All posts by patnabong

Lawndale man finds hope in the basement of a church

By Pat Nabong and Hammad Sarfraz

Although fewer people experienced homelessness in Chicago in 2016 compared to the previous year, nearly six thousand still live on the streets and in shelters. Bernard Johnson is one of them.

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Historic Bronzeville hardware store and jazz archive set to close

By Pat Nabong

Meyers Ace Hardware has two kinds of customers: those who buy paint for their walls and those who “listen to the walls.” For decades, hundreds of tourists and curious souls in search of jazz relics have been visiting the neighborhood store in Bronzeville. It has preserved remnants of what it used to be—the Sunset Café, a famous jazz club in the 1920s to ’40s.

Driven out of business by changes in the neighborhood, loyal customers and jazz aficionados are now mourning as the hardware is preparing to close for good in February.

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Obama’s supporters at famed barbershop say farewell

By Pat Nabong

More than eight years after President Obama gave his first victory speech in Grant Park, Chicagoans in Hyde Park bid farewell to the president who used to live in their neighborhood. In Hyde Park Hair Salon, where President Obama has been getting his hair cut for more than 20 years, talk of their hometown hero drowns out the sound of buzzing hair clippers.

Photo at top: Antonio Coye poses beside the chair which President Obama usually sits on whenever he gets his hair cut at Hyde Park Hair Salon. Jan. 10, 2017. (Pat Nabong/MEDILL)

NoDAPL supporters chant ‘Mni wiconi’ and it’s not just about water

By Pat Nabong and June Leffler

[Package of Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline stories here]

Women in black burkas have marched around the Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota with a banner that reads, “Muslims stand with Standing Rock.” In a ceremonial dance, Aztec dancers from South America have skipped to the beat of percussion instruments. A white man from Portland treated Native Americans who’d been maced during a protest.

Just last week, 2,000 veterans arrived to protect protesters against armed police on the frontlines. Thousands of non-Native Americans from all over the U.S. joined Native Americans from more than 300 tribes. By all appearances, this huge alliance is what made the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announce after prolonged delay that it was denying an easement to the pipeline company, a decision that effectively stopped construction in its tracks. But despite the partial victory, their fight continues.

What first started in April as a modest camp of just a handful of Native Americans from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe grew to 8,000 people, trying to stop the $3.7 billion pipeline that the tribe says destroys sacred burial sites and threatens their main water source.

They share one battle cry: “Mni wiconi” or “water is life.” But there is more to it than just clean water.

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Trump’s ascendancy intensifies #NoDAPL movement

By Pat Nabong

[Package of Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline stories here]

Right by the Chicago River, hundreds of Native Americans and their supporters chanted, “Water is life!” Adorned with traditional headdresses, some of them lit tobacco and prayed for their water. And as the sun set, they danced under the shade of the multi-million-dollar Trump Tower, one of the monoliths that represents the man who will be stepping into the White House in January.

As people continue to protest in various states against the results of the election, thousands of Native Americans and their allies all over the nation are intensifying their fight against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Now that a leader who has expressed his support for and has a vested interest in the fossil fuel industry is about to rise to power, those who are fighting the pipeline feel a stronger sense of urgency.

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Protesters come together at Trump Tower in downtown Chicago

By Cloee Cooper and Fariba Pajooh

[See related story on the night’s protest]

Helicopters buzzed overhead as thousands of angry and perplexed people gathered at the Trump Tower to protest the election of Donald Trump as president Wednesday evening.

Shocked youth, minorities, pregnant mothers and middle-aged people joined together to repeat chants of “No Trump, No KKK, No Racist USA.” “Not my president” and “Donald Trump has got to go” reverberated through the streets of downtown Chicago as people, mostly young, held signs reading “Never Trump” and “Reject Racism.”

The event, originally called “Point and Laugh at Trump Tower,” was intended to celebrate Hillary Clinton’s victory. However, overnight the event was replaced with ‘Emergency Protest: Say no to Trump! Say no to Racism’ and was shared more than 55,000 times on Answer Chicago’s Facebook page. By 4 p.m., more than 8,000 people indicated on the site that they were planning to go.

See photos taken by Fariba Pajooh, Pat Nabong and Christen Gall:

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Hillary Clinton wins the unofficial election among people who can’t legally vote

By Pat Nabong

On the days leading up to the election, ex-offenders, permanent residents, tourists, disenfranchised voters, Mexicans and immigrants who couldn’t legally vote were able to cast their ballots in unofficial voting stations. And on the night that Donald Trump became president-elect, Hillary Clinton won the unofficial election.

Official Unofficial Voting Station: Voting for All Who Legally Can’t is an art piece by Aram Han Sifuentes and collaborating artists and activists in cities across the U.S. They installed unofficial polling stations in universities and galleries in Mexico City; Chiapas, MX; Ithaca, NY; Los Angeles; Mt. Vernon, WA; South Seattle; ; Detroit; Cortland, NY; Baltimore; Philadelphia and at three sites in Chicago. The binational installations culminated on election night when more than 2,000 ballots were counted.

Through the exhibit, Sifuentes, who was born in South Korea and moved to the U.S. in 1992, wanted to start a conversation about people who are disenfranchised.

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Native Americans seek visibility in their vote

By Pat Nabong

[Package of Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline stories here]

In the run-down American Indian Center, fewer than 20 Native Americans are gathered to discuss issues that are important to them in this year’s election.

Susan Power, one of the founding members of the center, looks around the room. She bellows, “Where are all the Indians? Why aren’t they here?”

The room is silent.

David Bender, a community organizer, pipes up and reminds the handful of people who have gathered under hundreds of tribal nations’ flags that although they are small in number, their votes matter.

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Día de los Muertos in Pilsen commemorates the dead and commits to fighting social injustices

By Pat Nabong

People with faces painted to resemble skulls and hair adorned with flowers marched around Pilsen on the night when spirits are believed to visit the living. Photos of deceased loved ones and famous human rights advocates embellished the “ofrenda” or altar. Under the rain, children twirled to the beat of drums.

Día de los Muertos, an annual tradition that dates back thousands of years to the Aztecs and originated in Mexico, brought people together in Pilsen, a predominantly Mexican neighborhood Pilsen for different reasons — some personal, some political.

View the gallery to see photos of the radiant pageantry at Día de los Muertos in Pilsen:

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People with disabilities are being encouraged to report sexual violence

By Pat Nabong

When the whole world heard Donald Trump talk about grabbing a woman without consent in a 2005 tape, thousands responded with the #notokay hashtag. Tweets about how women were raped or sexually assaulted poured in, bringing rape culture to the forefront yet again.

As more women seem to be speaking out about the many ways in which they have been harassed, raped or assaulted, there is still not enough awareness about a demographic that is particularly at risk for sexual violence—women with disabilities, according to advocates for sexual violence survivors with disabilities.

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