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I would like to commend Ben Joravsky for his February 6 article entitled “Exit Wounds” that addressed community protest over the elimination of certain access ramps on the Dan Ryan/I-94 expressway by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

The residents of the community where the targeted ramps are located have a legal right to question why IDOT wants to forge ahead with this project while giving little regard to their concerns and the concerns of the numerous businesses located there. Federal regulations require that residents be apprised of any changes that will directly affect their surrounding area. It appears that IDOT was negligent in communicating to the residents a need for their involvement in deciding whether these “improvements” would be best for the area.

Since 1963 the Dan Ryan has served as an artery in the city, providing transportation which branches off to these centrally located south-side communities. In comparison, as the human body’s main arteries transport blood, which branches off to all areas of the body, serious problems arise if a branch is cut off from supplying vital lifeblood to the affected area. Without access to the Ryan businesses and residents in the neighboring (predominantly) black community will seriously suffer.

Throughout the years this community has been an integral part of the city from which have come many prominent blacks, such as Harold Washington, Gwendolyn Brooks, Nat King Cole, Ralph Metcalfe, Patricia Roberts Harris, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, and numerous teachers, artists, CEOs, college professors, lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, as well as regular hardworking blue-collar folks.

Joravsky’s article brought to the forefront some of the voices and expressions of a segment of the black community which has too often been squelched or overshadowed by reporting stereotypical horror stories. His fair, honest, and accurate journalistic reporting is greatly appreciated. I am convinced that these residents work very hard to preserve their community and are due respect, recognition, and fair treatment.

I am reminded of the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah, “Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1 NKJV.)

Stay encouraged, Mr. Joravsky, and continue to do good work!

Sarah Laird