ABC7 Celebrates Black History Month With “Our Chicago: Building Black” Special

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CHICAGO (WLS) — ABC7 is proud to celebrate Black History Month with a special presentation of “Our Chicago: Building Black” (formerly “Heart & Soul”). From a revitalizing neighborhood building project to programs that help fortify mind, body, and spirit, the half-hour special explores the stories of Chicago working to create new opportunities in the black community.

This series is hosted by ABC7’s Cheryl Burton and Hosea Sanders, with contributions from Jim Rose, Val Warner and Will Jones.

Regal Mile Studios and SRV Chicago

Cheryl Burton talks to two developers, Derek Dudley and Jim Reynolds, who, in partnership with the Chicago Common-born rapper, are investing in the South Side with Regal Mile Studios development. They hope to breathe new life into this neighborhood and change the perception of the South Side, envisioning film, television and music production studios built on the vacant property where US Steel closed its manufacturing plant in 1992.

Jim Rose explores SRV Chicago, a non-profit organization that provides at-risk athletes with free elite fitness training and mentorship to help them prepare for success in sport and in their future careers. To learn more about SRV, follow their Instagram @srvacademy

Jump the broom

Val Warner explores black love and the history of broom jumping for marrying black couples, a tradition that began in the days of slavery. Chicago couple Arthur Haynes and Loren Jones tied the knot in 2019. Haynes said the decision to jump the broom at their wedding was a no-brainer.

“During slavery, we couldn’t get married. We weren’t allowed to get married,” wedding planner Kia Marie said. “So jump the broom, sealed the deal.”

Entrepreneur Al Person, Mobile Makers Chicago and Common

Will Jones interviews Al Person, a West Side entrepreneur looking to open Lawndale’s only black-owned supermarket. While also planning to build a cafe and ice cream shop next to the supermarket, Person’s main goal is to bring in basic goods and services enjoyed by the more affluent areas but lacking in Lawndale.

Oak Park native and architect Maya Bird-Murphy started Mobile Makers Chicago in 2017. She did so with a mission to teach children and teens the importance of design to increase diversity in the realm of design. architecture in the future. During the winter, the Maya team organizes courses for children to design unique projects. But when summer rolls around, their show stopper comes out: a completely remodeled USPS van redesigned into a mobile classroom.

Using the “mobile” part of Mobile Makers, they run pop-up summer workshops for young people in every neighborhood in Chicago. To learn more about Mobile Makers Chicago, visit their website.

Cheryl Burton chats with the Grammy winner, Oscar winner and actor Common about why the Regal Mile Studios project is close to home and means so much to him.

Pink hard hat

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up just under 11% of construction workers. Chicagoan Sashe Ivy hopes to diversify this area in Chicago through Pink Hard Hatz.

Pink Hard Hatz is a black woman-led construction company that strives to involve more women in the trade. Ivy has partnered with the nonprofit Chicago Women in Trades, which helps women learn different trades. The founder said her goal is for Pink Hard Hatz Construction to expand to all 50 states.

For more from Pink Hard Hatz, follow them on Instagram @pinkhardhatzconstruction

Special thanks to The Stony Island Arts Bank for hosting us on this episode of “Our Chicago: Building Black”.

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