Dear Friends,

Throughout our nation’s history, the African-American community has played a vital role in shaping our culture, values and society. Despite the impact this community has had on our nation, their accomplishments and influence often go unrecognized.

While history classes teach our children about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, they often fail to mention other black historical figures who made great strides in many different fields of work. Bessie Coleman was the first female African-American aviator, who broke through socioeconomic and racial barriers to fly. Matthew Henson, born to sharecropper parents, was the first person to reach the geographic North Pole.

In order to tell the neglected stories of African Americans like Coleman and Henson and to recognize the individuals in this marginalized community who overcame their circumstances and helped build, fight and die for their country, our nation dedicates the month of February as Black History Month.

There are many events throughout Chicago celebrating Black History Month. A list of events open to the public is below.

Citywide Events

Film Screening: Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Friday, Feb. 1, 7-9 p.m.
Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University
40 Arts Cir Dr, Evanston, IL 60208
Summary of the film: This insightful, moving and visually breathtaking documentary offers a glimpse into the emotional geography of African-American lives in the South. For more information, click here.

Chicago History Book Club: The Black Panther Party
Saturday, Feb. 9, 10-11:30 a.m.
Edgewater Library
6000 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660
Chicago History Book Club discusses the history of The Black Panther Party through the following readings:
From the Bullet to the Ballot by Jakobi Williams
The Assassination of Fred Hampton by Jeffrey Haas
For more information, click here.

Film Screening: The Color of Art
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2-4:30 p.m.
The Dusable Museum of African-American History
740 East 56th Place, Chicago, IL 60637
Summary of the film: This documentary explores the present-day renaissance of black art in Chicago, centered on neighborhoods such as Bronzeville and organizations such as the South Side Community Arts Center and the Hyde Park Art Center. For more information, click here.

An Unforgettable Afternoon with Diane Williams
Sunday, Feb. 10, 2-4 p.m.
Sulzer Regional Library
4455 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Diane Williams is a Chicago poet and author who has published poetry, essays, fiction and dramas, and has performed in Chicago and New York City. She will be making a rare public appearance to celebrate Black History Month. For more information, click here.

Family Traditions: Stories with Mama Edie
Monday, Feb. 11, 5-5:45 p.m.
Chicago Bee Library
3647 S State St, Chicago, IL 60609
Renowned storyteller Mama Edie will read about kinfolk and African-American family traditions for children. For more information, click here.

Book Club: The Other Wes Moore
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 6-7 p.m.
Harold Washington Library Center
400 S State St., Chicago, IL 60605
The Other Wes Moore follows the story of two boys with the same name. In celebration of African American History Month, Harold Washington Library will be holding a discussion on the book. For more information, click here.

Black History Month Celebration at Loyola
Sunday, Feb. 24, 12:30-2:30 p.m.
Loyola Park
1230 W. Greenleaf Ave, Chicago IL 60626
This event will celebrate the rich heritage of African-American, African, and Caribbean families at the park. The program includes music, spoken words, historical remembrances and refreshments. The event is free to the public and for all ages. For more information, click here.

Loyola Park Advisory Council Black History Month Celebration
Sunday, Feb. 24, 12:30-2:30 p.m.
Loyola Park Fieldhouse
1230 W. Greenleaf Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
This free event will feature works of art by Chicago Public School students.

Author Elliot J. Gorn’s Discussion on Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till
Monday, Feb. 25, 6-7:30 p.m.
Harold Washington Library Center
400 S State St., Chicago, IL 60605
Author Elliott J. Gorn discusses his new book titled Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till. For more information, click here.

Kindred Spirits: Silk Screen T-Shirts
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Rogers Park Library
6907 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60626
Learn how to make a silk screen t-shirt to take home featuring an African-American Heritage-themed “Kindred Spirits” design. T-shirts will be provided for children. Registration is required. For more information, click here.

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement after the Senate voted to approve legislation that would raise the minimum wage in Illinois to $15 an hour by 2025.

“Raising the minimum wage in Illinois is a long overdue step that will help restore dignity to working families who are currently struggling to make ends meet, as wages are failing to keep up with the cost of living.

“Additionally, the current, insufficient minimum wage disproportionately impacts groups like women, minorities and senior citizens. Raising the minimum wage is an important component in closing the wage gap.”

Senate Bill 1 passed the Senate 39-18 and now heads to the House for consideration.

minimum wage

02062019CW0581rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) introduced legislation yesterday that will crack down on corporations shifting their profits to offshore tax havens.

Her measure would convert Illinois’ corporate tax system from mandatory “water’s edge” combined reporting that includes only companies with more than 20 percent of their business activity in the United States to a default worldwide combined reporting requirement.

Steans said at a press conference today that her legislation will provide much-needed revenue for Illinois.

“We want a fair income tax. That’s going to take time, but we need revenue for our state now,” Steans said. “This is one part of a solution, but it’s a critical one.”

Under current law, businesses are able to shift profits to related companies in other countries with low or no tax requirements in order to decrease their tax liability.

Steans’ legislation allows businesses to continue using the current reporting requirements but eliminates their ability to deduct 100 percent of their dividends from foreign subsidiaries. They will also have to include in their report a list of subsidiaries doing business in a specific list of low- or no-tax countries.

Senate Bill 1115 was introduced on Tuesday and has been assigned to the Senate Revenue Committee.

05172018CM0672 rCHICAGO – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement today after Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx came out in support of Steans’ proposal to legalize adult-use cannabis in Illinois:

“One of our primary goals with this legislation is to begin to repair the decades of damage from the War on Drugs, particularly within minority communities.

“We know we cannot undo the disproportionate harm prohibition caused among minorities, but we can keep a firm eye on social justice as we move forward with legalization.

“State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx has a stellar record of fighting for criminal justice reform in Cook County. Expunging records of people convicted of non-violent, cannabis-related misdemeanors is an excellent first step and will aid in removing obstacles to employment and housing. Her support is a vote of confidence, and I look forward to working with her as we craft the best piece of legislation possible.”

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