The Obamas will reveal more details about their presidential center Wednesday, and other Chicago news | Bleader

The Obamas will reveal more details about their presidential center Wednesday, and other Chicago news

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Former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama wave to the crowd as they board an air force jet in January. - AP PHOTO/STEVE HELBER
  • AP Photo/Steve Helber
  • Former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama wave to the crowd as they board an air force jet in January.

Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Wednesday, May 3, 2017.

  • The Obamas will reveal more details about the Obama Presidential Center Wednesday

Former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama will return to Chicago Wednesday to reveal more details about the upcoming Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park to the public. In front of an audience at the South Shore Cultural Center, they'll show off a model of the building and get feedback from the crowd. There will be "a library, museum, event space and offices" in the center, and construction is expected to start next year, according to the Sun-Times. "More than a building or a museum, the Obama Presidential Center will be a working center for civic engagement and a place to inspire people and communities to create change," the foundation said in a statement. [Sun-Times]

  • Analyzing how the "Laquan effect" has changed Chicago

Gun violence has increased dramatically in Chicago since the November 2015 release of a police dashcam video showing former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting unarmed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald to death with 16 shots. The video angered the majority of Chicagoans, including the at-risk west-side children and teens taught boxing by former gang member Derek Brown. "They were mad and didn't know how to channel that anger," Brown told WBEZ. "Instead of them lashing out on the authority figures, they were lashing out on each other. It's just like—if my parent whoops me in the house, just whoops me for no reason—it's easier for me to lash out on my little sister than to go at my parent." It also made them think that they could get away with using gun violence to resolve a conflict, according to Brown. A new report and analysis of the data by WBEZ supports Brown's anecdotes. Some experts believe that changes in law enforcement activity and the public's lack of confidence in the police may also factor into why the shootings continue and aren't slowing down. [WBEZ]

  • Topolobampo named outstanding restaurant of the year by the James Beard Awards

Rick Bayless and his River North restaurant Topolobampo won the national James Beard Award for outstanding restaurant Monday evening. Fellow Chicagoan Grant Achatz presented the award to Bayless because his Lincoln Park restaurant, Alinea, won the prize last year. It's the first time that Topolobampo has won the award, but Bayless's neighboring restaurant, Frontera Grill, was awarded it in 2007, and Bayless won for national chef of the year in 1995. [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Former gang members Benny and Jorge now mentor youth in Little Village

Two former gang members, known throughout the Little Village neighborhood as Benny and Jorge, are working to stop violence in the neighborhood by mentoring its youth. The men were actually members of rival gangs in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the south-side neighborhood was more violent. Benny was a Latin King and Jorge was a Two-Six before they left gang life and became friends. "False love," Jorge told the Tribune. "Because that's what it is. The gang gives you false love." They believe that showing at-risk kids real friendship by taking them on softball, kayak, or dinner outings will change their paths. "Take them out of the element, and they're kids," Jorge said. "You forget that their childhood has been stolen." [Tribune]

  • The Restorative Justice Community Court will offer an alternative to traditional court

The Restorative Justice Community Court is set to open in North Lawndale this summer, and will "offer select young people charged with nonviolent felonies or misdemeanors another way to redress alleged wrongs," according to the Atlantic. It's an experiment funded by a $200,000 Department of Justice grant to see whether fewer young adults will be sent to jail if mediation and restitution are used to repair relations. "I think this court will be one of the best things that has ever happened to our community," the executive director of the Lawndale AMACHI Mentoring Program, Betty Allen-Green, told the magazine. "We have a lot of kids who have excellent leadership skills, but we need to redirect them in a positive manner." [the Atlantic]

  • Despite the Macy's on State Street sale, the Walnut Room will remain

Macy's promises to keep the 110-year-old Walnut Room restaurant on the seventh floor of its State Street store open despite trying to sell seven of the building's upper stories. It's not yet clear if the casual restaurants in the food court on the seventh floor, including Rick Bayless's Frontera Fresco, will remain open. [Eater Chicago]



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