Black Chicago Heroes from our Howard Brown Health Staff
For Black History Month, we asked Howard Brown Health staff “Who are your Black Chicago Heroes?” Throughout this month, there will be many Black Chicagoans celebrated and recognized, who inspire us every day. Who inspires you?
Tiera Green writes about Chance the Rapper.
“Chance uses his influence to shed light not only on black culture but, Chicago culture as well. Chance is unapologetically himself he does not conform to what main stream says he should be. He has his own unique brand and sound. He not only uses his power to shed light on the issues in the city, but he also helps to make a change.”
India Willis writes about Dorothy Gautreaux.
“Gautreaux argued that public housing was a form of racial segregation. Dorothy Gautreaux won her suit through a series of rulings that went all the way to the Supreme court. The Gautreaux public housing desegregation lawsuit helped to change the face of public housing in Chicago and reformed national public housing law and policy.
Today Gautreaux plays an important role in the ongoing implementation of the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation, and CHA’s development plans continue to be subject to existing Gautreaux court orders. The Gautreaux public housing desegregation lawsuit has helped to change the face of public housing in Chicago, reform national public housing law and policy, and inspire some of the nation’s most innovative housing programs.”
Syd Robinson writes about Jean Baptiste Point De Sable.
“Overtime, Du Sable’s settlement became the City of Chicago. His foresight in perceiving the importance of Chicago, was matched by his expertise in trade and ability to work in tandem with people indigenous to the land.
Jean Baptiste Point De Sable’s foresight in perceiving the importance of the City of Chicago, which is now one of the largest cities in the United States, was matched by his expertise in trade and ability to work in tandem with people indigenous to the land. Together, these factors led this visionary entrepreneur to establish the most important center of commerce, trade, and industry in the central United States. Because of these reasons, Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable is my Chicago Black hero.”
Terry Dudley writes about Fred Hampton.
“Fred Hampton was a Chicagoan who leaded the Black Panther chapter here in the city and help start programs, like before school and after school care so parents could maintain jobs and not have to worry about childcare. He is my hero because I see the lasting impact he has had on the South Side of Chicago (where I grew up). The afterschool programs I went to offered child care at a very low cost so my mom could work, my sibling and I had a safe space to be kids, and get help we needed. These programs were run by community members. I look up to him so much because of his impact in the community.”
Terra Campbell writes about Lois Bates.
“Lois Bates was a former staff member of Howard Brown Health and Taskforce AIDS Prevention. She was a pioneer in the City of Chicago for her advocacy and representation for the Black Trans Community. Bates led many initiatives to advance the Queer community with transparency and dedication.
Lois Bates identified what we needed to thrive and that was the same things everyone else had. She gave me a job at Taskforce to help keep me from having to escort. She trusted and believed in me and placed me right at the front desk. It gave me a great sense of confidence you often need when first navigating the early stages of your transition.
She helped find me housing so I can begin transitioning away from my family without judgment. I can’t imagine where my life would be without meeting Lois Bates. She was a former staff member of Howard Brown Health and Taskforce Aids Prevention. She was a pioneer in the City of Chicago for her advocacy and representation for the Black trans community. Not only was she an advocate but she was also a veteran. Lois Bates was a person you could depend on and she led many initiatives to advance the queer community with transparency and dedication.”