Monthly Archives: April 2018

Northwestern Medicine’s Transplant Village to host Guinness World Record Attempt: Living Donor Rally

CHICAGO–On Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 2:00 PM at Cloud Gate, Millennium Park aka ‘the bean’ in honor of April being National Donate Life Month, living organ donors from around the world will meet in Chicago to set a Guinness World Record!

Transplant Village will bring together the living donor community together by creating a unique event that will help raise awareness surrounding the importance of organ donation. The goal is to connect, support, celebrate, and inspire others to consider living organ donation as an option. Proceeds from ticket sales will start a living organ donor fund for Northwestern Medicine. This fund will be used to help donors at NM with donation expenses not covered by insurance.

There will 250 donors needed to set a record! The whole process will be filmed and carefully documented in order to meet the strict Guinness Record evidence guidelines.            

The Official Guinness Count at 3 PM.

Speakers on hand include John Friedewald, MD, medical director of kidney and pancreas transplantation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson Speaker and Secretary of State Jesse White beginning at followed by a performance by the Jesse White Tumblers.





Cook County Dems Elect Toni Preckwinkle As Party Chair, Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia Endorses Madigan for Statewide Democratic Chair

After a celebratory double win for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, winning the Democratic primary and recently elected as the first African American woman to chair the Cook County Democratic party–it’s no surprise of this latest news from the Chuy Garcia camp.

The newly elected Democratic State Central Committeeman and Democratic congressional candidate, Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia has endorsed Speaker Michael Madigan as Statewide Democratic Party chair.

He released the following statement today:

“As a progressive Democrat, it is my intention to support a state party chair who will work with me to advance our most fundamental goals. I will support a chair who shares my commitment to true economic justice for all, my belief that a hard day’s work should be rewarded with a living wage, and my dedication to fighting for affordable and accessible health care. I will support a chair who, above all, knows that our goal as a Democratic Party and as a progressive movement must be to build a broad coalition that can deliver this change. Michael Madigan is a clear choice.”

In addition to both Preckwinkle and Garcia’s recent elected roles in the Democratic party, 22nd Ward Committeeman, Michael D. Rodriguez was elected Executive Vice Chair of the Cook County Democratic Party. 

Michael D. Rodriguez

Younger than his elected party leaders, he says, “I am grateful to my fellow committee members for their support on this historic day, in which we have elected the first African American and the first woman to lead the Cook County Democratic Party. 

“As vice chair, I am committed to reflect the growing part of the Democratic Party’s base that is young and progressive. 

“In recent election cycles, the voters have sent a message to the Party that it needs to evolve. I have been working at the forefront of that movement, supporting candidates and policies that will move us in a more progressive direction. I pledge today to fight for the pro-working families policy agenda that the voters of Cook County are clamoring for,” said Rodriguez. 

Roderick T. Sawyer, 6th Ward Alderman and Committeeman of the Cook County Democratic Party (CCDP) and Chair of the City Council Black Caucus, reflects on the party’s choice of electing Preckwinkle to CCDP chair and the direction Dems should evolve. 

He says, “The Cook County Democratic Party is at a crossroads. While most of the country is talking about progressive values, our party is viewed as a defender of decades-old institutions and power structures–not one that focuses on the challenges facing our communities. That must change. 

“Today, we have an opportunity to shift course. As leaders of the Democratic Party, we have a unique role in Cook County. We can and must now step up and lead on issues for working people, women and people of color, and help to shape a forward-thinking agenda for the national Democratic Party.”

The 20th Annual Ebertfest is in Full Throttle With An Appearance By Oscar-Nominated Director Ava DuVernay

The 20th Ebertfest kicked off on Wednesday, April 18 at the College of Media at the University of Illinois, and the festival, in conjunction with the College, hosts a number of on-campus academic panel discussions each year that feature filmmaker guests, scholars, and students.

Founded in 1999 by the late Roger Ebert, University of Illinois Journalism graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic, Roger Ebert’s Film Festival (Ebertfest) celebrates films that haven’t received the recognition they deserved during their original runs. The festival gives these films and their filmmakers a well-deserved second look.

Chaz Ebert, Roger’s beloved wife, business partner and fellow film-lover, is the festival co-founder, producer, and host. 

There will be special screenings and panel discussions throughout the four-day festival.

Guests can expect to see screenings of the “13th”, “Belle”, and “Daughters of the Dust” in the 1,500-seat Virginia Theatre, a restored 1920s movie palace, among the five days of film screenings.

The festival highlights will include each of the film’s directors will be in attendance: Ava DuVernay (“13th”), Amma Asante (“Belle”), and Julie Dash (“Daughters of the Dust”). Each director will participate in a panel discussion following the film screening where the audience is invited to ask questions. 

“What an honor to have these Three Queens of Cinema grace our festival,” said Chaz Ebert. “We are really going to celebrate Roger and cinema and the filmmakers and our guests and all that we have shared over these last twenty years. It will be glorious and joyful,” she continued.

For a full film schedule and panel discussions, visit: 

Individual Festival Pass: $150 
4-Pack of Festival Passes: $510
University of Illinois Student Pass: $100*


Final Weekend to Enjoy The Jackie Taylor Drama Series: “In the Shadow Of Justice”

Black Ensemble Theater Presents 

The Jackie Taylor Drama Series in conjunction with the DuSable Museum of African American History

“In the Shadow of Justice”

by L. Maceo Ferris

Directed by Rueben Echoles 

April 21 -22

Location: 740 E. 56th Place | Chicago, IL 60637

Call 773.769.4451 or visit: for tickets. 

Mayor Emanuel Expands City River Walk and Park Spaces But Do Black Chicagoans Care?

On Monday, addressing both community and political stakeholders, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly and Mayor Rahm Emanuel made their presentations at the new XS Tennis Village in Washington Park announcing the new plans.

Kelly says, “The vision for Chicago parks and open space and comprehensive plan for Chicago lakefront, riverfront, natural areas and our neighborhoods. We call this plan “Building on Burnham”. This plan complements the diversity of our people and our neighborhoods.”

He mentioned, “Living near a park will also increase your property value. In Chicago, if you live within 2 blocks of a park, your property is valued more. $900 million every year. Nearly half of Chicagoans live near a park.”

The Chicago Park District and the efforts of the mayor’s office will expand the Chicago Riverwalk from downtown’s entertainment district which has featured satellite restaurants from local businesses. In the last three years, the Chicago River has become a tourist centerpiece as well as an alternate route for residents to enjoy the walk as well as appreciate the functionality of the river.

The announcement on Monday is exciting news for key communities such as Chinatown’s Ping Tom Memorial Park who will benefit from the extended river walk along the trail.

XS Tennis Village President and CEO Kamau Murray PHOTO: Mary L. Datcher

President and CEO of XS Tennis Village, Kamau Murray introduced Emanuel but beforehand he acknowledged both Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) and Emanuel’s commitment to providing the land and financial resources for the facility’s new athletic home.

“This space was an empty lot, the site of the Robert Taylor Homes and Kamal had a different idea. I want to thank him for having a vision,” said Murray.

As Emanuel stood at the podium as renderings of newly renovated parks and facilities both completed and future projects flashed across two jumbo screens—he laid out his vision to beautify the city through private and public funding.

“In 2011, consistent with my campaign pledge, we began to make the Chicago river our next great recreational park. We closed the last two cold plants left operating in any major American city.”

With the new mantra, “a city in a garden” the city will increase 985 acres of parkland and extend 11 miles of new access to the river.

“We ensure our children and our grandchildren will inherit that is both more inclusive and more cohesive. Burnham’s first goal for Chicago was to preserve our lakefront. Other cities on the Great Lakes use their lakefront as ports for the industry from Gary to Milwaukee to Cleveland to Buffalo,” he addressed the audience. “Today those cities are trying to reclaim their lakefronts as open spaces for open use. But here in Chicago, our predecessors took steps over a century ago to ensure our lakefront remained.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveils new plans for “Building on Burnham” at XS Tennis Village. PHOTO: Mary L. Datcher

The mayor’s focus on converting various unused railroad lines to bike and walking trails began with the launch of the 606 which runs 2.7 miles along the Bloomingdale Line on the Northside. It has become a summertime hit among many but still has had some concerns among residents who live along the trail which has raised questions about safety. Although there have been minimum occurances—the city will apply this model in the Pilsen community where the rail line will be converted to a walking and biking trail.

New additions include a rock climbing wall at Steel Workers Park on the Southside; a  finished pool and event space 31st St. Beach Harbor and brand new amenities for triathletes at Ohio Street beach.

Starting this year, renovations at North Ave Beach include a new boardwalk, upgrading and adding concession space which will make the shoreline “more welcoming for a family”, said the mayor. Overseeing a multi-million make-over, the city re-opened Theatre on the Lake creating six acres stretching east and south along the lakefront. The 19,000 square feet venue is opened year-around and accepting bookings for 2020.

Gately Park in West Chatham is included in these plans. Alderman Michelle Harris (8th Ward) said she’s excited about the significant undertaking.

“This is a $44 million project that will be built next door to the stadium–the football stadium. It’s an awesome opportunity for our community. After School Matters will bring their major programming to that site. They’re putting in $22 million in private funding. It’s a great opportunity for our kids to be involved in ASM,” she said. “I’m more excited about the ASM component, not that I’m not excited about the track and field component. It became a priority two years ago.”

Harris said she sat down with the mayor, Elzie Higginbottom, Conrad Worrill and convinced the mayor to sign on.

“Now, I have two great business people coming together on why there’s a need—giving them the history of why our children are running in the hallways,” she said.

An alumnus of Chicago Vocational High School, Harris understands the necessity of creating a state-of-art track and field facility for the area.

“It is such a big school. For track and field, there was one floor for the girls and the other floor for the guys running down these concrete halls along the terra cote walls. It’s not the best environment for children on how to run long-distance. This opens the doors for competition to come out the Southside where we did not have this beforehand,” says Harris.

Although there aren’t big park spaces within the 3rd Ward, Alderman Pat Dowell says there have been major improvements to some of the smaller field houses in her ward. Currently, an expansion to Williams Fieldhouse in the Dearborn House is underway. Last year, a new park and playground in the Bronzeville community were dedicated and named after Hadiya Pendleton. What does the mayor’s recent announcement of these upgrades, expansions, and build-outs mean for the city’s predominately African American communities?

Dowell says, “What was discussed today is the bridges that are now connecting our communities to the lakefront where we’ve been ignored historically over time. The opening of the bridge at 35th St., the mayor mentioned another bridge at 39th Street and 43rd Street and further down the lakefront. It will provide access to the African American community who had not had access.”

There Southside has become new territory for developers and Northside transplants who are being pushed out by rising property taxes along with the high expectations of the Obama Presidential Center in the middle of Jackson Park. Are these aggressive changes for Black residents or is it an added incentive for new residents—speedballing gentrification woes?

The alderman believes the same quality amenities should be afforded to Black communities.

“We’re seeing the same value where we live. We won’t sell out our own property to people just to make a buck. We have a role in gentrification as well. We’re deserving of these types of improvements just like everyone else in this city of Chicago,” Dowell explains.  “We shouldn’t be ignored or feel afraid of improvements that come to our area. We have to take those improvements, make the best of them and create businesses in our community. Pay our property taxes and continue to move forward.” 














“Until The Flood” Appears for a Limited Run at The Goodman Theatre

Recently hailed as a New York Times “Critics Pick” in its off-Broadway premiere, Until the Flood, Goodman Theatre Artistic Associate and Alice Center Resident Artist
Dael Orlandersmith’s one-woman show, makes its Chicago debut at Goodman Theatre.
Directed by Neel Keller, Orlandersmith “finds common humanity” (Variety) with “an urgent moral inquest” (The New York Times) of the social unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting of teenager Michael Brown. Pulling from a series of extensive interviews, Orlandersmith crafts a theatrical experience in which a diverse mosaic of voices tries to come to terms with the complex events that shook the nation.
Until the Flood made its world premiere at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, with subsequent appearances off-Broadway (Rattlestick Theater) and The Milwaukee Repertory Theater.
Limited engagement from April 27 to May 17, 2018. For more information and tickets:

Kendrick Lamar is All That and A Pulitzer Prize

Oh, snap! Did the kid from Compton upstage the industry and all naysayers who thought hip-hop musicians were regulated to music videos, popping Mollys, bottles, and crowd surfing across thousands of kids at an over-the-top music festival? 

On Monday, the 12-time Grammy recording artist, Kendrick Lamar became the first hip-hop artist to earn the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. You heard it right, a Pulitzer Prize for his multi-platinum and socially conscious album, “DAMN.” 

At 29, Lamar has achieved what none of his musical adversaries in the field of modern pop music has earned–an award that has crossed international barricades in bringing attention to the social economic and justice disparities of race relations in our country. His ability to delve deep into the conscious of every millennial and music consumer whose had the pleasure to listen to his music has become ignited and ‘woke.’ 

He follows in an esteemed line of alumni whose made the world ‘think’ and challenged–Gwendolyn Brooks, Alex Haley, August Wilson, Wynton Marsalis among many creatives in literary, drama and music world. 

Congratulations to Mr. Lamar for not only creating great music but igniting a new generation of independent thinkers. 

Fat Tiger Workshop: Putting Chicago on the Map For Fashion Influencers

Chicago has its share of creative talent and amazing entrepreneurial minds carving a place this world. A city is known for being the mid-coast of business and trade deals—in the center of the country with bi-coastal ties between the West and East coasts. But, among our talent—the world of fashion has taken a back seat to other cities who boasts a thriving industry such as New York City and Miami. 

In the last few years, gradually this perception has changed as more Chicago designers have broken out onto the scene with designs showcasing their individual’s voices through apparel. 

The works of Fat Tiger Workshop is one of the hottest names on the scene among millennials and trend influencers. The brick and mortar boutique was created nearly six years ago by four designers—all sporting their lines. 

Co-founders Rello Jones, Joe Robinson, Victor Pitre along with the brand manager, Des Owusu have taken the “bull by the horns” collectively coming together to bring together a philosophy of ideas without limitations and traditional approaches in a retail space. 

Building a steady fan base from Vita Wintersport, Sensei, JoeFreshGoods, Chicago Over Everything, D.B.M. to Rello’s Lost Paradise “The Coloring Book” brands—the group of Black men from Chicago are making significant business moves. 

Rella Jones, co-founder of Fat Tiger Workshop.

Recently, Fat Tiger Workshop was selected to design the limited-edition clothing collection for the Warner Bros. film, “Rampage” starring Dwayne Johnson. All proceeds from the sales of the limited-edition collection benefit SocialWorks, a nonprofit organization empowering youth through arts, education, and civic engagement. 

The Chicago MIXX sat down with co-founders Victor Pitre, brand strategist; and Rello Jones, head designer and creative director for the team to discuss their latest projects. 

TCM: How did Fat Tiger become involved with the Warner Bros. film, “Rampage”?

Rella: The collaboration with Rampage came from a lot of companies checking for us being a younger store but we a long tenure in the business. If you want to have something refreshing, new and still have a huge impact—you come to Fat Tiger. We’ve been growing a lot. People have been reaching out wanting us to share with them with the city has given to us as far as the love. 

TCM: Everyone is from Chicago, what side of town?

Rella: I’m out from out West. Vic from out South, Joe is from out West and Des and from the Southside.

TCM: Do you find there’s a stigma of being from a particular side of town?

Victor: With us, we found out a long time ago, no matter where you’re from if you’re good at what you do—you’re always going to shine. I wouldn’t look at where we’re from as a negative or hindrance. Where we’re from helps to make us who we are, helps us to move around and how to be smarter. Anybody who knows our roots should be happy we’re from there because you got some guys who are on their toes. 

Rella: Being from the Southside, I grew up in one of the more violent neighborhoods—Englewood. I always use those childhood tribulations to make me into someone stronger—someone who I am today. I feel like you have to let where you’re from to be a part of you and not be ALL of you. That’s the piece all of us paint from, just because I’m from the hood doesn’t mean I have to portray that forever.

We wear where we’re from as a badge of honor. It made us who we are. 

TCM: How did the group come up with the concept and name of the store?

Rella: When we sat down to come up with a name for a store, we were thinking about something like a band–as if you didn’t think of anything else when people began to say the name. Now in Chicago, when you say “Fat Tiger” it works out, people know it’s us. We wanted us to stand apart, not to use a name that had us affiliated with anything else. 

Tiger represents strength and honor. That’s our mantra. We want to be honorable and stay true. We want to be from here for here. 

TCM: The vibe reminds of the signature street era of the 90’s when African American designers had strong lifestyle brands such as Phat Farm, Wu-Tang Clan, Ecko. Was this the inspiration for creating a statement?

Rella: That’s our influence because out of all of us, I’m the oldest so I bring that element to it. I grew up watching Karl Kani, Phat Farm and other brands—they were Black excellence. We want to show that’s still out here. It’s a thing you can look at for inspiration. We want to do so much with the young and with the “Rampage” project and SocialWorks we’re giving the money back. We want to shape the future of Chicago. You know a couple of my mentors—Jam and Rich.

TCM: Yes, I was their mentor.

Rella: Yes, I know that. [we both laugh] You taught them, they taught me. I was in the music industry, but fashion was more my thing. 

TCM: How does Chicago play out in the fashion industry when New York and Miami are very dominant in the U.S.?

Rella: I think now, we get a look. One of the biggest icons in the world is from Chicago, Kanye [West]. A person who is from here, now Chicago is not viewed as a ‘country bumpkin’ kind of town. We have world-renowned stores here. Our creative force is the best in the world. We have that on our back as far as people doubting us. Some of the most creative people hail from Chicago; we’re getting our fair share. 

TCM: We’ve noticed celebrities, Lebron James, SZA and Quavo Migos wearing brands from Fat Tiger. Who are some other high-profile folks rocking your gear?

Rella: Chance wears our stuff. Vic Mensa and Taylor Bennett—some of everybody—even artists in other cities. We have a real story. Nobody gave us anything. All of us came up and hustled to be able to have a store. 

TCM: What is some of the advice you can share with other aspiring designers and entrepreneurs seeking to make it in the business?

Rella: Person-to-person interaction is everything. Get out here; you are your spokesperson. You have to make those genuine conversations with people. People don’t want to put themselves out here to sacrifice for their business and their brand. They want it given to them, and you can’t do that. You want this to be successful? 

You have to get out and get it and believe in yourself. It’s okay if it doesn’t work out. If you want to do it, you have to try to do it. Many people give up on their first try. I’m where I’m am because I didn’t give up. I ran somebody else’s business for ten years before I ran my own. Sometimes you have to follow to lead. 


Check out Fat Tiger Workshop online:

Location: 836 N. Milwaukee Ave. | Chicago, IL 60642









Alderman Roderick Sawyer’s 55th Birthday Bash

Last Friday evening Alderman Roderick Sawyer kicked off his birthday celebration weekend at the swanky Montgomery Club in River North. Celebrating his 55th birthday, the son of Chicago mayor, Eugene Sawyer invited friends, family, and colleagues to take part in his ‘invite-only’ bash. 

Photo Credit: Mary L. Datcher




Chicago Journalism Job Fair

The Chicago chapters of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and National Association of Black Journalists hosts a special job fair.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

10:00am to 2:00pm

Medill School of Journalism

303 E. Upper Wacker Drive |Chicago


Registration Required | $10 includes breakfast and lunch

Students must be enrolled or graduate from a 4-year accredited institution.
If you have any question, please feel free to email
« Older Entries