Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Thursday, November 16, 2017.
- Englewood shootings, homicides on pace to reach record lows in 2017
Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson is expected to announce Thursday that Englewood shootings and homicides “are on pace to reach historic lows in 2017,” according to the Sun-Times. Recent data refutes Englewood’s reputation for being one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city and even in the U.S. There were only 158 incidents of gun violence reported in the neighborhood as of October 31, compared to 302 during the same time period in 2016. Johnson credits the force’s “implementation of tech-based crime-fighting strategies that gel with community policing” for the significant decrease. [Sun-Times]
- Sessions’s Justice Department is questioning Illinois’s new Rauner-backed immigration bill
The U.S. Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is questioning Illinois’s “sanctuary state” law. Over the summer Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law the Illinois Trust Act, which prohibits Illinois law enforcement officials from holding a person in custody based on immigration status. Sessions has been attacking Chicago’s sanctuary city policy for nearly a year, and now he’s released a statement accusing Illinois and other states, cities, and counties of holding “the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and the rule of law.” [Sun-Times]
- A black man was auctioned off for slavery in Chicago 175 years ago
Edwin Heathcock was auctioned off to slaveholders near LaSalle and Randolph streets 175 years ago on November 14, 1842, Mark Jacob writes in the Tribune. It may have been the only legal slave auction in Chicago history. Heathcock was a free man, but a white coworker at a local farm accused him of being a runaway slave, leading to his arrest and imprisonment. State law at the time required that prisoners be “hired out” for the best price possible, and Heathcock was put on the block and sold as a temporary slave for up to a year. Local abolitionists were infuriated by the auction, and in the end Heathcock was bought for a quarter by Mahlon Ogden (brother of Chicago’s first mayor, William), who then set him free. [Tribune]
- Local preservationists want landmark designation for Emmett Till’s Woodlawn home
Preservation Chicago is hoping to earn a landmark designation for the Woodlawn home that civil rights movement icon Emmett Till grew up in, according to Curbed Chicago. Renters are currently living in the two-flat at 6427 S. Saint Lawrence. Till, 14, was brutally lynched in Mississippi in 1955 and his killers were acquitted. [Curbed Chicago]
- Chicago hotel workers celebrate anti-sexual harassment ordinance with “No Harveys in Chicago” cake
Local hotel workers celebrated the passing of a new anti-sexual harassment ordinance aimed at protecting them with a cake featuring a picture of former Hollywood power player and accused sexual harasser Harvey Weinstein. “No Harveys in Chicago—Hands off pants on ordinance” was written on the cake. The ordinance requires hotels to have written policies about sexual harassment within the next few weeks and to provide employees working alone with panic buttons by July 1, 2018. “This is old behavior. It’s been going on for years and years,” United Here Local 1 president Karen Kent said Tuesday. “[But] people are finally recognizing that [women] are telling the truth. They’re speaking out. And we’re gonna change the way that things are done. Chicago is the leader in doing that.” [Sun-Times]
- De Blasio press secretary declares Pequod’s Pizza the best in the U.S.
Eric Phillips, a press secretary for New York City mayor Bill De Blasio, has reignited the never-ending New York City-Chicago pizza wars by calling Pequod’s Pizza the best pizza in the U.S. “This is the best pizza in the United States and it’s not close,” Phillips tweeted with a picture of a pizza from Pequod’s Saturday. Phillips has taken a lot of heat on Twitter and in the New York media for his bold statement. “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and it’s rare that an opinion can be wrong—but this is one of those rare cases,” a New York pizza tour guide named Scott Wiener told the New York Post. “It’s an irresponsible statement to make as a representative of the city itself.” [New York Post]