Our Chicago: Black Voices of Change

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Sunday, February 7, 2021
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"Our Chicago: Black Voices of Change" is an ABC7 series that turns the spotlight on important issues facing Chicago's Black community.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- "Our Chicago: Black Voices of Change" is an ABC7 series that turns the spotlight on important issues facing Chicago's Black community. This edition delves into the disproportionate toll COVID-19 has taken on the Black community and what is being done to turn that trend around. We also explore how historically Black churches are stepping up to help families struggling to put food on the table, as the pandemic drags on. But the pursuit of racial justice is also top of mind for so many congregations, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent summer protests. Meet the organizer of one of the largest peaceful protests held in Chicago this past summer and a passionate young photographer who documented every step of those Black Lives Matter protests with his camera. Find out how one of the largest South Side churches has helped its congregation try to make sense of this racial reckoning. And meet the Chicago writer who penned the viral poem, 'Brown Girl, Brown Girl' about our Nation's first female Vice President of color!

Our Chicago: Black Voices of Change - Part 1

Black Chicagoans and COVID-19

Black Chicagoans are dying from COVID-19 at a rate more than double that of the city's white residents. This startling trend isn't news to the team at The Loretto Hospital, located in one of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the virus. Loretto treats COVID patients but it also has offered free COVID testing in their parking lot, since last Spring. The hospital in the Austin neighborhood also made history, becoming the first in the state to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The disproportionate toll COVID-19 has taken on Chicago's Black residents also did not come as a surprise to Tenisha Jones, Jones is the Sr. Dir of Strategy and Operations of West Side United... an organization that was already working to diminish the tragic health care disparities in the city's Black and brown communities. Last spring, Jones was asked to help serve on Chicago's Racial Equity Rapid Response Team (RERRT). The effort has become a shining example for other cities, to help flatten the COVID-19 mortality curve in these communities. The next big push for West Side United is vaccination. One of the key advocates for the vaccine, is a Suburban doctor who became one of the first to see COVID-19 in a patient. Dr. Lynwood Jones, who is St. Alexius' Director for Infection Control, was on the medical team to treat the second known COVID case in the entire country. Along with the rest of that team, he recently rolled up his sleeve to get that shot.

Our Chicago: Black Voices of Change - Part 2

The Loretto Hospital

645 S. Central Ave.

Chicago, IL



AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center

1555 Barrington Rd

Hoffman Estates, IL



West Side United

2225 W Harrison St

Chicago, IL


Our Chicago: Black Voices of Change - Part 3

Chicago churches help combat Food Insecurity

Several historically Black churches are really stepping up, to help feed the masses and get their communities through these challenging economic times. Many had modest outreach programs before but have had to keep working harder than ever to fill the immense need in their neighborhoods. Allen Metropolitan CME Church in Roseland hands out hundreds of prepared hot meals weekly. Bronzeville's Chosen Tabernacle Church was on the verge of closing its 16-year-old pantry after its senior citizen volunteer staff had to stay home to stay safe. But thanks to the help of University of Chicago student volunteers, the church's Bread of Life Food Pantry is still going strong. Trinity United Church of Christ has also ramped up its existing Foodshare program, to help to fulfill the massive need.

Allen Metropolitan CME

10946 S Lowe Ave

Chicago, IL 60628

Phone: (773) 568-1200


Chosen Tabernacle Church

4310 S. Champlain

Chicago, IL



Trinity United Church of Christ

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III leads the congregation at Trinity United Church of Christ in the Washington Heights neighborhood. Moss' church is built on the principle of social justice but lately, helping his congregation to make sense of the racial reckoning the country has been coping with, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, has proven incredibly challenging for Moss. It pains him to speak of incident after incident, but he remains hopeful that real change is possible. One of Trinity's talented music directors, Kevon Carter, was so inspired by one of Dr. Moss' sermons that he used the power of music to craft the moving song, "Black Lives Matter." Carter wrote it in the wake of the killing of Eric Garner in New York City, 6 years ago, but the words unfortunately still ring true today. He, too, remains hopeful that we are moving ever closer to racial justice.

Our Chicago: Black Voices of Change - Part 4

Trinity United Church of Christ

400 W 95th St

Chicago, IL 60628



Kevon Carter

Twitter: @IAmKevonCarter

Instagram: @kevoncarter

In the midst of the pandemic, the world watched as protests erupted over the death of George Floyd. Dom Brown, a Chicago activist and key member of non-profit Activate Chi organized one of the city's largest peaceful protests this past summer. Also, among those protesting for change was a talented young photographer. Vashon Jordan Jr. attended and took photographs of dozens of marches; 17,000 photos, to be exact. He's now published those compelling photographs in a book called "Chicago Protests: A Joyful Revolution."

Vashon Jordan Jr and Dom Brown

Vashon Jordan Jr.

Twitter: @vashon_photo

Purchase 'Chicago Protests: A Joyful Revolution'

Dom Brown

Instagram: @dombrwn


Leslé Honoré

2020 brought many hardships but it also brought much hope! Kamala Harris made history by becoming our first female Vice President of Color. She inspired women worldwide, including mother, activist and writer, Leslé Honoré. Honore's poem "Brown Girl, Brown Girl" resonated with so many, that it literally went viral!

Twitter: @lesle_honore


WATCH: ABC 7 Chicago anchors Cheryl Burton, Hosea Sanders preview 'Our Chicago: Black Voices of Change' on 'Windy City Live'

Chatham Education and Workforce Center

The brand new Chatham Education and Workforce Center serves as the backdrop for Our Chicago: Black Voices of Change. The Center provides career services and training classes for the Chatham neighborhood and all of Cook County. This beacon of hope on the city's South Side was actually inspired by tragedy. Dr. Betty Howard headed the Special Education Department at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy. She was killed by random gunfire in May 2014. After that tragedy, Congressman Bobby Rush led a push to revitalize neighborhoods plagued by violence. CEWC is one of the many initiatives to emerge from that effort.

Chatham Education and Workforce Center

640 East 79th

Chicago, IL