This year marks the 20th anniversary since Birmingham and Chicago, two of the largest cities in their respective countries became sister cities. But how many of you are aware of that city across the pond? Let alone Chi-Town’s relationship with it.
What is a sister city? Its function is simple. It’s a diplomacy network that is intended to strengthen partnerships between, in this instance, Chicago and its sister cities which includes Toronto, Milan and Birmingham.
Not to be confused with the other Birmingham, south of Chicago in Alabama, I have provided a brief rundown on Birmingham in England. Pronounced Bur-min-gum, it shot to international prominence during the 18th century amidst the industrial revolution which shapes our world today. It is the second largest city in the United Kingdom. Like Chicago during most of the twentieth century, it is often considered the second city. Just as you guys are known as Chicagoans, we are known as Brummies.
Why is it partnered with Chicago? Aside from the economic benefits, I personally find numerous reasons why Birmingham has been a great candidate to be partnered with Chicago. Both cities are considered the workhorse stemming from its gritty industrial past. Both cities share a rich musical history. The term jazz was first coined there whereas Birmingham founded Bhangra music. We share a rich food culture, of course Chi-Town famous for their deep dish pizzas for instance, where as the balti dish originated from Bham-City. And both cities are known for their multiculturalism.
I feel both cities are cut from the same cloth. We share a lot in common and the Chicago Government and Birmingham City Council seem to agree. So with the upcoming 20th anniversary, as a Birmingham native, I’d like to personally celebrate our long friendship and see it continue and become further intertwined in the future. Not just between our respective committees, but between us the citizens, both sides of the pond.
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