thing that can connect us.” Adriana goes in detail about how uncomfortable this discussion can be but Lewis tackled it head-on, “In her project she doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable truths.“ Nanette and Wade was asked realistic questions concerning the true estimated values of their homes today? Nanette said, “61,000.” Wade responded that his house was worth about “535,000.” The comparison of what each of them paid for their house and the value today made Adriana feel awkward. Once again location, location, location was for the privilege. Wade Wilson stated while drinking his cup of coffee, “Frankly we’re privileged and it’s hard to sit next to a friend who hasn’t enjoyed that privilege. We realize that there is an opportunity to actually do something.” Adriana acknowledged, “ Wilson and Tucker are doing something together. Three years after they met through the folded map project with others they created Englewood Renaissance which is helping beautify parts of Englewood and is now focusing on increasing home ownership here.“ Nanette admitted, “Creating a community together. The economics might be different. The neighborhoods might be different but the core of who l am is pretty much the same as Wade and Jennifer. I wanted the same things they want.”

The major differences between Nanette‘s property in comparison to Wade’s property was consciously awkward. It is only my hope in the Kingdom or rulership Jesus taught us to pray for at Matthew 6:9,10 where we pray that Jehovah God’s “will be done on earth as it is in heaven.“ There is no redlining or segregation in heaven. When those same kind of conditions exist on earth as in heaven segregation or prejudices will no longer exist. What an amazing time that will be for all mankind.

Residents Join Together in Chicago to Fight Against Segregation For Housing

Adriana Diaz talked about awkwardness, “Excluding black Americans from a primary pathway to build wealth, homeownership.” Lewis Johnson went on to explain, “l think the awkwardness helps people understand how we’re all participating in this system that was created before us. And it doesn’t truthfully reflect how we want to connect with each other today.”

— News Correspondent Adriana Diaz and Tonika Lewis Johnson, Social Justice Artist

A comparison of the value of real estate in white vs black communities. Reparation is now considered as a solution in Chicago.

A comparison of the value of real estate in white vs black communities. Reparation is now considered as a solution in Chicago.

A Reparation Program Established in a Chicago Suburb Might Set a Precedent

On CBS This Morning news anchor Vladmir Duthiers introduced a report which explained, “A Chicago suburb is the first city in the nation to offer reparation money to black residents who suffered decades of racist government policies. The Evanston City Council approved $400,000 in grants to black residents. Those who are eligible will receive up to $25,000 each in housing grants, down payments and mortgage payments. In order to get the cash they must prove that they were subjected to housing discrimination by the city government between 1919 and 1969.”

During the news segment Vladimir mentioned there was an objection to this reparation program by, “Council member Cicely Flemin who voted against the measure. She argued it set a weak example for future reparations.“ Councilwoman Flemin expressed, “What we are missing here is allowing the people to dictate the terms how they repaired. There is no autonomy for a community that was harmed. Instead of cash payments or other options that respect the humanity and self determination of black people. It allow them to determine best to repair themselves. The housing program is restrictive.” Vladimir acknowledged, “Councilwoman Flemin also argued because the money goes directly to contractors or the banks its probably not the best way to do it but others say this is a model that maybe we can see nationwide.”

Anchors Gayle King, Tony Dokoupil and Anthony Mason all agreed that this was a start to improve the lives of individuals within the black community who were affected by the racist practices through various governmental officials. Anthony made this powerful statement, “It’s taken so many years just to get people to recognize that property is wealth and wealth is a cushion against everything that life brings. And black residents have not built the same wealth as white residents because of these policies. These decades of policies at the state, federal and local levels. So this is just one little bit of the local but there is so much more to do.” l agree along with the anchors of CBS This Morning that this is a start and we pray the people who have suffered from these discriminatory practices will receive these grants. This is “...a good step forward,” said Tony.

Memories of my Husband Were Lessened in Chicago through Food, Fun and Entertainment

There were plenty of things to do in #Chicago, Illinois. I stayed busy which helped with the memories of my husband Walker, who has been dead for two years. My daughters, Wanisha and Jaleesa along with my son-law Mo and sister Paulette, drove more than twelve hours in an attempt to stop our hearts from hurting so much. On the way, we played oldies by the Temptations, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and James Brown. We danced in our seats and sang along with these talented artists. One song that we sang was Ribbons In the Sky by Stevie Wonder. This song brought back memories since this was our wedding song as my husband and I walked down the aisle more than 33 years ago. Yes. These are my memories that I share with family and friends but no longer with Walker. We continue to create memories in such locations as Chicago. Life goes on as we experience beautiful sights, food, shopping, and entertainment.

Chicago, Illinois has a rich history. Wikipedia explained how it "has played a central role in American economic, cultural and political history and since the 1850s the city has been one of the most dominant Midwest metropolises..." Chicago's real estate is booming along with its population. The city's growth is apparent through "the nation's rail center and the dominant Midwestern center for manufacturing, commerce, finance, higher education, religion, broadcasting, sports, jazz, and high culture." Chicago is a major transportation hub and tourists location. We stayed downtown at the Hampton Inn Suites which gave us access to a variety of restaurants, high-end stores and expensive real estate. With all its flaws the city is still amazing to visit.

We left around 5:00 am from Pennsylvania and arrived in Chicago thirteen hours later. It was dinner time we all wanted #Mexican, the XOCO Mexican restaurant was only a few blocks from our hotel. This four and a half star restaurant is located at 449 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois. The food was scrumptious which consist of authentic tacos, churros, fabulous sandwiches, and delish soups. We were exhausted after dinner so we retired for the evening.

Thai Food at Jimmy's along with Shopping and Dinner at Ruth Chris Steakhouse

Wednesday, June 21st was the date Walker was killed. It was more than two years ago. Each of us cried as we remembered why we were here and what we wanted to remember and forget. It was time to get busy for the day to help the heart feel better. My spiritual children Roxanne and Joel, who currently reside in Chicago, arrived at our hotel. Zenda and her son Marcus who lives outside of Chicago arrived as well. For lunch, we ate at Jimmy's Thai restaurant. The food consisted of spicy ramen noodles with seafood, chicken, and beef. Immediately after lunch, we went shopping at Macy's which was having a closing sale that was spectacular. Afterward, we toured the expensive #real-estate with its yacht clubs, aqua colored water, and jazz clubs. Dinner that evening was amazing. We went to Ruth Chris Steak House, located at 431 N Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois. Without a doubt, this was the best steak I have ever had. The side dishes were excellent as well. The lobster mac and cheese was filled with succulent meat and cheese. This restaurant earned its four-point four stars. It was an uplifting day that kept the sad memories away.

Chicago Botanical Gardens and Michael Jordan's Steakhouse for Dinner

On Saturday, we were able to see the magnificent #Chicago Botanic Garden. Within the brochure, it states that "The Garden is a 385-acre living plant museum. The flowers, trees, and shrubs are here as exhibits for everyone to enjoy." It is filled with "landscaped gardens displaying millions of plants and flowers in a variety of settings." The Botanic Garden has 27 spectacular gardens with 2.5 million plants and is located at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, Illinois. Various lakes, flowing fountains "About 5.7 miles of shoreline encircles the Garden's lakes, so it is not surprising that the Garden is keenly interested in protecting its shoreline soils and enhancing aquatic habitat." We spotted at least two weddings being performed within these tremendous creations of beauty. Unique plants and shrubs with bonsai trees that were 100-1000 years old. This garden was awe-inspiring and unforgettable.

After our tours of the botanical gardens, we went to #Michael Jordan's Steakhouse, located at 505 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. This four-point four-star restaurant was like a resplendent venue filled with captivating lighting, marble columns, and walls where weddings, gathering, and events can be held. The prices range from $30-$50 with special features of Jordan's that cost over $100. On their website a description was given as to their purpose by "Focusing on seasonal ingredients, pure bold flavors, and authentic hospitality, we elevate the classic steak house experience to the Michael Jordan level in a warm and energizing environment." Their desserts, soups, and side dishes are also yummy. After we left the restaurant my children along with their cousin Spencer, who resides in the area as well went to Cirque du Soleil. They described it as an amazing performance that they thoroughly enjoyed. Our Saturday adventure was a unique experience and I look forward to returning in the future.

Our Final Day in Chicago we went to the Kingdom Hall and Gary, Indiana to visit the Jackson Family Home

The final day of our trip to Chicago had arrived. It was time to start our long journey back home. On the way home, we stopped for religious refreshment at the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, one location is 1301 N. Mohawk Street, Chicago, Illinois. The speaker gave a vibrant spiritual talk concerning our wonderful hope for the future where no sickness, death, pain or sorrow will exist on earth in the future. This special talk went nicely with the Watchtower article we discussed entitled, "Uphold the Truth About Death." This article was so powerful and appropriate as it mentioned, "Satan lies about #death exploit the way we naturally feel about death. Because we were created to live forever, we do not want to die. (Eccl 3:11) 'He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has even put eternity in their heart; yet mankind will never find out the work that the true God has made from start to finish.' We consider death an enemy." These words touched my heart because I know based on the Bible why I have such tremendous pain in my heart two years later because death is an enemy and is not normal. I will always love and miss Walker but I know just as Jesus was resurrected, my dear husband will be also in the future. I gain tremendous comfort from that.

One of our stops on the way home was for chilli dogs in Indiana. We decided to go see the Jackson family home located in Gary, Indiana. We were shocked to see that the previously posted pictures of what was once desribed as Michael Jackson's home has now been stripped of statues and signs. There is nothing at the 2300 Jackson Street location that reminds you that at one time that very talented family lived there. I assume after the documentary #Leaving Neverland, all reminders of the Jackson family were removed. l was truly disappointed that nothing remained regarding memories of this very talented family. Remove Michael Jackson's name if you must but a beautiful history about such family members as #Janet Jackson and the Jackson brothers continue. We would never want to punish the entire family for Michael's mistakes. Please can we learn to show love and respect toward each other rather than being judgmental about the entire family. Remember "God is love." (1 John 4:8,20)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Claudette Coleman Carter

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