Foundation seeks to address systemic racism in Valley

… in their businesses.” SYSTEMIC RACISM Tara Walker Pollock, a … about identifying how systemic racism has been designed and … “You can see systemic racism in the disproportionate number of … mortality rate for Trumbull County African Americans was 18.1, compared … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

Today in the Culture, May 24, 2021: Trib Succumbs to Alden | Artists Book House | Pullman Development

Photo: Ray Pride

DESIGN

Pullman Artspace Lofts Open

The first Pullman neighborhood residential development in sixty years is open, after an $18 million investment. “A collaboration of nonprofit groups worked to rehab two long-vacant 1880s buildings at 11137-49 South Langley Avenue that are on the National Register of Historic Places,” reports Block Club Chicago. “A new, 32,000-square-foot building was constructed between the two, creating a complex now called the Pullman Artspace Lofts.”

DINING & DRINKING

Vaccine Shot Could Be Poured

Representative Mike Zalewski of Riverside has proposed that bars and taverns be allowed to offer customers a free alcoholic drink with proof of vaccination. He’s also working with the Illinois Liquor Control Commission to file an emergency rule or guidance, reports WGEM. “We really do think this will be managed by the licensees,” Zalewski told the station. “He stressed this won’t create ‘COVID-19 happy hour’ since the bill only allows a promotion with one free drink. The proposal passed unanimously out of the House Executive Committee [and] heads to the House floor.”

Chicago Joins James Beard Foundation Summer Taste America

Chef Brian Jupiter will host the James Beard Foundation’s Summer Taste America culinary series at Frontier on Tuesday, July 13. Taste America will have in-person events in ten cities nationwide, bringing chefs and diners together to once more safely celebrate local independent restaurants and build support for industry recovery in the aftermath of the pandemic. Tickets are available by the pair at $300, here.

Eateries Increase Recruitment Incentives In Face Of Worker Shortage

Eater Chicago reports on ways that the hospitality industry hopes to entice workers back into their workforce. “As the pandemic has laid bare, restaurant workers consistently faced harassment and untenable hours for low wages, all without a safety net in the form of benefits or career advancement. Perhaps job seekers are still not lining up because a $50 interview bonus will not protect against customer harassment; $1,000 after three months won’t pay for childcare; and free mozzarella sticks are not equivalent to affordable health insurance. As one restaurant employee told Eater, the real incentivizing will be to ensure restaurant workers, post-pandemic, feel secure: ‘What can we do to make it so the people who provide food are not constantly, no matter how much they work, on the thinnest ice in the world?’”

FILM & TELEVISION

Looking At The Zapruder Film With Filmmaker’s Granddaughter And Jacqueline Stewart

Tuesday night via Zoom, Conversations at the Newberry presents Abraham Zapruder’s granddaughter Alexandra Zapruder and University of Chicago professor Jacqueline Stewart using the most famous home movie in American history, the twenty-six seconds and 486 frames of Zapruder’s 8mm footage of the assassination of John F. Kennedy at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. The pair will look at “the connections between home movies, family history, and difficult memories, as well as the emergence of citizen journalism.” Tuesday, 5pm, details here.

LIT

Evanston Gives Final Approval To Artists Book House Lease Of Harley Clarke Mansion

Evanston aldermen last week gave final approval to a forty-year lease with Artists Book House to take over the historic lakefront Harley Clarke Mansion, Evanston Review reports. “The lease requires Artists Book House to pay the city of Evanston one dollar per month for the first ten years. From 2031-41, rent will be $1,000 per month. From 2041-2051 it will be $2,000 per month, and from 2051-2061 it will run $3,000 per month… In return, Artists Book House would be required to meet fundraising benchmarks of $2 million by May 2022, and $4 million by May 2023… The group will complete renovation work and open to the public in 2026.”

MEDIA

Trib Deal Done…

… to the surprise of few, the dismay of most. Columnist Mary Schmich: “We just received the official TribPub press release confirming the sale of the company to Alden. It notes that 81.28% of the shares held by non-Alden stockholders voted to approve the merger. I’d like to thank the other 18.72 percent. They are going to heaven.” Ann Marie Lipinski: “Chicago is a city that rebuilt itself after destruction by fire yet it can’t save its newspaper. What a dark day.”

At Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post, media columnist Margaret Sullivan’s column about the deal for the still-profitable newspaper group is headlined “America’s rich people could have saved local journalism — and perhaps democracy. They refused,” and is captioned, “There’s a healthy population of plutocrats along the shore of Lake Michigan, but none lifted a finger to buy the Chicago Tribune and keep [the Orlando Sentinel; the Baltimore Sun; the Hartford Courant in Connecticut; the South Florida Sun Sentinel; the New York Daily News; the Capital Gazette in Annapolis; the Morning Call in Allentown, Pa.; the Daily Press in Newport News; and the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk] out of the hands of a job-slashing hedge fund.” “‘Chicago’s wealthy class failed the city by refusing to rescue the Chicago Tribune from a hedge fund,’ wrote Mark Jacob, a former Tribune editor. ‘A newspaper is both a watchdog and a binding agent. The weaker the media, the more inequitable a city is allowed to be. Rich Chicagoans sent a signal that they do not care.’”

At PBS Newshour, David Folkenflik shorthands what’s at stake: “You eliminate the ability of reporters to cover City Hall, to cover great corporate actors, cover sophisticated figures whose decisions have great implications for the lives of your audience and people in your region. If you no longer have enough journalists and give those journalists enough time to do the reporting, to figure out and then explain what’s going on in the communities around them.”

The Tribune’s Chris Jones is nonplussed by the technicalities offered on Friday by Los Angeles Time owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, who holds a twenty-four percent stake in Tribune, as part of his claim that he “abstained” from voting, as it has been a passive investment. “As with most carefully calibrated abstentions, decisions made with knowledge of the likely outcome, this one was no different at all from a vote for Alden.” Block Club Chicago senior editor Dawn Rhodes, formerly with the Trib: “Coward. There is no way to spin this. Utterly spineless.”

Tribune Columnist Rex Huppke held a Friday evening Twitter valediction: “I can’t be bothered with people who view newspapers as businesses to be squeezed for profit, or as disposable investments. None of us got into this to make money. We got into it because we have the unshakable ailment of giving a damn about the world around us and wanting to find ways to make it better, in whatever small way we can. Some do it through investigations that quite literally save and change lives. Some do it through features that enlighten and inform. Some do it with surgical editing skills, some do it from behind a camera, or by covering beats like hawks. Some do it by making readers laugh, or think, or cry. It’s the sum of all those parts that makes a newspaper great, and the desire to do such things can’t be dictated by hedge funds or feckless billionaires who lack the courage to take a stand. So we will work. And we will continue to do our very best for our readers and our communities. And we will fight like hell, and as one, against anyone who puts dollar signs above democracy. Because, at the end of the day, this is what we do.” Former Tribune Architecture critic Blair Kamin: “May 21, 2021–a day that will live in infamy in the history of The Chicago Tribune and American journalism.” Mother Jones editor-in-chief Clara Jeffery: “What a wasted opportunity to save journalism.”

The TRiiBe’s Interview With The Mayor

The TRiiBe presents “an abolitionist’s midterm conversation” with the mayor: “On national news, Lightfoot presents herself as a progressive queer Black woman—but does she truly understand the Black liberation struggle?” … “When Mayor Lightfoot entered the room, she was impressed by my Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG ‘Dark Mocha’ sneakers. And I couldn’t hide my delight to see her in a well-fitting and cute suit. Lightfoot’s suit choices have been a running joke on Black Twitter, and although I’m a critic of the mayor’s politics, I had to let her know that the suit was giving what it was supposed to give.” Bella BAHHS asks Lightfoot the questions; Lightfoot dances. Late in the piece: “By this point, revolutionaries, I was livid. I wanted to walk out… I couldn’t believe that she was sitting in my face telling me that we should not abolish qualified immunity because it will make policing a less attractive job. But I had an interview to finish… I left City Hall thinking that having a mayor who isn’t afraid to have a pro-Black journalist day is nice, but having one who implements pro-Black policies that we could benefit from every day would be better.”

Black Journalists MIA At The Top

“Black journalists are still largely MIA from nightly national newscasts as anchors, mostly invisible on editorial boards and as news directors of television networks,” writes John W. Fountain at the Sun-Times after the Mayor’s kerfuffle-cum-stumble about excluding journalists from interview availabilities, something Mayor Lori Lightfoot pointed out to a lot of people’s chagrin. “She didn’t lie, though she clearly stepped on toes. Dear Mayor Lightfoot, Thank you, for acknowledging the decades-old journalism elephant in the room. Black journalists’ perspectives, insights and ideas remain sparse on the daily platter of American journalism. This despite the Kerner report’s recommendation long ago that news media hire, promote and retain reporters and editors of color. This amid the perpetual lie that, ‘We can’t find talented journalists of color.’ Truth is, I never wanted to leave Chicago. But to achieve my journalistic dreams, I had no other option. It’s simply my journey of reporting while Black.”

ARTS  & CULTURE

Lightfoot Lights Buckingham Fountain

“Because of the sacrifice of so many Chicagoans, we are but once again safely gathered and will literally flip the switch on our iconic summer Chicago,” Mayor Lightfoot said before the fountain was turned on, reports the Tribune’s Paige Fry. “When Buckingham Fountain roars back to life, just know it is also a symbol of our city roaring back to life.” The event was livestreamed as a promotion on ComEd’s Facebook page and began with remarks from WGN weatherman Tom Skilling before the switch was hit by the winner of a sweepstakes sponsored by the electric utility.

Illinois Humanities Has $1 Million To Award From American Rescue Plan Act

Illinois Humanities is accepting applications to distribute more than $1 million to Illinois cultural institutions affected by the pandemic. The funding will help Illinois’ critical humanities and cultural nonprofits survive during the ongoing crisis. The funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act. The grants range from $5,000 to $10,000, aimed to provide general operating support for humanities nonprofits as well as humanities-based project grants. Nonprofit organizations based in Illinois with annual budgets of $2 million or less are eligible to apply. The application deadline is July 15, 2021. Details are here.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Netflix’s ‘High on the Hog’ celebrates African American food

Stephen Satterfield, publisher of the food magazine Whetsone, hosts the new Netflix series "High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America."

In the new Netflix documentary series “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America,” Stephen Satterfield leads viewers on a delicious journey, from the markets of Benin in West Africa to the rice fields of Carolina’s Low Country, from Thomas Jefferson’s elegant Virginia home to the dusty rodeos of Houston. Along the way, he meets chefs, bakers and writers, like chef B.J. Dennis of Charleston, baker Jerrelle Guy and culinary history Michael W. Twitty, who illuminate the joy and depth African American food contributed to America.

The four-part travel series, which starts streaming on May 26, was inspired and adapted from the groundbreaking 2011 book “High on the Hog” by food scholar Jessica B. Harris, who in the first episode guides Satterfield through the Dantokpa Market in Benin.

Satterfield is a leading new voice in food writing and founder of the independent food magazine Whetstone. He spoke to The American South about the importance of new series and the new generation of Black culinarians on the rise across the South.

The American South: What impact did Jessica B. Harris’s book “High on the Hog” have on you?

Stephen Satterfield: As a Black man from the South who’s interested in food as a means of understanding humans and anthropology, I’ve been tremendously impacted by her scholarship. She created an intellectual blueprint for many of us.

TAS: To film “High on the Hog,” you traveled across America and to Benin in West Africa. What was that journey like for you personally?

SS: I had been to some of the places. But there was something about going back within the context of “High on the Hog” that was as enlightening as going for the first time. I think of Houston, in particular, where I saw the incredible legacy that the Black cowboys and Northeastern Trailriders are maintaining. I admire the sacrifice the trail riders have made to preserve their legacy and I’m just in awe of their skill as cowboys.

Stephen Satterfield explores a market in Benin with culinary scholar Jessica B. Harris in the new Netflix series "High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America."

New cookbook:Rice is a ‘frequent visitor’ at tables in the South, a new cookbook digs up the complicated way it got there

TAS: As you look across the South, what do you see among the rising generation of Black chefs and food leaders that are featured in “High on the Hog”?

SS: If I had to share a theme among this new generation, I would say that it’s a reclamation movement based on rejecting all of the things that we either learned in culinary school or were presented to us on screen about what is enviable cuisine. We are most interested in our own food narratives and histories, re-mixing and presenting them in a way that feels like our own but connected to a historical and cultural lineage.

TAS: When you talk about television travel shows, Anthony Bourdain of “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown” looms large over the genre. Did you think about his work while making “High on the Hog”?

SS: It’s not possible to host a food travel series without Anthony Bourdain coming to your mind. He is the godfather of this genre as we understand it. He was a great hero of mine personally for many years, even before his mainstream success. The greatest impact he had on my life happened years and years ago and moved me to this work, through that sense of curiosity and building relationships and connections through food.

Nola history:Black chefs stirred the pots for New Orleans’ cuisine. But today, they are hard to find.

TAS: What has been lost and overlooked by the fact that so many of our television travel guides have been white men.

SS: It means the genre hasn’t properly been explored yet. That is a disservice to the viewers, but it is also an opportunity for the people in positions of power to make these shows. We see over and over again examples of shows with Black or Asian leads, producers or directors where the results are often phenomenal, if not record breaking. There has long been a great appetite to see diversity in storytelling and diversity in the narrators. I’m happy that it’s come to this genre with “High on the Hog.”

Hallowed Sound:How Black voices from the South made American music what it is today

Chef B.J. Dennis (right) prepared a whole hog for Stephen Satterfield (center), host of the new Netflix series "High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America."

Note: This interview was edited for length and clarity.

News tips? Story ideas? Questions? Call reporter Todd Price at 504-421-1542 or email him at taprice@gannett.com. Sign up for The American South newsletter. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Nikole Hannah-Jones wasn’t cancelled

… trustees have been accused of racism, sexism, infringing on academic freedom … slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

Stile: Norcross allies attempt to influence Bergen Democratic primary

The Democratic primary battle for the state Senate in the 37th Legislative District is the No. 1 topic in Bergen County political circles.

And it’s also generated considerable interest — and money — 100 miles to the south in Camden County.

An independent expenditure group with close ties to George E. Norcross III has launched television ads, and mailers to boost the campaign of Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, the former Bergen County sheriff, who is locked in a bitter contest to succeed Sen. Loretta Weinberg, the liberal titan from Teaneck who is retiring.

Johnson, the choice of the Democratic Party establishment, is competing against Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, his longtime colleague in the 37th District, who is running a buck-the-establishment campaign.

It’s a high-stakes primary. Given the liberal, Democratic composition of the district, the primary winner will likely win the general election in November.

Huttle is hoping to tap progressive disgust with the party machinery and what she says is a coordinated “old boys network” effort to undermine her candidacy.

Now she has a new foil to add to her attacks: Norcross, a businessman and practitioner of the take-no-prisoners school of politics. 

137525: 021315- TEANECK: Assemblyman Gordon Johnson and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle presented Donald Cassidy, a 92-year-old WWII veteran and German prisoner of war, with a proclamation honoring him for his service at the Heritage Pointe Retirement Community on Friday. DANIELLE PARHIZKARAN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER.

“What interests do South Jersey party bosses have in Bergen County?” Huttle asked in an interview last week. “As I said, this election should be decided by the voters of District 37 and, obviously, South Jersey party bosses should not be trying to influence this election.”

The main target of Huttle’s ire is the American Democratic Majority, whose officers include William Tambussi, Norcross’ lawyer; Assemblywoman Patricia Egan Jones, Camden County’s director of outreach for veterans affairs; and consultant Sean Kennedy, who chairs the group. The group’s involvement in the 37th primary was first reported by Politico New Jersey.

As an independent expenditure group, American Democratic Majority can raise and spend unlimited sums on the race — but is prohibited from coordinating with the Johnson campaign. 

ADM’s participation in the race, however, speaks to a more complex realignment of the Democratic Party power over the past two years.

Stile:After a bitter turf war, New Jersey Democrats now bask in ‘detente’

Movers and Shakers:Phil Murphy is OK with senatorial courtesy. Here’s the backstory

Party ‘thaw’ shapes race

The group is the latest example of the intra-Democratic party thaw in relations between Gov. Phil Murphy and the the South Jersey axis, led by Norcross, along with his close ally, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester.

American Democratic Majority is bankrolled with a $1.25 million contribution from Garden State Forward, the independent campaign group operated by the New Jersey Education Association, the powerful teachers’ union.

That contribution is steeped in a historical irony — the union spent millions in an unsuccessful bid to defeat Sweeney in his 2017 reelection race. Now they have resumed the deep-pocketed alliance they enjoyed before the 2017 dustup.

South Jersey power broker George E. Norcross III testifies before the New Jersey Senate select committee on Economic Growth Strategies established to review the state's tax incentive programs in Trenton on November 18, 2019.

The NJEA also happens to be one of the earliest and most ardent backers of Gov. Phil Murphy, whom Norcross publicly castigated as incompetent and a liar, and Sweeney opposed in the Senate. The union was the first to endorse Murphy’s campaign in 2017 and has become a major donor to New Direction New Jersey, a Murphy-aligned independent group. 

They are now all on the same page — and the same advertisements — for Johnson, a back-bench legislator since 2001 who is seeking to become the first African American to serve in the state Senate.

“Join Governor Murphy and Loretta Weinberg to support Gordon Johnson, the progressive Democrat for state Senate,” the narrator intones in a 30-second spot.

In mailboxes, district voters are treated to negative portraits of Huttle that seek to discredit her claims of independence and transparency.

“They are desperate and they are threatened by me” she said.

For nearly 16 years, Huttle has amassed a reliably liberal record on health care, the environment and social issues in the Assembly.

And she has faced little trouble getting reelected — certainly nothing like this kind of well-organized opposition from party leaders and her own county committee.

Huttle, who is being backed by a number of progressive groups from around the state, believes the leaders are afraid of an “independent” who doesn’t march in lockstep with party orders.

Huttle’s casting as ‘independent’

Earlier this year, she publicly lashed out Bergen County Democratic Chairman Paul Juliano, accusing him of orchestrating Johnson’s nomination behind the scenes, angering some of her party operatives and allies in Bergen.

Last week, she also stepped up her branding as a maverick by calling for the elimination of “county lines” — the coveted ballot position given to party-endorsed candidates. That’s a reversal of her position she took in a debate earlier this month, but now she says the system is anti-democratic and harms women and candidates of color.

“They clearly want somebody more pliable,” she said, referring to Johnson, who was granted the line at the party’s nominating convention in March.

Johnson’s campaign manager, Storm Wyche, fired back, saying Huttle was trafficking in racist stereotypes — a charge Johnson made earlier in the contest.

“The fact is, Johnson has the vast support of the grassroots Democrats in Bergen County because he has spent his life in service to this community,” Wyche said in a statement. “To shamelessly misrepresent reality for your own political gain and claim he is only in this position because the bosses put him there is disgraceful, offensive and fundamentally racist.”

Norcross did not respond to a message seeking comment. But an official with direct knowledge of American Democracy Matters’ operations says it is only natural that Murphy, the party’s top leader, would prefer a candidate who would most likely support his agenda.

Murphy will be listed on Column 1 on the District 37 ballot, right above Johnson and the rest of the party line candidates. Huttle will be listed in column 2 with a blank space in the governor’s slot above her name.

“By definition, Phil Murphy wants people who support his agenda. By definition, leaders want people with whom they can work,” the official said. “If Valerie Huttle’s argument is that she’s going to be independent of Phil Murphy and fight with her colleagues, who would want her there?”

Other factors at play

Yet party unity may not be the sole motivating factor for South Jersey’s involvement in Bergen.

The retirement of Weinberg, the Senate majority leader, will leave Sweeney without a trusted lieutenant on his leadership team and one fewer Bergen ally in the Senate Democratic caucus.

If elected, Johnson would likely move into Sweeney’s orbit. Backing Johnson also strengthens Sweeney’s ties with Juliano, the Bergen County Democratic Party chairman. Lou Stellato, Juliano’s predecessor, kept an arms-length distance from South Jersey influence.

Another factor is the role of prominent progressive activists in Huttle’s campaign. One ally in particular, Sue Altman of the New Jersey Working Families Party, has been a constant thorn in Norcross’ side. Defeating Huttle would be seen as a rebuke of Altman’s energetic brand of activism.

And then there is the issue of money. Johnson’s fundraising, combined with that of his Assembly running mates, Shaima Hader and Ellen Park, lags behind Huttle and the rest of her slate, Gervonn Romney Rice and Lauren Kohn Dayton.

The Huttle slate has raised a combined $378,000, which was boosted by Huttle’s $151,000 personal loan, according to the latest Election Law Enforcement Commission filings. But even if the loan is not factored in, Huttle’s camp still leads Johnson’s slate’s by $184,000 in contributions.

Huttle’s campaign had a total of $238,000 left to spend, compared with $184,000 for Johnson. But Johnson supporters dismissed suggestions that Huttle’s advantage prompted American Democratic Majority into action (the group filed its paperwork with ELEC in January). And, they noted, Johnson will enjoy the resources of the Bergen County Democrats and will be helped out by money raised last week at a fundraiser led by Murphy and Weinberg.

As for Murphy, Huttle said she was “obviously disappointed” with the governor’s support of Johnson. But she has confidence that voters will not be swayed by the outside money or whether or not she is on the organizational line. She intends to send out a mailer that includes an illustration of the ballot.

“I’m actually making a visual graphic, and the people will see where to vote for Murphy and me because we are Democrats,” she said.

Charlie Stile is a veteran political columnist. For unlimited access to his unique insights into New Jersey’s political power structure and his powerful watchdog work, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: stile@northjersey.com 

Twitter: @politicalstile