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2    WHEREAS, The 7th Senate District is one of the most
3ethnically diverse districts in the State of Illinois; and
4    WHEREAS, The district has long been and increasingly is
5home to Black people from every corner of the vast and
6beautiful Black diaspora; and
7    WHEREAS, The Black and African-American communities of the
8district have a rich history of achievements, culture,
9activism, and countless other contributions to the vibrancy
10and uniqueness of the district; and
11    WHEREAS, Graceland Cemetery, located in the district in
12Lakeview, is the permanent resting place for 29 leaders of the
13Underground Railroad network that helped many thousands of
14enslaved African-American people find freedom; and
15    WHEREAS, Uptown was one of the first places
16African-Americans could live on the north side outside the
17Black Belt, despite experiencing intense racism and
18discrimination once they moved there; and
19    WHEREAS, The family of Sen. Mike Simmons, who represents
20the 7th District, was one of the first Black families to move



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1into and integrate the Lincoln Square neighborhood just two
2years before he was born there in the early 1980s; and
3    WHEREAS, Sen. Simmons, who is of Ethiopian and
4African-American descent, is proud to have grown up in one of
5the very first scattered-site public housing apartment
6buildings built on the north side of Chicago in Lincoln Square
7in 1981; and
8    WHEREAS, Sen. Simmons is the first Black person to
9represent the far north side of Chicago's 7th District in the
10Illinois State Senate; and
11    WHEREAS, Black elders currently residing in the 7th
12District as longtime residents were some of the first Black
13people decades ago to move into communities such as Buena
14Park, Rogers Park, Lincoln Square, Andersonville, Budlong
15Woods, Uptown, Edgewater, Lakeview, West Ridge, and other
16areas of the district; and
17    WHEREAS, Black elders have left a rich legacy in the
18district by creating safe spaces and being role models for
19youth of all races and ethnicities; and
20    WHEREAS, The Black Panther Party established a legacy of
21mutual aid and humanity across racial lines, which continues



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1to shape the community-led mutual aid efforts in Uptown, on
2Argyle Street, in Rogers Park, along the Winthrop and Kenmore
3corridors, and in other 7th District areas; and
4    WHEREAS, The 7th District is home to the historic Winthrop
5Family Garden, which honors the legacy of African-American
6families who made the historic move during the Great Migration
7and began building a Black residential community along the
84600 North block of Winthrop Avenue as early as the year 1910;
10    WHEREAS, Winthrop Avenue was the only block on which Black
11families could live because of segregation, with scores of
12racial covenants hindering them from moving onto other blocks
13in Uptown; with only 18 families living on 4600 North Winthrop
14Avenue, they formed a community that supported each other and
15became one family despite the restrictive covenants intended
16to keep Uptown segregated; the Winthrop Family Garden stands
17as a place of remembrance and celebrates what it took to make
18Uptown what it is today; and
19    WHEREAS, Many Black residents, including whole villages
20and communities, have been displaced from the far north side
21over the decades, including from parts of neighborhoods within
22the 7th District; and



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1    WHEREAS, Those same Black residents left their mark on
2nearly every neighborhood in the north lake front district;
4    WHEREAS, The future of the 7th District is as bright as the
5past, as Black people continue to run small businesses of
6every type, continue to graduate from schools, and assume
7leadership roles in their communities, in the region, and in
8our state in every imaginable way; and
9    WHEREAS, Uptown features small businesses from West and
10Central Africa, such as Osas African Kitchen, the Nigerian
11Kitchen Restaurant, the Mukase African Restaurant, the Makola
12African Supermarket, Amen African Braiding, the Iyanze Bar &
13Cafe, The Good Shepherd Enterprise, B&Q Afro Root Cuisine, the
14Queen African Hair Braiding Salon, and Chem's African Hair
15Braiding, among others; and
16    WHEREAS, Edgewater, Uptown, and Rogers Park are home to an
17extensive Eritrean and Ethiopian population spread along
18Broadway and Clark Street with family-run businesses such as
19the Axum Ethiopian Restaurant, the Ethiopian Diamond, the
20Awash Ethiopian Restaurant, Tesfa Ethiopian Cuisine, the Selam
21Ethiopian Kitchen, Queen Sheba, the Ethio Mart, the Mella
22Cafe, the Demera Restaurant, the Kukulu Market, the Ethio
23Mart, the Denden Restaurant, and Meron Injera; and



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1    WHEREAS, Howard Avenue in Rogers Park is home to many
2Black-owned Caribbean small businesses, such as the Kizin
3Creole Restaurant, Caribbean Cuts, the Good To Go Restaurant,
4the Caribbean American Baking Co., and Ashley Beauty Supply;
6    WHEREAS, The 7th District is home to many Black Americans
7and African-Americans and is comprised of a glorious multitude
8of ethnic groups from all over Africa, including those from
9Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Senegal, Mali,
10Togo, Congo, Cameroon, Sudan, the Caribbean, and South
11America, many of whom found refuge along Broadway and Sheridan
12in Uptown and along Howard Avenue in Rogers Park and built a
13community; and
14    WHEREAS, The Bryn Mawr Historic District in Edgewater is
15home to a growing number of new African-American and Black and
16LGBTQ+-owned small businesses that bring vibrancy to this
17historic corridor; and
18    WHEREAS, Ebony DeBerry, a Black woman and lifelong
19resident of Rogers Park, wanted to build a community of people
20who lifted each other and gave back to the community she had
21growing up; she helped develop ONE Northside, which is a mixed
22income, multi-ethnic, intergenerational community-based



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1organization that brings together the diverse communities of
2Chicago's far north side and uses collective power to address
3injustice and advance the community's interests; she has
4created safe spaces for women of color to come together, share
5resources, and encourage each other; and
6    WHEREAS, Jackie Taylor, a Black woman and longtime
7resident of Uptown, founded the Black Ensemble Theater in
81976, which is the first cultural center in the nation
9dedicated to eradicating racism through the arts; the Black
10Ensemble Theater is a crown jewel of the 7th District,
11bringing together not only Black residents but people from all
12racial and ethnic backgrounds to celebrate through free
13outdoor concerts for the community on the 4400 block of North
14Clark Street, unique plays, and other programming that
15celebrates the arts in the district; and
16    WHEREAS, Dr. Ana Vicky Castillo, an advocate for the
17education of the Latin and African diaspora, created the Afro
18Latino Historical Society and the African Diaspora Museum; she
19has worked tirelessly to reclaim the legacy of the forgotten
20history of the African-American and Latin community; she has
21helped inform the public of the great achievements of the
22Afro-Latino and African immigrant communities; therefore, be



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2ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we recognize the Black
3and African-American communities of the 7th Senate District
4and express our deep appreciation and respect for the myriad
5of Black communities that currently reside in and have lived
6in the 7th District; and be it further
7    RESOLVED, That we celebrate the history, achievements,
8culture, activism, and countless other contributions that
9Black people from a vast and beautiful diaspora have made to
10the 7th Senate District of Illinois on the far north side of