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🗳️ After 30 years, 1st District will have new representation

Simone Alicea and Carrie Shepherd | @svalicea and @cshepherd

🗳️ IL First Congressional District

Early voting in Chicago starts today, and we’re looking at one of the centers of Black political power in the country: Illinois’ 1st Congressional District.

In January, Rep. Bobby Rush announced he’s retiring at the end of this term after 30 years in office. With the former Black Panther leader out of the running, 17 Democrats are vying for his seat.

U.S. Rep Bobby Rush (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Where is the 1st District?
The district stretches from Chicago’s near South Side, southwest into the suburbs, all the way to Bourbannis, according to the latest Congressional remap.

The seat has been held by a Black man since 1929, the year Triibe reporter Tonia Hill’s grandmother was born.

“So throughout her life, there was always a Black person representing the district,” Hill told City Cast.

Who’s running?
With so many candidates, it’s tough to pick a frontrunner (or five). Here are three names Hill is watching:

  • Karin Norington-Reaves, who leads Cook County’s federal workforce training, was endorsed by Rush in January.
  • Activist Jonathan Jackson is the son of Rev. Jesse Jackson.
  • Organizer Jahmal Cole jumped into the race before Rush announced his retirement.

Other names voters might recognize are 3rd Ward Ald. Pat Dowell and business owner Jonathan Swain, who are the top fundraisers in the race, according to federal election data.

There are also four candidates in the GOP primary, but the seat has been held by Democrats since the 1930s. Whoever wins the Democratic primary June 28 will likely become the next Congressperson.

What are voters saying?
The biggest issues facing the district are public safety, economic development, and housing, Hill said. But it’s not clear the candidates are doing much to differentiate themselves on these issues.

“I’ve heard literally that it’s just too many people,” Hill said.

👉 Read Hill’s roundup of candidates’ positions. Hear more about Rush’s legacy.

📰 Newsfeed

Walking Man Charges. A man from Melrose Park was charged with arson and attempted murder for violently attacking Joseph Kromelis, aka Chicago’s “Walking Man.” Joseph Guardia allegedly set fire to the Walking Man who was sleeping on Lower Wabash Avenue. [ABC7]

Old Chicago Neighborhoods. Sleepy Hollow, LondonTown, Whiskey Point — these are all old neighborhood names that still show up on some maps, but most Chicagoans wouldn’t be able to locate them if you asked. And the names have a pretty interesting history. [Tribune]

New Lion Cub. Lincoln Park Zoo visitors got a peek at Pilipili [pee-lee-pee-lee] for the first time Saturday. The cub was born in March, the first new lion born at the zoo in 20 years. [Block Club]

🍔 Holiday weekend

Every year, the Tuesday after Memorial Day is filled with headlines about violence across the city. There’s a tally of the people shot — often not even names — meant to give us some view of what’s “happening” in our city, but stripping the humanity from those most hurt.

We’re not doing that.

Those stories fail to recognize all the good things happening throughout the city every weekend, like family BBQs, parties in the parks, parades, and block parties — and the Chicagoans making them happen.

Lucha at Mole de Mayo in Pilsen (Jacoby Cochran/City Cast)
Fishing at Humboldt park (Carrie Shepherd/City Cast)

It’s not just the fault of the news that we forget to focus on these good things. City leaders, from the mayor to alders to cops to the parks, need to ensure there are safe places to gather, where ALL people feel welcome. And it’s on all of us to remind politicians in other states (and our own state), social media trolls, and even our own neighbors, that even though Chicago can be challenging, it’s beautiful, and the people are tough, and we don’t want anyone talking trash about our town.

So tell us what you did this weekend in Chicago. Post on Twitter @citycastchicago.

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