This week has been gearing up to be a rollercoaster ride of events in our magical land of Chicago where outsiders are given the “side eye” and the side of town one grew up on is an immediate branded tag.

Sirens went off when the news of Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis suffered a stroke on last week. Lewis is currently in remission from brain cancer nearly two years ago. The fiery and fearless leader is beloved by many and despised by those who have been “checked” on occasion.

CTU President Karen Lewis

In an official statement released on Tuesday from Ms. Lewis, she said:

“I suffered a slight stroke last week and have since been hospitalized. It was so minor that doctors could barely see it upon my initial examination, so please know that my spirits are high and I am feeling pretty good. This is a minor setback in my recovery from brain cancer, but rest assured I will be back on my feet soon.

“As for the Chicago Teachers Union, our individual and collective work is unchanged. Our members are the true leaders of our union, and they will continue working hard every day for the schools our students deserve.

“Thanks to everyone who has sent prayers and wishes for a speedy recovery. My only request is that we refrain from talking policy and politics until I am back up to speed. Once I return to 100 percent good health, I’ll be back to giving hell to the usual suspects—you know who you are.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel offered encouragement upon his “official” statement regarding Lewis’ minor setbacks; she is one of his staunchest critics.

“I reached out to Karen this morning to wish her a speedy recovery and, as anyone who knows Karen would assume, she was in good humor. Karen Lewis has always been a strong voice for Chicago’s children and Chicago’s teachers, and the strength of her voice is only matched by the strength of her will. A stroke can’t keep Karen Lewis down.”

Nope. From our observation, it will take a great deal to keep Karen Lewis down and away from the fight. We just pray she keeps focused on her health first and foremost. There’s enough heavy lifting to go around for others to carry the ball. (Placing my pick back in my afro as I raise my black fist in the air…)

WVON radio personality, Art ‘Chat Daddy’ Sims

Fists are still in the air for the fight to keep the National Teachers Academy (NTA) a pre-K to 8 grade school without disrupting 85 percent of its predominately Black students to relocate. A special gubernatorial forum on education hosted by Bronzeville Community Action Council brought out both children and parents of NTA to challenge Democratic candidates to keep the Level 1 school’s doors open. Candidates vowed to help in the fight to maintain NTA’s current position in the ever-growing gentrified South Loop; those for maintaining NTA’s position included Daniel Biss, Tio Hardiman, Chris Kennedy, Alex Paterakis, but Pritzker’s running mate Juliana Stratton was in attendance and remained neutral. The State Representative responded to the NTA students.

“I am the state representative to an area that’s adjacent to where NTA is. I had a lot of outreach in my office, we’ve been going back and forth, we’ve had listening sessions scheduled where I could hear not only from parents within my district, but also others in the area and I hope young people like you who are students will be at the meeting. My first step is to hear from both students, parents, and others from the school to hear a clear understanding of what the issues are.”

This “hot button” issue isn’t going away any time soon as Black parents fight for quality education within their community for their children. Meanwhile, Biss is concerned about how much jet fuel Pritzker’s private plane consumes. Really?

Domestic Violence Awareness

Last week, the Defender featured an in-depth cover story on various Chicago area groups providing resources to victims of domestic violence. On Monday night, WVON on-air personality Art “Chat Daddy” Sims talked about one of the silent killers that do irreparable damage to families. Domestic violence shadows so many households– both for men and women who are not always the abused but they can also be the abuser.

Unfortunately, we see certain public figures in our community whose names have grabbed headlines for past domestic altercations, but we find a way to excuse their “passing” behavior. How can you fight violence in the streets or keep repeat offenders off the street when one’s home reflects similar shard glass? Not dropping names but we need to do better and not reward bad behavior by “not” voting.

Sa’Rayah

Dope, Fly & Fresh

Everyone who knows me, also knows I love great musical talent—especially an awesome killer voice. I had a chance to check out singer/songwriter Sa’Rayah at her special advance listening party at The Promontory. The party doubled as her birthday party where friends, family and fans showed up to support the former contestant of NBC’s “The Voice” take center stage. Prior to her performance, she graciously worked the room, taking pictures with folks and thanking them for coming out. DJ Emmac spun for the evening as well as one of Sa’Rayah’s main producers on the project. Kudos to house music legend and producer Byron Stingily, who personally introduced the Chicago native. Don’t sleep on this awesome talent—you won’t be disappointed.

Shout out to the Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey brand for producing a dope ass art exhibition last week at MG Manufacturing. Art, Beats and Lyrics exhibit featured the works of several artists including Frank Morrison, Aniekan Udofia, Pash Lima and Kaya Faery among others. AB+L’s curator Dubelyoo gave media and press a special tour of the exhibit and the inspiration behind some of the artists. Attendees were treated to signature Jack Honey cocktails and live performances throughout the evening. The Chicago marketing team of Flowers Communications did a wonderful job spreading the word—congrats Tracy Asencio and C. Nicole Pierce for your great follow-through.

As we celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month, Susan G. Komen Chicago has deemed October as “Breast Cancer Action Month.” They are lighting up the city hot pink on Saturday, Oct. 21 with the Ignite the Fight Gala presented by Wintrust and hosted by television actor and personality Mario Lopez.

Chicago favorite, DJ Buckwild celebrates his birthday on Oct.17

Birthday Shout-Outs

As we wrap up the last week of Libra nation, happy belated birthday wishes to Blok Bizness DJs, DJ Buckwild and V103’s favorite on-air personality Ramonski Luv Wade on Oct. 17. Erica Jordan; former Cook County Board President Bobbie Steele; Parrish Duke; everyone’s favorite printer Bob Bur; NYC to Chi to NYC good fella BJ Murray; and the fabulous radio personality Troi Tyler on Oct. 18. Best wishes to ABC-7 news anchor Alan Krashesky; One Chance Illinois Executive Director Myles Mendoza and music manager Kenneth Brady on Oct. 19. Celebrations continue for designer Meekis Castillo; musician/producer Jere McAllister; Stephanie Wooten Moore; and Gerardo ‘DJ Rage’ Herrera on Oct. 20. A big hug to international House DJ Derrick Carter; Executive Director of Hip Hop Union Jineea Butler; Chicago native and Denver transplant Summer Nettles; 21st Ward Alderman Howard Brookins; and the best graphic printer north of Milwaukee, Juan Quizhpe on Oct. 21.

Got a scoop? Send us your birthday, anniversary, promotion, in memorial notices to mdatcher@chicagodefender.com.

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