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Chicago Strong E-Newsletter: Fifth Edition
Dear neighbors,

Thank you to everyone who shared stories and photos of the moments that have inspired you, given you hope, or brought you joy over the past few weeks for inclusion in the Chicago Strong E-Newsletter. Please keep them coming - my staff and I look forward to hearing from you. Below are the latest stories and photos from fellow Chicagoans, capturing the moments that made them smile or provided some respite from the day. 

This edition of Chicago Strong is dedicated to all of our amazing nurses in honor of National Nurses Week (May 6th - May 12th). To the hard-working nurses who are working shift after shift with few or no breaks, who have had to self-quarantine from their families and loved ones in order to keep working, and who have been by their patient's side when the patient's family could not be: From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Please know that your extraordinary efforts and determination have not gone unnoticed. You have made a tremendous difference in the lives and well-being all Chicagoans, and we stand with you during these difficult times.

Now more than ever, it is crucial for all of us to re-dedicate ourselves to practicing social distancing, and staying home to save lives, in order to protect our healthcare workers, first responders, frontline workers, and loved ones. I know it has not always been easy, and I thank you for doing your part to make us all safer.

Stay Strong. We will get through this together.

Brian Hopkins
Alderman, 2nd Ward
Submissions have been edited for clarity and length. Submit your story or photo to with the subject line "Chicago Strong." Click here for guidelines.
National Nurses Week
Heroes Work Here
Nursing is a challenging profession that involves long hours and high levels of stress under even the best of circumstances. The Chicago Tribune recently published an article with stories from Chicagoland nurses about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted them. Below are a few excerpts from those articles, along with photos of signs throughout Chicago with encouraging messages to healthcare workers.
“The new norm is challenging. I am trying to take it one day at a time. Because of my job, I quarantine myself after I leave work to avoid the possibility of infecting people. I miss my family and friends. I have this quote written on my refrigerator, and I read it before work all the time: ‘A little progress each day adds to big results.’ The patients I care for and people staying home add up to big results.”

Lucia Torres, registered nurse, Advocate Health Care

“You try to ignore the people claiming this is a hoax or a violation of their right to leave the house. You know it’s hard out there for people. What we need most is for everyone to do their part. We are not asking people to give up their freedom; we are asking people to modify their habits for the benefit of the most vulnerable. We can’t do it without you — nursing doesn’t work like that.”

Kristen Pérez, registered nurse, UI Health Hospital
“My days though are filled with both fear and hope. Fear that I will infect one of my patients. Fear that my fiancee, who has cancer, will be infected by something I carried home. Fear that someone will berate me on the street because I’m a nurse. I always feel guilty. I always feel afraid. But in that fear, I live in hope and among hope. My oncology patients still brave the risks of coming to the hospital every single day. I still see acts of kindness that remind me my work is important: People donating food, writing signs or flashing their lights thanking front line workers. The new normal? I don’t know what that is or will be. But I can say that in a world of fear, I see plenty of hope. And it’s that hope that I believe will shape our new normal.”

Aneta Piton, oncology nurse, Northwestern Memorial Hospital
“Nursing is a calling — it’s a calling we answer because we’re inspired to provide the most fundamental care to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of our patients. Astute, critical thinking and complex clinical intervention keep our patients healthy, and that kind of care is the result of education that prepares nurses like us to meet those expectations. Nurses are so critically important. The world needs us, no matter what unit, department or capacity we work in. No one would ever say that being a nurse is easy, but I can say that it’s incredibly rewarding. I’m incredibly proud to be among you and grateful that we answered our calling.” 

Tiffany Wiksten, manager of infection prevention and control, Rush University Medical Center
Chicago Strong Small Business: Send in Your Stories
Next week, we will feature stories that highlight 2nd Ward small businesses. If you own a small business, or want to highlight a small business in the neighborhood, please submit stories of:
  1. Small businesses that have donated time or resources to the community, such as providing meals to frontline workers, donating PPE, or supporting a local charity or community organization.
  2. Creative ways that small businesses have adapted their business model or offered unique specials to keep their businesses going.
  3. Small business owners or employees who have consistently provided great service despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, or whose friendly demeanor has simply made you smile in spite of everything going on around you.
  4. Inspiring ways that customers and neighbors have stepped up to support local businesses.
Please email submissions to with the subject line “Chicago Strong Business” by 5:00 pm on May 13th.
Around the Neighborhood
Downtown Chicago Lights Up Red and Blue
Above is a photo of an image projected on the Merchandise Mart encouraging Chicagoans to stay home and save lives. This was part of a campaign to light up various downtown buildings in red and blue in support of first responders and essential workers.

This photo is courtesy of the Chicago Tribune - click here to read the full story.
The Friendly Phantom Artist

"Look at the beautiful art I discovered over at Lake Shore Park at the back of MCA near their sculpture garden! I bet this is the work of the same phantom artist who decorates the tree for different holidays.

Pretty beautiful for all those hard working Northwestern doctors and nurses to see as come and leave work!"

Mary Lou, Streeterville

See photos of the "phantom artist's" Easter decor in the "Around the Neighborhood" section of Chicago Strong: First Edition.
Alone Together
Photo taken at Washington Square Park. John, Gold Coast
Sidewalk Monopoly
"This was on the sidewalk on my block, East Elm Street. I was really cheered up by the creativity of this family, I thought it might be fun for others to see it too!"

Cynthia, Gold Coast
Face Mask Solidarity
2nd Ward Mask Giveaway Event
Last weekend, my office hosted a 2-day mask giveaway event for 2nd Ward residents who otherwise had no way to obtain face masks. Thank you to the 14th District Police Department and all of the volunteers who spent time preparing packets of masks and giving them out to their 2nd Ward neighbors!

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous community members and companies have stepped up to provide essential PPE like face masks and shields, which the 2nd Ward Office has been distributing to our elder care facilities, public housing buildings, city workers, police officers, neighborhood associations, and constituents. 

I would like to thank Goran Mamic, Delta Group Logistics Inc, Gebrüder Weiss, and Maybach International Group LLC for donating masks and shields to St. Mary's Home and Symphony of Lincoln Park. Additionally, thank you to Dr. Willie Wilson, Yahmei Hsieh and the Tsu Chi Foundation, City Sports, President and Founder of Cordos Development & Associates LLC Vince Cordos, Pastor Bryant Sze and Church of the Beloved, and Bev Livingston for donating face masks.

Your generosity has helped keep hundreds of citizens and essential workers safer. You are an example to all of us on what it means to be a good neighbor.
Clockwise from the left: Goran Mamic holds up bags of donated masks; a staffer from Church of the Beloved giving boxes of face masks to a 2nd Ward staffer; a box of masks provided by City Sports; boxes of masks being distributed Dr. Willie Wilson's mask giveaway event.
GCNA Mask Giveaway at Mario's Table
Above: Mario's Table owner Mario Stefanini gives out masks to neighbors.
"The face mask distribution for Gold Coast Neighbors Association by Mario’s Table was an immediate success! Thanks to Alderman Hopkins and staff for the supply of face masks."

Vern Broders, President, Gold Coast Neighbors Association
Two Chicago Icons Wear Face Masks
The Picasso statue
One of the Chicago Art Institute's lion statues
Acts of Kindness and Service
We Are With You

"I'm a real estate broker, and found this a letter and Girl Scout cookies left in front of the door of my client's former residence. The cookies and note were left by my client's neighbor’s children. My client had already moved, but I thought it was a nice thing to do and wanted to share!"

Robert, Lincoln Park

The note reads:

"Hi it is the [name omitted], we miss seeing you. Together we will kiss COVID-19 goodbye. We pray for you! The reason why we sent you this is because we want you to feel like we are with you. So stay healthy. Stay safe. Love, [name omitted]
Waiting for a Good Cause
"I used to work as a fabric rep, traveling to five states to sell beautiful fabrics to many retail customers. I retired a few years ago, but I still had my suitcases full of fabric samples in my car. I just never got around to getting rid of them.

I found out that the Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue was making masks to give out to people in the city. When I found this out, I contacted an acquaintance I knew from the church, and I told her I still had all my fabric samples and would be happy to give the fabrics to them to make more masks.

They were thrilled to get the fabrics (all 100% cotton), and I feel like it must have been fate that I never gave them away before. They were still in my car, waiting for a good cause."

Iris, Streeterville
Teacher Parade

"I'm a fourth grade teacher at St. Stan’s school. Teachers recently held a car parade, in which we decorated signs and our cars, and students and parents drove by.

It was an amazing experience. I was brought to tears just seeing my teaching family (from a distance), and by all of the support from our students and families."

Kimberly, Wicker Park, St. Stanislaus Kostka School
Thank you to all of the teachers who continue to educate, guide, and love their students from afar!
2nd Ward Steps Up: Volunteers Make Wellness Check Calls to Seniors
The Third Edition of Chicago Strong featured photos of 2nd Ward staff making wellness check phone calls to senior citizens, and an invitation for 2nd Ward residents to join. Since then, 19 people have volunteered to make calls! Pictured above are two of our amazing volunteers, Janeen (left) and Michelle (right).

Like 2nd Ward staff, volunteers check to make sure that the call recipient is able to run essential errands, has ready access to food, and is aware of programs designed to help senior citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you to everyone who has stepped up to make sure that 2nd Ward senior citizens are safe during this time. If you would like to volunteer to make wellness check calls at home using your computer and phone, please email with the subject "Senior wellness check volunteer," and include your name and phone number.
Smiles and Laughs
A 35th Anniversary Surprise for Two CPD Officers
"I watched a recent episode on Celebrity IOU, a new HGTV show with Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott, starring the fabulous Melissa McCarthy.

Melissa surprised her aunt and uncle, who were Chicago police officers for more than 30 years, with a complete home redo for their 35th anniversary.

Melissa said, 'They’ve given so much to Chicago' that she and her cousin wanted to give back something to them. Melissa’s uncle said, 'After living in the line of duty with his wife for so long, he still wants to dance with her after 35 years.' Beautiful moment to watch in our hometown!"

Nathalie, River North
Young at Heart

"This was my driveway on the morning of my 64th birthday. You don’t have to young, just young at heart, to have friends celebrate your birthday like when you were a child."

Marlene, Lincoln Park
Hidden Messages
"If you read the book titles a message will appear. Stay well!"

Carolyn, Lincoln Park
2nd Ward Service Office
1400 N. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL  60622
(312) 643-2299

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2nd Ward City of Chicago · 1400 N Ashland Ave · Chicago, IL 60622 · USA