A Statement in Observation of the Juneteenth Holiday

A Statement in Observation of the Juneteenth Holiday

The Chicago Cultural Alliance observes Juneteenth —also known as Emancipation Day and Freedom Day—as an official holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865.

On that date, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the end of the Civil War, Union Major General Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in Galveston Texas, where some Black people were still enslaved. Granger issued a proclamation to the people of Texas re-affirming that based on President Lincoln’s order, all enslaved people were free.

There are currently forty-seven states, and the District of Columbia, that recognize Juneteenth as either an official or ceremonial holiday. A bill to recognize Juneteenth as a paid state holiday was introduced in the Illinois General Assembly and passed this week. We ask that you join the Alliance in observing Juneteenth so it is recognized by more citizens of the United States and internationally. 

 

Proposed Zoning Ordinance Restricts Cultural Activities

Proposed Zoning Ordinance Restricts Cultural Activities

Dear Chairman Tunney and Members of the Committee,

Recently, Landmarks Illinois and the Alphawood Foundation informed the Chicago Cultural Alliance about a proposed zoning amendment that would restrict establishing cultural exhibits and the housing of museums in “R” zoning districts and require special use permits. This proposal is in stark contrast to the mission of the Chicago Cultural Alliance. The Alliance is an arts advocacy organization that provides professional services to 42 ethnic museums, historical societies, and community centers, which we call our Core Members. Our members operating in “R” districts are active and central meeting places that contribute to stabilizing and improving their blocks and neighborhoods.

The Alliance was founded by and for Chicago’s neighborhood-based cultural institutions. Our mission is to promote, support, and connect centers of cultural heritage for a more inclusive and equitable Chicago. Our members represent 30 different cultures around the world and are all based in 30 of the 77 Chicago neighborhoods and 10 suburbs.

These institutions protect and highlight Chicago’s history, foster economic stability through partnerships with local businesses and family-owned restaurants, and address residents’ needs in your wards and throughout the city. The Chicago Cultural Alliance strongly opposes this proposed zoning amendment. It will harm neighborhoods and create more uncertainty for these vital community institutions who are already a vulnerable class of small businesses because of the pandemic. It would also curtail other organizations who are planning to establish new museums and cultural exhibits, including the former home of Muddy Waters and a museum dedicated to Emmett Till.

The Alliance and our members provide cultural activities, education opportunities for teachers and students, and stimulate local business in neighborhoods. We also actively connect and partner with Alderman and Chambers of Commerce to emphasize how these institutions strengthen and rebuild our city. If members of the zoning committee want to learn more about our work, we invite you to join our monthly virtual town halls on the first Fridays of each month. If the Zoning Committee chooses to participate, please contact me at [email protected]

We urge you to vote against any change in the zoning code that will disallow and discourage our members’ operations. The proposal will seriously jeopardize the stability of neighborhood institutions that tell inclusive, equitable, and honest stories about this city and its people.

 

Monique Brinkman-Hill – Executive Director of the South Side Community Art Center

Monique Brinkman-Hill – Executive Director of the South Side Community Art Center

Have you met Monique?

If not, let us do the honor of introducing you to Monique Brinkman-Hill, who was appointed as South Side Community Art Center’s Executive Director in December 2019. Having to take over just before the start of 2020 and all the twists and turns it had in store, Monique and her team have worked hard to support their organization in its 80th year.

Do you want to hear about what it’s like to serve as a relatively new executive director during a pandemic and learn more about the South Side Community Art Center?

Listen (and/or watch) Monique’s interview with the Alliance’s own new executive director, Peter Vega, in this episode of Cultural Connections!

MOSAIC 2020 Outstanding Cultural Leader – Kathleen McDonald

MOSAIC 2020 Outstanding Cultural Leader – Kathleen McDonald

If you find yourself wondering how people end up working in their field or what it is like to work at a museum, this episode of Cultural Connections is perfect for you! 

Join Executive Director Peter Vega and Kathleen McDonald as they discuss their experiences in the arts/humanities. Kathleen has been active in the world of arts and humanities since her college years (even though it wasn’t her original plan!) and worked her way up the ranks in museums.

Maybe this episode will inspire you or someone you know to get involved at a local museum or heritage center!

We are a month into our Cultural Connections Campaign and we want to thank you for tuning in every week to listen to our members and supporters discuss topics on cultural diversity, inclusion, and equity. So far we have raised a total of $15,000 towards our goal of $50,000. We know we can hit that goal, but we need your help.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to connect, promote, and support centers of cultural heritage for a more inclusive Chicago.

We simply could not do this without you.