CAPTIONS: 1) Rush University Medical Center neurosciences intensive care unit nurses are following the State’s masking directive. 2A and 2B) In Bridgeport, local residents turn to religion in dealing with the coronavirus. 3A and 3B) Rush’s Daryl Kerr, MD (3A), and Bryce Austell, MD (3B). 4) Mount Sinai Hospital medical personnel discuss the coronavirus. 5) UI Health nurse practitioner Janey Kottler is fitted for personal protective equipment by Blessing Nwachukwu, the environmental safety specialist for the University of Illinois Hospital, at the UI Health Pilsen clinic, as it was transformed into a COVID assessment site (photo by Mark Mershon). 6) The neonatal intensive care unit team at Rush University Children’s Hospital urges people to shelter at home. 7) Mercy Hospital and Medical Center personnel are being careful to fully utilize personal protective equipment. 8) Mary Sheelhan in the Mercy Hospital and Medical Center pre-birth center gives the thumbs up sign. 9) Rush University Medical Center nurses, on the front lines of fighting coronavirus. 10) Match Day, an annual event in which University of Illinois College of Medicine students learn where they will begin their careers as hospital residents, was conducted online this year.
Archives for May 2020
By Eva Hofmann
Even though marijuana is legal in Illinois and many other states, users—even those using medical marijuana—can still get into trouble.
For example, it remains illegal to use cannabis in public, at schools, in parks, in government buildings, on a bus or train, in a car or truck, or near children. The law also prohibits use anywhere others can observe a person, including your front porch.
Property owners such as landlords may ban marijuana on their premises. In addition, many suburbs have banned cannabis businesses within their boundaries, though they may not prohibit possession or private use of marijuana.
No home growing is allowed, except for medical marijuana patients, who can grow only up to five plants per patient at home in a closed, locked area.
Users should not drive while high. While there is no scientifically proven measurement of impairment, police still may arrest those driving while impaired by marijuana. Typically, officers base arrests on driving infractions and a field sobriety test.
According to Chicago-based attorney Jeffrey Brown, the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act is the Illinois law declaring that cannabis should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol so that:
Persons must show proof of age (21 and older) before purchasing cannabis;
Selling, distributing, or transferring cannabis to minors and other persons younger than 21 years of age shall remain illegal;
Driving, operating a watercraft, and operating a snowmobile under the influence of cannabis shall remain illegal;
Legitimate, taxpaying business people, and not criminals, will conduct sales of cannabis;
Cannabis sold in Illinois will undergo testing and labeling and be subject to additional regulation to ensure purchasers stay informed and protected; and
Sellers will inform purchasers of any known health risks associated with using cannabis, as concluded by evidence-based, peer-reviewed research.
In the presence of minors
Be careful about using cannabis in front of minor children, even if you hold a medical marijuana card. According to Brown, a person using medical marijuana who is entitled to custody or visitation or parenting time with a minor may not be denied that right unless “clear and convincing evidence” can prove that a person’s actions in relation to cannabis were such that they created an unreasonable danger to the safety of the minor.
It is a violation of the Medical Act, however, to allow any person “who is not allowed to use cannabis under the Act” to use the cannabis that a cardholder possesses. “Arguably, a minor who is in the presence of burning cannabis is ‘using’ that cannabis, and because they are both a minor and not a card holder, that provision of the Act would be violated by the card holder,” said Brown. “The overriding concern in custody battles is the best interest of the child, and inhaling second hand cannabis smoke is plainly not in the best interests of any child.”
Employers still can test employees
Lest you think your job is secure under legalization, know that you can still be fired under a company’s zero tolerance policies. Illinois is an “at will” state, which means employees can quit their jobs at will. By the same token, an employer can terminate an employee legally at any time, for any legitimate business reason—or for no reason. It is illegal, however, to fire an employee because of minority status, gender, age, religion, background, or sexual orientation.
Could those with a medical use card, issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health, be fired for testing positive? According to Brown, “it depends.”
The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act provides for limited use of cannabis for medical purposes and protects an employee from being penalized solely because of his or her status as a medical card holder. He added, however, that “nothing in this Act shall prevent a private business from restricting or prohibiting the medical use of cannabis on its property.”
According to Brown, the Medical Act does not allow undertaking any task under the influence of cannabis when it would constitute negligence, professional malpractice, or professional misconduct.
“If the employee holding a medical marijuana card used cannabis on the property of her employer, then the termination of her employment” would be allowed, said Brown. “Even if the use of cannabis was off the premises of the employer, if the employee is a medical card holder and tests positive for marijuana usage, they may still potentially be legitimately fired for a variety of reasons.
“Imagine as an extreme case an attorney employed at a law firm, with a valid medical card, who appears in court before a judge and does not properly represent her client because she is under the influence of cannabis. The termination of this lawyer’s employment would not be protected simply because she holds a medical marijuana card. Instead, the inquiry would focus on whether her legal use of cannabis nonetheless caused her to act negligently or to commit professional malpractice,” Brown noted.
The Medical Act does not permit cannabis use in a motor vehicle or public place. In fact, cannabis use, even for medical reasons, is not permitted for someone who holds a school bus permit or commercial driver’s license or who is a licensed law enforcement officer. “Thus, a firefighter or school bus driver or truck driver simply cannot use medical cannabis at all, and the termination of their employment for such use would be plainly lawful and permitted,” said Brown.
The Medical Act also provides that “Nothing in this Act shall prohibit an employer from enforcing a policy concerning drug testing, zero tolerance, or a drug-free workplace, provided the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.” What constitutes “zero tolerance” may hold some protection for an employee. “When an employer doesn’t enforce a ‘zero tolerance’ policy uniformly, for example, that can, in itself, be considered discriminatory,” Brown said.
Physical disability is a frequent reason for receiving a medical card, and discrimination on the basis of a disability is illegal. According to Brown, a medical-card-carrying employee who can show he was treated differently because of his disability, and not because of his medical card, may have rights to enforce from an unlawful termination.
In an at-will state like Illinois, however, the initial burden of proof falls on the employee to show the termination was for an unlawful reason. “The burden is not on the employer to show the termination was justified, unless or until the employee could meet his initial burden,” said Brown.
Challenging employment laws
Given that THC—the chemical in marijuana that gets people high—can stay in the system for weeks or even months post-abstinence, individuals can test positive for marijuana use whether they have used 30 minutes ago or 30 days ago.
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) advocates adult-use laws include provisions prohibiting employers from discriminating against workers or job candidates solely because of their off-the-job cannabis use.
According to NORML, “changes in the legal status of cannabis have not been associated with any significant adverse effects on workplace safety and, overall, off-the-job marijuana use has not been statistically associated with increased occupational accidents or injuries—as per the findings of the National Academy of Sciences and others.”
While the organization does not advocate that employers accommodate marijuana use prior to work or on the job, NORML has taken the stance that “as long as one’s off-the-job cannabis use does not impede one’s on-the-job performance, such behavior should be of no concern to employers.”
In March, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled employers cannot discriminate against employees solely for off-the-job medical cannabis use. The court’s opinion affirms a 2019 ruling by New Jersey’s appellate court. The plaintiff had been fired by his former company for using medical cannabis in compliance with state law as part of his cancer treatment.
Courts in Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island recently have issued similar rulings affording workplace protections for qualified medical cannabis patients.
In Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed an order last September clarifying legal protections for certain District of Columbia employees who consume cannabis while away from the job. The rules apply to all district government agencies under the mayor’s direct administrative authority.
Under these protections, many would-be employees being hired for non-safety-sensitive positions no longer will face pre-employment drug screenings.
For more information on the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (410 ILCS 705/1-5), go to http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs. For information about attorney Jeffrey Brown, go to https://jgbrownlaw.com or call (312) 789-9790. For more information on NORML, go to https://norml.org/ or call (202) 483-5500.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is “like nothing we have ever seen before.” Is that a simple understatement, or a frail attempt to grab hold of and try to make sense of the unprecedented times in which we live?
As Chicago and the State of Illinois continue to grapple with the novel coronavirus, we are not alone; the rest of our country and the entire world find themselves trying to figure out how to do so as well.
Every waking moment, the news, the worry, the loneliness, the hardship, and the divisiveness is the same. Every day we wake up living the life of the Bill Murray character in the movie Groundhog Day. Here at this publication, we have framed our editorials lately by saying, “As Gazette Chicago went to press…” as if by the time our newspaper reaches you, a ray of hope—a solution to our daily struggles to preserve lives and livelihoods—may have arrived with the climb of the dawning day. Alas, there is no solution so far under our sun at press-time.
Whether we are among government officials and public servants working hard at every level, medical and public healthcare professionals, owners of businesses large and small, leaders of faith, or everyday Janes and Joes, we come together to seek, pray, and hope for the same goals: A vaccine that prevents the spread of the virus and effective treatments for current victims. Mitigating the number of deaths. Success in the ongoing struggle to protect front-line heroes, heroines, and everyday citizens. An end to the divisive debate over what is more important—flattening the curve or opening up economies.
Let’s turn our attention for a moment to some of the positives that have come out of a time in our lives when facing the unknown has never been more scary or deadly. As we stare at the now infamous image of that bright red cellular “coronavirus crown” (designed by a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago), much like the Sword of Damocles swaying over our heads, we see some brightness and man’s humanity to man shining through.
You don’t have to look much further than the pages of this issue of
Gazette Chicago to see rays of hope. As we put this publication together, our editors marveled, and even shed some tears of gratitude, at the stories and images in this issue. Some of the things we are grateful for in the here and now in this community:
• Community activists and elected officials urging Governor JB Pritzker to “lift the ban” on rent control so many of our fellow citizens who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus can remain in their apartments; their actions are covered in a front-page article. It’s difficult to “shelter in place” when you don’t have a roof over your head. Just ask the more than 87,000 homeless in Chicago. This is a hotly contested issue, yet we tip our hats to the Lift the Ban Coalition for making sure this remains at the front of people’s minds, especially during this crisis.
• Also on page one, read how Communities United and Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) and courageous Chicago Public School high school students are advocating for more mental health services for young people stressed by the effect of the coronavirus on themselves, their friends, and their families.
• Beginning on page 3, see how local educators across all levels (elementary school, high school, and college) are embracing technology and ingenuity to help students learn remotely. This is a heavy lift and we express gratitude to teachers, administrators, and students coming together as one, even when the challenges of doing so are many. See, too, the resources available to students and parents that Gazette Chicago lists on page 4.
• “A Community in Action” is a collage of photos on page 8 (with descriptive captions on page 12). They say a picture tells a thousand words. You are all too familiar by now of the images of the heroes and heroines with their masks. This page is just a snippet of front-line heroes at our community hospitals and medical centers. Every day, every hour they stand at the battleground of this pandemic to save lives, risking their own in the process.
We know this collage doesn’t represent every front-line hero: the paramedics; the police officers and firefighters; U.S. postal, grocery store, City, Chicago Transit Authority, and utility workers; and so many others going to work each day on our behalf. The list is endless and speaks to what is great about who we are—that every day people have the courage and compassion to rise out of bed to serve others. This is the core of what is great and good in us. Don’t ever forget this—especially at a time when we see and struggle under the weight and vitriol of failed, dispassionate, and arrogant leadership at the highest levels in this country.
Something to think about when looking at the images of our “masked heroes and heroines”—put yourself in their shoes and consider what they face every day in our hospitals, VA facilities, nursing homes, and prisons (all “coronavirus hotbeds”) to save lives and offer technology so loved ones can bid farewell to those dying alone and afraid, all the while struggling with the stress and strain of seeing their own comrades fall under the burden. This is why we need to continue to shelter in place and use sound, common sense by listening to the science, so that our medical and support staffs, who are already stretched to the max and in some cases getting sick and dying, don’t have to face a continuous onslaught of new coronavirus patients.
• The signs in our windows and on our front lawns encouraging others to “pray” are poignant and tell their own story of our fragility and need to come together. Gazette Chicago invites you to join Our Community Prayer. See information on page 4.
• The University of Illinois at Chicago embraced ingenuity to participate in the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. See that story on page 10, along with how the Glessner House in the South Loop offers a unique way to pass the days at home.
• Pages 12 and 13 tell the story of the Chicago Bilingual Nurse Consortium, and how this small non-profit has literally put hundreds of nurses to work in Illinois by offering a network of services for nurses trained in foreign countries to bring their skills and compassion to our shores. Read about heroines such as Maricela Pineda, an RN from Humboldt Park by way of Veracruz, Mexico. Listen to her story and those of nursing student Marlene Santos (who studied in Puerto Rico) and Saulena Antanaviciene, a nurse from Lithuania. If these women of courage and valor don’t warm your heart and show you how fair and just immigration policies benefit us all, well then you are just like the Grinch, “whose heart was just two sizes too small.”
• On page 19, Gazette Chicago offers you an updated list of resources to help cope with and secure resources during the coronavirus pandemic.
• The efforts of the Little Italy Community Neighbors Association (LICNA), which used some of its proceeds recently to support Taylor Street businesses (such as Al’s Italian Beef, Busy Burger, and Demitasse Café) to provide lunch to front-line workers at Rush University Medical Center. Many other entities and business owners are stepping up to the plate to provide delicious meals for our heroes and heroines. We salute all of you.
There are many other heroes as well—many of them hundreds of miles away, but many right here in our communities.
We once again extend thanks to Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot for showing true leadership and making difficult, but sound, decisions based on science and the health and welfare of all Illinois residents. While out-of-step downstate Republican legislators grandstand, play partisan politics at the direction of others, and file lawsuits to curtail the stay at home order that is working in Illinois, Pritzker and Lightfoot face daily criticism—yet remain committed to the common good. This is sensible leadership that is saving lives and protecting our most valuable resources: our families and front-line, essential workers. We also tip our hat to Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gavin Newsom of California for showing true leadership during this pandemic as well.
From hundreds of miles away, we salute Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson and public health officials in Waterloo, Iowa. Sheriff Thompson is sticking his job and neck on the line to save others. He has been a strong voice of reason to shut down the Tyson Foods packing plant in his jurisdiction, as scientists say it is the source of more than 90% of the coronavirus cases plaguing this small community. Yet, Republican Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Tyson officials continue to do a “Texas two-step” to keep the plant open by pressing for more testing (which is impossible because one cannot get enough of the testing supplies needed from the Federal government, no matter how much they lie about the “millions of tests” being conducted nationwide) and promising safer work conditions. At press time, there were more than 1,400 cases in Black Hawk County and the hospitals there were at capacity with medical staff pleading, with tears in their eyes, for Iowans to heed the stay-at-home orders as they were being lifted.
This is where are now at in this country. The majority of Americans have come full circle with the coronavirus. They have gone from being skeptical about sheltering in place to being outright fearful for their lives and want sound judgment to prevail over the urge to open up economies. In a span of less than two months, we have seen a larger total of lives perish from this disease than all the brave men and women that sacrificed their lives for us during the 14-year Vietnam War. Some 2,000 people a day are dying. Yet, the pleas of scientists, health care workers, and other sensible people go unheard among some.
Instead we get this:
• Texts from a desperate and pandering president to his base of supporters to “Liberate Michigan! Liberate Virginia!” Which resulted in waves of protest and the worst of the worst, armed militia standing on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol, with AR-15s at their ready. The numbers were small—only about 200 short-sighted and angry citizens in a state of ten million. Yet, the images were chilling and the action of the protestors was downright despicable (some brandished Confederate flags, and most of them didn’t wear masks or bother to practice social distancing—“Why bother, when my AR-15 will keep me safe?”).
• Is this what we have come to? A president calling this armed group “good people” who just want to be heard? Reminds us of when neo-Nazis protested in Charlottesville, VA. We call their actions illegal and unacceptable intimidation of elected officials. The encouraging news in all of this is that Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has the confidence of Michiganders, who by a 63% to 36% margin support her managing of the pandemic over that of the president.
• Maryland Governor Lawrence Hogan, a Republican, had to call out his National Guard to protect the coronavirus tests being conducted in his state out of fear that the Federal government would confiscate them to hold down the grim statistics if Maryland found out how many people truly were infected. Some other Republican governors are working to hide the grim statistics concerning the amount of dead resulting from the coronavirus in their states.
• More than $500 million in funding being doled out more than 100 publicly traded companies while small business owners fight and claw for the crumbs that are left. With trillions of dollars being thrown at this pandemic by the Federal government, Trump Administration officials look to reward their corporate campaign contributors. Some companies have been shamed into returning the monies; others arrogantly have declined to do so.
• Jeff Bezos and Amazon have made more than $75.5 billion in 2020’s first quarter while some of the firm’s workers go out on strike in the midst of this recession, pleading for safer workplace conditions. Meanwhile, Elon Musk of Tesla shrieks to open up state economies. Why? So the top 1% can buy his high priced electric autos? The virus continues to kill more people of color and ravages under-served communities. Not exactly those in the market to buy a Tesla. The optics here make one pause.
• The president on national television on April 23 seriously suggested (not sarcastically suggested, as his spin doctors Kellyanne Conway and Rudy Giuliani would have had you believe the following day on right-wing media) that we should consider injecting household disinfectants and inserting ultra-violet light into our bodies to ward off the virus. By that weekend, calls to state poison control centers across the country skyrocketed.
• President Trump signed executive orders preventing governors from shutting down meat packing plants in their states even though the data shows they are hotbeds for the virus to spread. In the meantime, he won’t allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to dole out $2,700 to each family needing assistance to bury their dead. We did this after Hurricane Katrina when President George W. Bush was in office, and we did this after the hurricanes ravaged Puerto Rico and the East Coast in 2017. But not now. This president extends no compassion to the dead and their grieving, hardship-suffering families. His lack of empathy in times of crisis is cringe-worthy.
• All the while, his son-in-law Jared Kushner boasts that the administration is handling this pandemic with “great success.” This from an Administration that stood idly by since last November when our intelligence agencies first warned of a coronavirus pandemic hurtling our way; has grossly mismanaged the creation and distribution of testing kits and the shipment of ventilators and PPEs (Kushner recently said “those are ours”); and is now playing partisan politics to pressure governors to open up their state economies before the Centers for Disease Control and other public health officials and epidemiologists nationally and locally say it is safe to do so.
Is this common sense, compassionate, and effective leadership, as Trump Administration apologists like to say? No, friends, it is in no uncertain terms denial, ignorance, and insanity.
Yet, let us not wallow in anger over this ineptitude. Stay laser-focused on caring for yourselves, your loved ones, and your neighbors. Be uplifted by what you read in these pages about ingenuity, heroism, and a collective call to serve others. Keep praying—every day.
Stay strong, safe, and secure. We will see you soon in brighter days ahead when we can chat at the grocery store, share a meal and some laughter at our local restaurants, and gather in our places of worship.
Until then, stay together and stay in touch with your support networks. If you are able, contribute to local and national charities to help lift up others in need. Remember, you are not alone. We remain all in this together. God bless you.
By William S. Bike
In Gazette Chicago’s April issue, we listed resources that may be useful during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. To see that list, go to the e-edition of the April issue at gazettechicago.com. Here are additional resources that may be helpful.
Accion, which provides small business loans, has compiled a list of financial resources to help small business owners make ends meet during the coronavirus crisis, entrepreneurs find capital opportunities, and other business help. See https://us.accion.org/.
The City of Chicago and Chicago Community Catalyst Fund have created a Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund for neighborhood businesses experiencing loss of revenue due to the crisis. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.chicago.gov/coronavirus.
For those in crisis who do not want to talk to a counselor on the phone, the Crisis Text Line offers free 24-hour support. Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor for a text exchange. To learn more, log on to www.crisistextline.org.
For crisis counseling by phone, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Chicago) at (833) 626-4244.
The Crisis Management Institute (CMI) works with schools and parents after a tragedy. To deal with issues related to coronavirus, the CMI launched several websites: one with resources for school counselors, counselors.cmionline.com, another for parents, parents.cmionline.com, and a third for children and their parents, resources-for-kids-during-covid19. Several children’s books by Marla Koch, to help children deal with quarantine, are available through the resources tab of the parents’ website. For more information, log on to www.cmionline.org or call (503) 585-3484.
A Better Chicago has a fund to benefit nonprofits that help educate young people and their families in African American and Hispanic communities. See www.abetterchicago.org/emergencyrelief.
The Big Shoulders Fund emergency fund assists students with food, e-learning, and scholarships when parents have lost their jobs. See bigshouldersfund.org.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository has a food pantry directory. Log on to chicagofoodbank.org and click on Find Food or call (773) 247-3663.
Meals on Wheels feeds homebound seniors and people with disabilities. Log on to www.mealsonwheelschicago.org or call (773) 661-4550.
Food for healthcare workers
Frontline Foods is a non-profit organization that organizes meal preparation from local restaurants and delivers the meals to healthcare workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. In its first three weeks, Frontline Foods’ national program has raised more than $1 million in tax-deductible donations and partnered with 126 restaurants to serve 22,371 meals in 42 hospitals. See www.frontlinefoods.org/.
Learn how to become involved in providing food for healthcare workers at Rush University Medical Center, www.rush.edu, and the University of Chicago hospitals, www.uchicagomedicine.org.
Veterans homeless because of the coronavirus pandemic or other reasons should call the Veterans Administration at (877) 424-3838.
Undocumented immigrants being held in close quarters in Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities are in increased danger for catching and spreading coronavirus. To find out how to oppose ICE adding to the problem by arresting more individuals, contact Organized Communities Against Deportations by logging on to www.organizedcommunities.org or calling (855) 435-7693.
Taller de Jose is a community resource center concerning immigration issues. Call (773) 523-8320.
Lice Clinics of America has launched its Frontline Heroes program for healthcare workers, first responders, other frontline workers and their families to get free telemedicine support and a free topical Quick Care Kit to fight head lice. Log on to www.liceclinicsofamerica.com.
The AARP Foundation offers a comprehensive list of free or reduced cost services such as medical care, food, and job training, searchable by ZIP code. Log on to local.aarpfoundation.org.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers support groups and other resources for individuals who need help. Call (800) 950-6264 or visit www.nami.org.
SNAP and Medicaid
The Greater Chicago Food Depository can help you obtain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid benefits. Call (773) 843-5416.
Criminals are employing many scams to cheat people during the coronavirus pandemic. You can spot a potential scam by remembering that no official agency will use the phrases “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment.” The official government term is “economic impact payment.” Keep your economic impact payment safe by refusing to sign it over in exchange for the promise of additional funds. Fraudsters, possibly claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, may call, email, or text you to ask for personal or banking information, saying that data will expedite your payment or enable you to cash your check. Refuse all such requests.
To report fraud to the State of Illinois, call the Illinois Auditor General’s toll-free hotline at (855) 217-1895.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support 24 hours per day. Chat with a skilled, trained crisis worker by calling (800) 273-8255. NSPL also can give you advice about dealing with a family member or friend.
University of Illinois Health patients who have gone through the nurse triage line at (866) 600-2273 and been given a recommendation to receive a coronavirus test can schedule an appointment at the Mile Square Health Center-Main or Pilsen Family Health Center Lower West. No walk-ins accepted. UI Health assists walk-ins only at the University of Illinois Hospital Emergency Department from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; the department will provide testing only if an individual presents symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, and fever.
TIF money for coronavirus needs
Interested persons can follow the steps below to support CivicLab campaigns to Abolish TIFs and Fund The People’s Response to COVID-19. CivicLab believes officials should abolish TIFs to fund coronavirus needs. Sign the People’s Response petition at https://tinyurl.com/Peoples-COVID-Response-Demands; sign the Abolish TIFs petition at www.endtifsnow.org; sign up to help organize at https://tinyurl.com/TEP-sign-up; go to the End TIFS Now Action Center and activate your power, www.civiclab.us/end-tifs-actioncenter; and support and donate to help cover campaign costs, https://tinyurl.com/Support-CivicLab.
Need volunteers during the pandemic? The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement can connect you with volunteers willing to help. Log on to https://slce.uic.edu/service/post-an-opportunity.
The Chicago Hospitality Employee Relief Guide lists more than 600 restaurants, bars, and other businesses with funds set up to help laid-off workers. Log on to tnyurl.com/312hospitality.
The Red Backpack Fund, created by the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation and Global Giving, makes grants of $5,000 to female entrepreneurs for immediate needs and longterm recovery of those affected by the coronavirus crisis. See www.globalgiving.org/redbackpackfund/.
By William S. Bike
Editor’s note: At press time, future events listed in Around the Neighborhood still were scheduled, but changes are happening on a daily basis due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Check websites or call before going out in case events have been postponed or canceled.
ART INSTITUTE NEWS
The Art Institute of Chicago is scheduled to present the exhibition Monet and Chicago during the summer through Monday, Sept. 7, at 111 S. Michigan Ave. Log on to www.artic.edu.
CDS, UIC HELP AREA HOSPITALS
The Chicago Dental Society and its members donated thousands of personal protective equipment items and disinfecting supplies to front-line health care workers in this area in response to the coronavirus pandemic, in an effort organized by Clark Stanford, DDS, dean of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry and Terri Tiersky, DDS, president of the CDS. UIC College of Dentistry student volunteers collected most of the equipment to bring back to UIC, which then distributed the supplies among the four hospitals in the Illinois Medical District in Chicago: University of Illinois Hospital, John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Rush University Medical Center, and Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.
The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services reports that Community Services Block Grant Scholarships are available for those enrolled or planning to enroll in college or vocational training. Contact Jenny Schuler at email@example.com or (312) 746-7291.
Richie Zie, host of the Chicago History & Automotive Heaven TV and radio show podcast, has produced television segments about historic Chicago churches, auto, motorcycle, and fire museums; a TV show about a bicycle shop operated in Chicago since 1910 with the same family; Paws Chicago; and a segment about angels. There are over 100 radio shows on Chicago history at www.richiezie.com, or go to Richiezie on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
NURSE CONSORTIUM NEWS
The Chicago Bilingual Nurse Consortium helps foreign-educated nurses attain licensure in Illinois.
National Council Licensure Examination predictor tests are available to demonstrate probability of passing the nursing exam.
The organization’s website at www.chicagobilingualnurse.org also lists jobs available for nurses. For more information, call (773) 838-1870.
PARK DISTRICT NEWS
The Chicago Park District is partnering with the Illinois Soybean Association to produce hand sanitizer to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus among the district’s workforce and City first responders. Park District staff and other professionals who continue to perform essential functions during the State’s stay at home order are using the hand sanitizer. The ISA is contributing to the effort by helping secure raw materials and packaging needed for production. For more about the Park District, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or call (312) 742.PLAY or (312) 747.2001 (TTY).
City of Chicago emergency rental assistance is available for people suffering financial hardship. Call 311 or use a search engine to find City of Chicago Family & Support Services online.
Community Organizing and Family Issues, 2245 S. Michigan Ave., (312) 226-5141, organizes and trains parents to win improvements in schools and communities and in how to create organizations and programs. See cofionline.org.
The Crisis Management Institute (CMI) works with schools and parents after a tragedy, such as a shooting or national event like the Sept. 11, 2001. To deal with issues related to coronavirus, the CMI launched several websites. One has resources for school counselors, counselors.cmionline.com; a second is for parents, parents.cmionline.com; and a third serves children and their parents, resources-for-kids-during-covid19. Parents can access several children’s books by Marla Koch to help children deal with quarantine by using the resources tab of the parents’ website. For more information, log on to www.cmionline.org or call (503) 585-3484.
DE LA SALLE NEWS
The De La Salle Institute robotics team recently competed at the 2020 Midwest Regional First Robotics Competition held at Credit Union 1 Arena on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. De La Salle participants numbered 23 students, with the Meteors finishing 40th in the 54-team field. Representing De La Salle were: Adam Creighton, Andres Cuevas, Victor DeAvila, Matthew Dixon, Xochitl Duron, Joel Flores, Michael Gallagher, Soley Gevorgiz, Branden Goeden, Sebastian Gutierrez, Paul Harden, Enrique Herrera, Asata Hodari, Dakota Huff-Brand, Cameron Laviste, Miriam Lopez, Christian Meyer, Ashley Naveja, Sofia Podszus, Felicity Sierra, Lukas Sonntag, Jalen Tucker, and Isaiah Washington.
Emily McManus was chosen Meteor of the Month.
Students TaKiya (TK) Howard and Janiece Dawson were chosen to the 2019-20 All-Girls Catholic Athletic Conference White Division Team in girls’ basketball.
Students, faculty, and staff have launched the What We Can Do to Make a Difference initiative to help during the coronavirus pandemic. De La Salle participants are donating food, money, and blood. For example, the Brogan family held a giving day, loading up one of its family vehicles to deliver bags filled with food to the Friendship Center, a food bank with two locations.
De La Salle is located at 3434 S. Michigan Ave. Call (312) 842-7355.
BIOETHICS AND COVID-19
DePaul University will host a virtual program for alumni, A Bioethicist Talks about COVID-19, on Thursday, May 14, at 5 p.m., featuring bioethicist Craig Klugman. Register at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 437-1898.
LOCAL CHAPTER HONORED
The Chicago Downtown chapter of Ducks Unlimited,the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s waterfowl habitats, received the organization’s President’s Elite award for raising between $100,000 and $250,000 to protect waterfowl. For more information, visit www.ducks.org.
FUNDING FOR GOVERNMENTS
Illinois’s U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth announced Illinois will receive $4.9 billion in state and local stabilization funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help offset significant increased costs that state and local governments are facing from the coronavirus pandemic. The CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund allows state and local governments with more than 500,000 residents to apply directly to the U.S. Treasury Department for cash infusions. The City of Chicago and Cook County will receive funding.
First Defense Legal Aid, 5100 W. Harrison St., provides representation to people in custody, informs people of their rights, and organizes volunteers to help.
For more information, call (773) 434-4162.
After the State and City lift stay-at-home directives, explore architecture, history, and design at Glessner House, 1800 S. Prairie Ave. Tours will be offered Wednesday through Sunday at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. In the meantime, take a virtual tour or, for information, visit GlessnerHouse.org.
GWTP JOB TRAINING
Greater West Town Partnership, 500 N. Sacramento Blvd., offers job placement and training programs in wood products manufacturing and shipping and receiving. Call (312) 563-9570.
Internet Essentials makes it possible for people receiving public assistance to qualify for low-cost internet service. Log on to internetessentials.com.
HOLY FAMILY-NOTRE DAME NEWS
While Masses are suspended due to coronavirus through the Easter season, Holy Family-Notre Dame Parish will offer Sunday Masses on the parish Facebook page at 10 a.m. Office hours are suspended. Email email@example.com for more information.
HRHotSeat Chicagois a free monthly online meetup of more than 1,600 human resources practitioners, service providers, students, and Chicago-area pro-fessionals in job transition who come together to expand networks and solve problems. Visit www.HRHotSeat.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a calendar of upcoming events.
The Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers encourages people to give blood. Contact Vitalant at www.vitalant.org or (877) 258-4835 to schedule a donation time. For more information, log on to www.illlinoisbloodcenters.com.
LADIES OF VIRTUE
Ladies of Virtue,1245 S. Michigan Ave., (877) 565-7121, provides mentoring and leadership and empowering experiences, including help with school applications, for girls ages nine through 18 from underserved communities. Log on to lovchicago.org.
Latino Union of Chicago collaborates with low-income workers to improve their social and economic conditions through employment opportunities. Log on to latinounion.org or call (312) 491-9044. For those looking to hire workers, call (773) 588-2641.
The Lawyers Committee for Better Housing provides eligible renters with supportive services and free legal aid. The LCBH also offers Rennie the Chatbot at rentervention.com to help with people’s housing problems. The LCBH is located at 33 N. LaSalle St. Call (312) 347-7600 or log on to www.lcbh.org.
Mercy Home for Boys & Girls seeks adults to be mentors for youngsters. Learn more at MercyHome.org/ChicagoGazette.
Mercy needs groceries to help the more than 60 families that have come to the organization for help during the crisis. To donate groceries or a gift card, drop off at 1100 W. Jackson St. in the north parking lot at Jackson and Aberdeen Street on Mondays and Tuesdays between 9 a.m. and noon.
Call (312) 738-7560 or log on to www.mercyhome.org.
Vitalant, the Chicago area’s largest blood center, is facing an emergency need for blood and platelets. To donate, visit vitalant.org or call (877) 258-4825.
Mujeres Latinas en Accion empowers Latinas through service and advocacy. Their domestic violence crisis hotline is (312) 738-5358 and their rape crisis hotline is (888) 293-2080. Mujeres is located at 2124 W. 21st Pl. Call (773) 890-7676.
The National Immigrant Justice Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave., provides comprehensive legal services to low-income immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. It will continue to do intakes over the phone during the coronavirus crisis. Call (312) 660-1370 or log on to www.immigrantjustice.com.
Public Narrative,600 S. Michigan Ave., offers courses in various locations on topics including social media, communication plans, podcasting, search engine optimization, and analytics. Call (312) 369-6400.
CRIME VICTIM ASSISTANCE
Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s Crime Victims Services Bureau helps those dealing with the effects of crime. Call (800) 228-3368.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii is posting a novena daily during the coronavirus pandemic at www.ourladyofpompeii.org/special-covid-19-novena/.
The shrine is at 1224 W. Lexington St. Call (312) 421-3757 or log on to www.ourladyofpompeii.org.
SAINT IGNATIUS NEWS
Saint Ignatius College Prep’s 34th Annual Golf Classic is scheduled for Wednesday, June 17, at Cog Hill, featuring golf, food, and prizes. Proceeds will go to the school’s Tuition Assistance Program. Call (312) 432-8403 or email email@example.com.
The school is located at 1076 W. Roosevelt Rd.
State Representative Lamont J. Robinson (D-5th) wants to hear what residents think are the most important issues in the community. Contact him at (773) 924-4614 or at his office at 5048 S. Indiana Ave.
The toll-free TURN Trauma Counseling Helpline,(833) TURN123, operates from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. TURN stands for The Urban Resilience Network, and the helpline assists those experiencing trauma caused by exposure to violence. The organization also provides trained ambassadors to visit community events and schools to educate about trauma.
If your business has experienced substantial economic injury due to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Association is authorized to issue assistance through a small business economic injury disaster loan program. This program can provide low interest loans of up to $2 million to businesses and private non-profits. See https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools will host Summer Lab, Monday, June 22, through Friday, July 31, featuring a day camp, theatre training, summer school, sports, dance, and recreation. Log on to SummerLab.org.
University of Illinois at Chicago undergraduate student Lopa Bhatt, a junior majoring in physics and mathematics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, earned a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence Foundation.
The University of Illinois College of Medicine and Vanda Pharmaceuticals are partnering to develop an antiviral drug to fight the coronavirus. Bellur S. Prabhakar, professor of microbiology and senior associate dean for research in the College of Medicine, is leading the project.
This year, 192 medical students graduated early to help meet the growing demand for physicians during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Women’s Treatment Center offers free assistance with online applications for enrollment into the Illinois Ryan White Part B Program for HIV+ women. Call (312) 850-0050, x4994. The center is at 140 N. Ashland Ave. Log on to www.womenstreatmentcenter.org.