Photos of Blackhawk Park pool prohibited

Blackhawk Park locker room. All photos by author.

I don’t like swimming in 20-yard pools because it’s an extra flip turn in the 100-yard sets. I swam backstroke in high school and many, many schools have 20-yard pools. I always loved when we were at a school with a 25-yard pool because I would swim faster. Twenty-yard pools are a thing in old Chicago and many park district pools are 20 yards.


After the long Covid-hiatus, the “swim sisters” return to Chicago Park pools

Austin Town Hall Park Pool, May 5, 2021.


State lawmakers have passed and Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed into law significant progressive reforms

Illinois Speaker of the House Emanuel “Chris” Welch talks with state Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin, a fellow Democrat, on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield on February 10, 2021. (Photo via The Progressive)

Illinois made national headlines this year, and not for corruption or another governor going to prison. (Since the 1960s, four former Illinois governors, three Democrats and one Republican, have been incarcerated.) Instead, the headlines reflected groundbreaking steps the state has taken toward addressing systemic racism.

In March, the Chicago suburb of Evanston became the first locality in the United States to vote to pay reparations to Black residents. Evanston’s city council authorized a first allocation of $400,000 from the city’s reparations fund, slated to go to sixteen Black families for housing repairs or a downpayment on a new home.

The…


When Joe Biden was vice president, he congratulated then-President Barack Obama for signing into law the Affordable Care Act by famously whispering into his ear: This is a big fucking deal. Which was caught by a hot mic. Never letting a good gaff go to waste, Organizing for America, the activist wing of the Obama administration, made a t-shirt that said: Health Reform Is a BFD.

I still have that t-shirt and wear it proudly.

I hope some group comes up with a similar one for when President Biden signs into law the American Rescue Plan. …


On the campus of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College, the four freshmen who initiated the Greensboro lunch counter sit in are honored with the February One, A&T Four Statue. Photo by cewatkins/CC

“Happy American History Month! I am not one of those who dismisses the effort recognize Black contributions during the month of February, I just want to make it clear there would be no America without us!” — Nikole Hannah-Jones, journalist and creator of the New York Times 1619 Project, in a Feb. 1, 2021 tweet.

On Feb. 1, 1960, four Black young men — freshmen at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College — walked into a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, N.C., and changed the world. But first Jibreel Khazan (whose name then was Ezell Blair Jr.), David Richmond, Franklin McCain…


It perpetuates the same ideology that got us Trump and the assault on democracy

In January 2018, about 500 people in St. Paul, Minn., marched for immigrant rights. The sign in the center that says “If you don’t want immigrants, stop destabilizing their countries” summarizes the link between U.S. foreign policy and immigration. Photo by Fibonacci Blue/CC

I think we can all agree that what happened Jan. 6, 2021, was frightening and fascistic. I hope every single person who stormed the Capitol is arrested and prosecuted, especially Inciter-in-Chief Donald J. Trump. I agree with President-elect Joe Biden. It was an assault on our democracy.

The Trump presidency and the Covid-19 pandemic has put immense pressure on U.S. democracy — every single aspect of it — from elections and voting to policing and criminal justice to health care, the economy and education. This pressure has exposed systemic failings and longstanding fissures built into the country’s democratic structures.

The…


In this image from video, impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks against the organizing resolution for the trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (Senate Television via AP-Ninian Reid/Flickr/CC)

History repeats itself. First as tragedy, second as farce. — Karl Marx

It was last year when Republican senators voted to acquit President Donald J. Trump on the abuse of power and obstruction charges in the Senate impeachment trial. Republicans said Trump may have been wrong in his dealings with Ukraine and demanding an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, but it doesn’t merit removing him from office.

The American people should decide, they said.

One year later, some of these same Republican senators have now changed their tune. At least 12 Republican senators plan to challenge the…


Tom Vilsack, former governor of Iowa and Obama’s agriculture secretary, got called up again for Cabinet duty by President-elect Joe Biden to be Biden’s agriculture secretary.

Early on, I said Biden should be able to pick anybody he wants for his Cabinet but this one left me disappointed. Why? Because I read the reports about Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., lobbying for Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, to become the next USDA chief. Fudge sits on the House Committee on Agriculture and chairs its subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations, and said she would spotlight hunger and nutrition, farmworkers and food…


Thoughts on coalition politics and the post-Trump world

President-elect Joe Biden campaigns in Iowa during the Democratic primary in 2019. Gage Skidmore/CC

As a lifelong political activist, a student of socialism and social change, I’m concerned that a significant number of left and progressive thinkers, leaders and activists are reading the post-election moment like every other post-election moment. And it is not.

The last four years of the Trump presidency, its trampling of democratic norms, incompetent and criminal behavior, along with the multiple crises we face have made for unprecedented challenges. We are closing in on 300,000 dead from Covid-19 pandemic, which has also intensified systemic racial inequities and economic inequality. Millions are unemployed, hungry with food bank lines extending for miles…


Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Let’s just cut to the chase: Trump and the Republican Party are trying to overturn the election and permanently damage electoral democracy by disenfranchising Black voters.

They won’t be successful in overturning the election. But it is important to look at how racism subverts democracy.

Voter suppression morphs to vote suppression

In addition to engaging in voter suppression through a myriad of means, all of which make it harder for Black people — and many others — to vote, they are now pivoting to attempt vote suppression — throwing out legally cast ballots in counties where the Black population is the majority or significant.

Let’s be…

Teresa Albano

Writers interpret the world in various ways, the point is to change it.

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