Inequity in park access lingers

We don’t typically associate parks with social issues like race and class. But race and class matter when it comes to parks and recreation. Longtime Chicagoans will remember the campaign in the early 1960s to integrate Rainbow Beach in the then white neighborhood of South Shore—one of many examples of the color lines around Chicago’s public spaces. Parks are where we relax, grill, exercise, walk the dog and watch our kids play sports. What can be more universal than that?

Leveling the playing field

More than 30 years ago, the federal government sued the Chicago Park District for showering money on parks in predominantly white areas. Today, which area has more money often determines who gets park upgrades.

Struggle for equity

In 1975, The Chicago Reporter sent Stephan Garnett, an African-American reporter, to Marquette Park to see what the baseball diamonds and swimming pool looked like. At the time, it wasn’t a safe park for black people. Marquette Park became famous in 1966 when a rock-throwing mob met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. there as he protested segregated housing in the surrounding neighborhood. Less than a decade later, animosity was as strong as ever. Seven white men jumped Garnett as he walked back to his car after photographing the park.

The fabric of a family business

Salma Mukhi, the 55-year-old owner of Salma Fabrics & Boutique, was in the middle of a call with a relative from Pakistan when her daughter Rabia gestured for her to answer the store phone to speak with a client. “I think she’s more busy than Barack Obama,” quipped Rabia Mukhi, 27, Salma’s youngest daughter, who works as a real estate agent in north suburban Morton Grove and helps out occasionally at the store, located at 2316 W. Devon Ave. in West Ridge. Salma is the matriarch of a large and tight-knit family—she has five children and 14 grandchildren. She came to Chicago from the Punjab province of Pakistan in September 1985 to join her husband, who was working at a gas station in the city.

Why we should care about incarcerated mothers

The dramatic increase in the number of incarcerated women in Illinois in recent years has raised concerns on multiple levels. The most troubling of these issues is the impact on what are variously referred to as the secondary victims, or the unintended victims, or—more troubling still—the invisible victims of the criminal justice system. The children of incarcerated mothers. There are significant reasons why we all should see them, why we must be concerned about them and about the social costs of their potentially fractured lives. As has been documented in the Columbia University Social Work Review, children of incarcerated mothers experience a wide range of consequences — some of which can be destabilizing and enduring.