Culture

20 Reasons Chicago Is Home To So Many Latinos

Guys, Chicagoan Latinos are booming. We’ve officially become the largest minority group in the city of Chicago. Some of the iconic Mexican or Puerto Rican neighborhoods, however, are suffering from gentrification. While the Latino population is growing, Pilsen and Humboldt have lost 30,000 Latinos.

So here’s mitú’s guide to why Chicago is home.

1. Chicago is the #3 hub for Latino Americans. (read: it’s lit)

CREDIT: @ymeffect / Instagram

There are more than 1.9 million Latinos in the Chicago area, and 1 in 5 Chicagoans are Latino, ay oh! Basically, it’s one giant family reunion.

2. They’re ? living their best life. ?

CREDIT: @BallerzWorld / Twitter

The average household income for Chicago Latinos is $42,000 and more than half are homeowners. Coming to you live from Los Angeles, and not holding my breath to ever own a home.

3. The vast majority of Chicago Latinos are Mexicano.

CREDIT: @maxblasquez / Instagram

Of all Chicago Latinos, the three largest groups of origin are Mexican (79.2 percent), Puerto Rican (9.6 percent) and Guatemalan (2.1 percent.) Prepare yourself for all the food.

4. “La Villita” is the Mexican neighborhood of Chicago.

CREDIT: @velvette.21 / Instagram

There are so many neighborhoods that are hella Latino in Chicago, but Little Village is nicknamed the “Mexico of the Midwest,” and you don’t have to go far for proof. Behold.

5. The streets are covered in murals like this one.

CREDIT: @chicago.street.art_.tour / Instagram

The National Museum of Mexican Arts helped bring us the Pilsen Murals, which range from glass tile mosaics, to graffiti art and enormous depictions of Frida Kahlo. You get to see the neighborhood’s renown artists as you stroll through.

6. The art at the National Museum of Mexican Arts is on point.

CREDIT: @bry_gonz / Instagram

The community in Little Village truly is alive with Mexican arts of the past and present. What do you think this one means? The artist is hush hush.

7. Even the restaurants in Chicago are beloved for it’s wall art.

CREDIT: @bfrobertson / Instagram

Lincoln Square’s Los Nopales Authentic Mexican Restaurant has been open since 2005, and has been thee spot to bring your family of 12, and never run low on margaritas. Plus, their tilapia tacos are Chicago-famous.

8. Mexican food has been served here since 1962.

CREDIT: @felixmaldonadoflex / Instagram

Nuevo Leon Restaurant is an iconic landmark in the Pilsen neighborhood and probably the most popular restaurant there. They’re most well known for their Filete Nuevo Leon, which is a New York style steak dish.

9. You can find almost any dish here.

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For a taste of Colombian food (remember, this is the Midwest), go to Las Tablas. They’re famous for their skirt steak, plantains and empanadas.

10. Want Puerto Rican food?

CREDIT: @maystcafe / Instagram

May St Café offers Mexican food inspired by Puerto Rican and Cuban Caribbean flavors. They offer brie and pear quesadillas alongside burgers with chipotle ketchup. Plus, they often have a DJ and that patio is bumpin’ with merengue moves.

11. Humboldt Park is the home of “Little Puerto Rico.”

CREDIT: @michelavk / Instagram

The city erected a pair of enormous, 60′ high Puerto Rican flags in “Paseo Boricua” in 1995. Boricua pride runs deep in this community, so when the wind is freezing you to your bones, you’ll still feel like home.

12. And it’s got it’s own public works art project.

CREDIT: @nataliaboa / Instagram

Notice anything familiar about this mural?

Hint: it’s the giant metal, Puerto Rican flag waving in the background. That’s Chicago for you. :’)

13. Plus, dessert is served daily in Chicago.

CREDIT: @peeyuka / Instagram

Kristoffer’s Café & Bakery is the drool-worthy destination for Tres Leches. They actually distribute them to other stores and Mexican restaurants, they’re that popular.

14. Chicago is home to the world’s largest free outdoor food festival, called the Taste of Chicago.

CREDIT: @kukunfood / Instagram

Truth: Chicagoans love their food. You know there’s going to be avocado art there. There is no escape, gracias a Dios.

15. Randomly, Chicago River is the only river in the world to flow backwards.

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And on St. Patrick’s day, they dye the whole river green. It’s a strange town, you guys, but some call it home.

16. Barack Obama is a major part of Chicago.

CREDIT: @windycitywonders / Instagram

Remember when we had DACA? And a friendly relationship with Mexico? And no “border wall”? *cry*

17. An average of 35 million visitors flock to Chicago each year.

CREDIT: @l.westphoto / Instagram

People come for the food, but they all come to The Bean, formally known as Cloud Gate. The City of Chicago opened up a design competition that Sir Anish Kapoor won. It was completed in 2006 and is made up of 168 stainless steel plates!

18. Chicago has 15 miles of bathing beaches.

CREDIT: @dianarely28 / Instagram

It’s no wonder so many of us live here. We’re here for the food and we’re here for the beaches. I have no idea where we go during the 6 months of windy winters.

19. In 1924, the first gay rights group in the U.S. was created in Chicago.

CREDIT: @pridefestchicago / Instagram

Henry Gerber, a German immigrant, moved to Chicago and was shocked at how LGBTQ+ people were treated. He was even committed to a mental institution because of his sexual orientation. The very first gay rights group in the U.S., “The Society for Human Rights” was disbanded in 1925 after they were all arrested, but the members just moved to other parts of the country and started their own advocacy groups.

Last year, Chicago Pride had over 1,000,000 people in attendance. :’)

20. Chicago was technically the birthplace of soap operas.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. MyLifetime.com. 30 April 2018.

Created by Irna Phillips, later known as “Queen of the Soaps”, “These Are My Children” was the very first daytime soap opera on air in the U.S. The show only aired for 24 days before being cancelled, but it paved a path, and proves that Latinos have a permanent home in Chicago.

Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot Has Overseen A Huge Drop In The City’s Violent Crime Right And This Is Why

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Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot Has Overseen A Huge Drop In The City’s Violent Crime Right And This Is Why

Pixabay

Chicago, Illinois, is one of the mayor American cities that faces big challenges when it comes to fighting violent crime. Historically, the city has been renowned for the role that organized crime has had on politics and also because deep social inequality often leads to marginalization. Even though the city experiences high levels of criminality that need to be tackled, there are some promising signs as 2020 begins. And the newly elected mayor Lori Lightfoot might have a lot to do with it, and has some thoughts on why the city has experienced a double-digit fall on violent crime indexes. 

Lori Lightfoot, a queer Black woman, has had a great inaugural year in office.

Credit: Chicago Tonight / WTTW

Lightfoot is part of an important shift in local governments that has seen the number of female incumbents increase more than ever before. As NFINCE reported in its end of year recap of good things that happened in 2019, “with the April election of Lori Lightfoot in Chicago, a record number of black women (eight) served as mayors in the 100 largest cities in the United States.”

Lightfoot has been strong from day one, making masterful political moves such as firing a senior police officer that many had not dared to touch. As the Chicago Sun Times reports: “… she fired the retiring police superintendent she had celebrated one month earlier after accusing Eddie Johnson “lying” to her and to the public about the circumstances surrounding an embarrassing drinking-and-driving incident in mid-October. From a practical standpoint, Lightfoot’s decision simply means Johnson is gone a month earlier than the Dec. 31 retirement date he announced in October. But, from a political standpoint, it’s a sea change”. So yes, while in power she has made sure that the establishment knows that she has the upper hand. 

While cities like Baltimore experienced a spike in crime during 2019, Chicago’s went down by up to 10%!

As the non for profit The Crime Report points out: “Crime in Chicago is down. Though it hasn’t returned to 2014 levels, compared to late November of last year, reported crimes are down by 10 percent. That decrease is driven partly by significant declines in property crime. Violent crime has fallen by 11 percent”. This is great news for the Windy City, which has often been singled out by Republicans as evidence of Democrat failure in government. Let’s not forget that mamy Obama aides and Obama himself learnt to do politics in the tough Chicago scene and the city is a somewhat safe Democratic bastion.

In a televised interview, Lightfoot outlined what she thinks are the reasons behind this positive drop in violent crimes.

Credit: CNN / YouTube

The Chicago Mayor told CNN that one of the reasons for the drop is the alignment of the different government departments in the city to guarantee public safety. But above all, she stated, was the work with what she called “community partners” while being “on the ground”. This is a very similar approach that the Obama-school of Chicago politics advocates for. She also credits the support that the city government has been giving to victims of crime. Lightfoot also singled out the use of complex technology that alerts police when there is a shooting so they can act faster. Technology is being deployed in the most violent areas of the city. There is a constant flow of information that can be sent to the field to track cars, victims and shooters. 

But there is still a lot to do and the situation in Chicago remains less than ideal, so come structural changes are being put in motion.

Credit: WBEZ

As The Crime Report sums up: “Chicago is on track to record fewer than 500 homicides this year, a 35 percent decrease from 2016. Even if Chicago returned to its 2014 murder rate, that would still be three times higher than the national rate”. There are other challenges faced by the Chicago police, such as the low number of solved homicides in the city. 

One of the most significant changes to law enforcement structures enacted in 2019 was a considerable increase in the number of detectives in the city. As the Associated Press reports, the Chicago Police Department “is beefing up its detective ranks and spreading them around the city in the hope that it can catch up to departments in other major cities that solve a far higher percentage of homicide and other violent crime cases”. Authorities are optimistic about this change, as the AP further reports: “Police officials said will get detectives to crime scenes more quickly and give them a better chance of finding witnesses to interview” and “the move will foster public trust in communities, particularly those with high crime rates , and will allow residents to regularly see the same detectives”.

Violent crimes are down, yes, but other offenses that affect communities are up, as reported by The Wall Street Journal: “A rise in carjacking across Chicago has spooked residents even as police celebrate a drop in violent crimes such as shootings and homicides”. So there is still a lot of work to do. 

Chicago Teen Shot In Chest After Trying To Steal A Woman’s Dog

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Chicago Teen Shot In Chest After Trying To Steal A Woman’s Dog

Chicago Police Department

A Chicago woman shot a teenage girl in the chest Friday night after she attacked the woman and tried to steal her dog. Araceli Diaz, 21, and the 14-year-old girl had arranged to meet “to conduct a sale,” according to a Chicago Police Department press release. According to authorities, the teenager pulled out a pellet gun and “struck Diaz on the head with it,” in an effort to steal Diaz’s property. That ‘property’ was a Husky puppy. Diaz, not knowing the teenager’s weapon was, in fact, a pellet gun, shot the teenager in the chest with a handgun. Diaz fled the scene in a white Cadillac but was arrested an hour later thanks to surveillance video.

Diaz is being charged with one felony count for not having a concealed carry license, resulting in one unlawful use of weapon felony charge. The teenager was hospitalized and charged the following morning with one felony count for attempted armed robbery.

Araceli Diaz is not being charged for the shooting itself, as it was considered self-defense.

CREDIT: CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT

Diaz appeared in court Sunday morning, where Judge Arthur Wesley Willis set her bail at $5,000, meaning she’d have to post $500 to be released from jail. Diaz’s attorney, Mike Walsh, told reporter Tom Schuba that Diaz breeds Huskies, and was attempting to sell the dog when the unidentified juvenile attacked her. Prosecutors have already indicated that they’ve concluded she fired the gun in self-defense. Diaz has a valid firearm owner’s identification card but did not have a valid concealed carry license, making her use of the legal weapon unlawful. 

“A BB gun can appear like a real gun and to anyone out there it’s gonna appear like a real gun, to the police, and to any individual, and if someone’s carrying and they have their own CCL they may use their own gun to defend themselves,” Chicago Police Officer Jose Jara told FOX32.

The girl reportedly ordered Diaz to the ground before assaulting her.

CREDIT: Chicago Police Department

Diaz placed the dog in the girl’s arms and told her she could take the dog home for $800, according to The Chicago Tribune. Suddenly, a nearly perfect moment (adopt, don’t shop, mi gente), became violent. The girl ordered Diaz to the ground and hit her twice on the head and face with a metal pellet gun, according to The Tribune. As the girl tried to run off with the dog, Diaz allegedly shot her twice in the chest and abdomen and fled the scene in a white Cadillac. An hour later, police tracked Diaz down using surveillance footage and found a loaded Glock handgun and magazine in the passenger seat of her car.

Prosecutors say the girl arrived with another person, according to The Chicago Tribune.

CREDIT: Google Maps

“We’re not sure where they met initially or how they communicated, but all we do know is that the 14-year-old did show up with other intentions and she pulled out a BB gun,” Jara initially told FOX32. Later, at Diaz’s court hearing, prosecutors said that the two began communicating on Facebook to arrange the sale, according to The Chicago Tribune. The teenager arrived with another person to meet Diaz at 5:45 p.m. Friday evening on the 2300 block of South Drake Avenue, prosecutors said, according to the outlet.

A petition to drop Diaz’s charges has been posted to Change.org. Only one person has signed it, and it’s the petition-writer, Jerald Fraley, who is mysteriously listed as deceased on Facebook

The teen was transported to a hospital where she was treated overnight for her gunshot wounds. She was charged Saturday morning with attempted armed robbery and is expected to appear in juvenile court on December 9, according to police.

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