Summer in America 2020 was defined by two major storylines- the COVID-19 pandemic and the grassroots movement for social justice. It's carried over to the 2020 NFL regular season, with narratives emerging right from kickoff. The very first game, the Houston Texans at the Kansas City Chiefs, saw both teams joining together to stand in silence for the cause of unity.
For some inexplicable reason this was booed, and that set off a chain reaction of events. On top of all the larger issues that transcend a mere game, but also currently engulf it, we're seeing strong winds of change blowing in the business side of the National Football League too.
At almost every pivotal moment, in the last century of the struggle for civil rights, Rep. John Lewis was there. Rest in Power to a giant among men. This past Fourth of July weekend, as we all reflected on the beginning of the United States of America, the Declaration of Independence, and the ideals upon which the document was written, "John Lewis: Good Trouble" arrived at the Music Box Theatre virtual cinema.
The belief that "all men are created equal," penned by Thomas Jefferson on the parchment signed by the Founding Fathers on July 4th, 1776, is more theory than practice today. As the Black Lives Matter movement continues to gain momentum, it also spotlights the egregious disparities than exist within our society. Thus, Dawn Porter's documentary spotlighting the life and career of the legendary civil rights activist and Democratic Representative from Georgia is more timely than ever.
Political Marketing was my favorite class when I was in graduate school, and many lessons learned from that course stick with me to this day. I selected jingoism, extremist patriotism and all things marketing of the red, white and blue as my term paper topic for this specific course.
Although I penned that paper back during the Bush 43 administration, insights reached back then have as much relevance today as ever. In studying the Star Spangled Banner as well as everyone who takes the national anthem way too seriously, I saw that the plot to Francis Scott Key's tune was lost a long time ago. We really don't need it to be played anymore at every single sporting event. It really needs to be reserved for just international competitions at this point.
Lots of sports figures, from all around the world, are speaking up right now about racial inequality and police brutality in the United States. Former Chicago Bears and current University of Illinois head coach Lovie Smith
sounded off about systemic racism in our society while appearing on a talk show yesterday.
This weekend saw another round of Americans and non-American soccer players showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the German Bundesliga. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees initially made a statement that showed total ignorance
in regards to why Colin Kaepernick on other NFL players have taken a knee
during the national anthem, but he took the time to educate himself on the issues, and now he gets it...
Once the coronavirus pandemic is all over, and the world recovers from the plague of COVID-19, a lot of stock will be taken of all that we have lost. There will be hundreds of thousands of lives lost, and millions more altered for the worse, many of which irreparably so. We don't make the timeline for when this recovery period arrives, the virus does, and because of that, it's all unknown.
What we do know is that there will be a lot of institutions that just can not exist anymore, simply because they're way too dangerous to public health. Two examples are FOX News Channel and the wet markets in Asia. Half a world away from each other, and existing in completely different spheres of influence, both are getting people killed due to their complete recklessness. We'll start with the latter, as that's where this all (and by that our current hellscape within which we're all currently inhabiting got started.
It's the second most popular post in the past year on this website, and it's top five all-time in the three-year history of this blog. As February 14 neared in 2019, we examined how the site of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre is absolutely nothing today (it's just a green space with a couple trees next to a senior center parking lot), and why that's conflicted and complicated.
While it's obvious that the city would not want to celebrate gore and crime, this notoriously dark incident is still a big part of what many tourist cottage industries do in marketing their Al Capone-related wares to tourists. However, when it comes to Capone related buildings, the one that's truly missed is the Lexington Hotel (which used to be located at 2135 S Michigan Ave), and Ward Miller, Executive Director for Preservation Chicago, told me why.
Martin Luther King day was yesterday, but tonight brought a poignant and admirable tribute to the man, what he stood for and the meaning of the holiday. The Northwestern Wildcats hosted the #17 Maryland Terrapins tonight in Evanston, with both teams wearing a warm-up shirt that honored MLK and his ideals.
It was a shirt that the players had a hand in designing too, as the end result was composed of words that came to mind when the players thought of America’s greatest crusader for social justice, and the legacy he left behind. The collaborative effort came together largely because both schools have Under Armor as their sportswear partner, as UA CEO Kevin Plank is a Maryland alum.
It's pretty clear now that Colin Kaepernick isn't coming back to the National Football League, as Super Bowl 2020
approaches, and we have another NFL season in the books without him, it's time to think about his legacy. His powerful impact that he made will be long-lasting. His decision to take a knee during the national anthem, as a gesture of protest against brutality and systemic racism within law enforcement, may ultimately pave the way for more football players to eventually speak out on the issues of the day while still active in their playing careers.
Former Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett
, in town this past week to do a public reading of his new children's book "Dear Black Boy,"
doesn't believe that day is here yet though.
"No, that fear is still there," Bennett responded when we put this question to him during our exclusive conversation at Open Books, a literacy non-profit in the west loop...
Local activist and candidate for 26th Ward Alderman Theresa Siaw is extremely passionate about both philanthropy and combating violence in Chicago. If you're a loyal reader of the Patriotic Dissenter on the Chicago Now network, then you are obviously well aware of how strongly committed we are to combatting gun violence in our communities.
Thus, when the opportunity arose to have an exclusive conversation with Siaw, we were eager to hear and then help spread her message. The Theresa Siaw Foundation and Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. (go here for an exclusive with him) hosted a meet and greet and collected items for Cradles to Crayons at Homiey in Humboldt Park this past Friday night.
Bono is one of those extremely rare individuals who has succeeded at an elite level in not just one, but two professions. The Dublin born front man for rock band U2 is just as accomplished an activist as he is a musician.
Born Paul David Hewson in 1960, Bono has received numerous plaudits, including honorary British knighthood and the Time Magazine “Person of the Year” award, for his efforts bringing awareness to important social issues.
As the co-founder of sister organizations ONE and (RED), Bono will be in town Thursday night to speak about the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa to the Economic Club of Chicago at the Hilton Towers...