My experience from teaching and living in black and brown communities for several years now is that we (meaning white, educated people) tend to overlook a lot of the great stuff happening in these communities to focus on the bad. We are also kind of shitty about navigating and finding comfort in black- and brown-dominated spaces. That’s part of why my goal for this summer is to explore all 77 Chicago community areas this summer on bike.
I live in East Garfield Park (majority black and low-income), and just about the only thing outsiders know about my neighborhood is that it’s violent. But having lived here nearly two years, I know great work happens every day to change lives at Breakthrough Urban Ministries, the best brunch in the city is at Inspiration Kitchens and there is no place I would rather be in the heart of winter than Garfield Park Conservatory.
I was born and raised in Chicago, but while I know the ins and outs of Wicker Park, Andersonville, West Loop and other white-dominated spaces, I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about Roseland, Engelwood or Back of the Yards beyond what I’ve read in the news. I want to change that.
I have some thoughts about places to check out all over the city, but I NEED your ideas. Please suggest some under-the-radar restaurants, coffee shops, events, bars and attractions you love, particularly ones in black and brown communities that maybe I just don’t know about because I am in my white, educated bubble.
I’ll update this map of Chicago every couple days to keep track of where I’ve been and how close I am to reaching my goal. Thanks in advance for your suggestions, everyone!