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WENDY B. Terrazzo Finisher Local 21

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Tremain Union Carpenter Local 141

Devon Redmond Union Plumber

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do we GO FROM


We completed the summer issue of B/ACE Magazine amid a raging global health crisis and widespread protests against racial injustice. A few months later, a lot has changed. Facial coverings have become a potentially life-saving accessory. Public pressure has forced well-known brands, including Uncle Ben’s, Aunt Jemima, and Mrs. Butterworth’s to undergo culturally sensitive makeovers. And Americans are preparing to go to the polls this November to decide what is arguably one of the most important presidential elections in our lifetime.

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But while all of this change is happening, it’s hard not to wonder what happens next. Is the removal of a few confederate symbols enough to change decades of systemic racism in this country? Now that the world is finally starting to pay attention to the cries of “Black Lives Matter,” how can we convert that into equal access to resources and opportunities? If we want to leave a safer, more just world for future generations, we have to ask ourselves, where we go from here? Throughout this issue, we’ll be talking about changing the narrative within the construction industry, and how we can take advantage of this moment to create a more inclusive environment.


Kandria - Survivor’s Story


Jamie - Sweetest Day Gift Ideas

Alia - Survivor’s Story

Becky - Why Your Vote Matters 5 / www.bacemagazine.com

Editorial “Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part.� - John Lewis

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As I reflect on the recent loss of civil rights leader John Lewis, I am convinced that change is possible, and I’m inspired to do my part for my generation. Growing up, I loved Black history, and although the stories were heartbreaking, I often wondered if I could have survived. Would I have been as strong? My ancestors’ fight for what was denied them motivated me to do well in school. Their struggle pushed me to go to college, never miss an opportunity to vote, and come home to work in my community. The thought of squandering the right to an education or the right to vote was not an option for me.

This moral obligation is why I am so passionate about Communities Empowered Through Construction. I didn’t realize it before, but it is my vehicle to continue the fight my ancestors began so many years ago. The construction industry is riddled with systemic racism, from hiring practices to the way contracts are awarded. Construction sites

are still culturally insensitive and isolating for women and minorities – a clear indicator that we have more work to do. Here at B/ACE Magazine, we are committed to using all of our platforms to bring awareness to these issues. We hope we will begin to see the industry change in this lifetime.

Rachel Ivy Editor-In-Chief

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TRADE TALKS 40 ELLE NOIR’S LOVE QUEST 8 / www.bacemagazine.com





















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MATTERS “Elections have consequences,” as former President Barack Obama famously told Republican members of Congress in 2009. Those words ring true today for many Americans who are looking to their elected officials to lead them out of a global health crisis and centuries of systemic racial and economic inequality. The 2016 Presidential race was close. Of the over 120 million votes cast, Donald Trump’s election ultimately came down to nearly 107,000 votes in three states. And in six states, the margin between votes cast for Trump and Hillary Clinton was less

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than 2 percent. Although the results were in Trump’s favor, low voter turnout was a key factor in the outcome. According to the United States Election Project, nearly 47 percent of eligible voters didn’t participate in the election.


As we approach the 2020 election, the stakes are higher than ever. We spoke with Becky Carroll, Founder, President, and CEO of C-Strategies, a Chicago-based strategic and public affairs firm about the importance of voting in 2020. Carroll has been involved in politics since she was 12-yearsold, and has held key strategic positions with several highprofile campaigns. She says that if you’re thinking about sitting this election out, you can look back at 2016 to understand why that is a bad idea. Carroll notes that while there were voter suppression efforts and potential Russian interference in the last election, votes clearly mattered, particularly in swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. “At the end of the day, the reason we have Trump is because people stayed home,” she says. A lot is on the line this time around, including judicial appointments to the Supreme Court and federal courts around the country. According to Carroll, these decisions have the potential to threaten civil rights, immigration, and women’s reproductive rights for generations to come. ”There are forces who are looking to maintain a status quo that is not diverse and inclusive, and that does not value vulnerable populations in this country,” she says. All of the noise and namecalling surrounding the election cycle can make it very easy to get frustrated. But Carroll warns that by not voting, you are empowering others who

may not reflect your values to make decisions on your behalf. And the implications extend beyond the occupant of the Oval Office. Although the Presidential election will be top of mind for most Americans in 2020, Carroll suggests that local elections happening all around the country can have an even greater impact on our daily lives. Local elected officials are passing laws and deciding whether your tax dollars are spent on education or infrastructure, making it critical to support someone who is going to best reflect your values. We don’t always make a connection to the outcome of voting or not voting, but Carroll says we all bear some responsibility for the laws that are put in place by our elected officials. She points to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which allows a person to defend themselves against perceived threats, even by use of deadly force. The law allowed George Zimmerman to be acquitted for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. But Carroll is not all doom and gloom. She says that one silver lining of the past four years is that issues of inequality have bubbled up to the surface, causing more people to open their eyes to the injustice that has been happening under their noses. “I think we’re in a moment when people are starting to recognize white privilege and systemic racism. Most people think they aren’t racist, but they don’t recognize unconscious bias. It’s all wrapped in together, and people are starting to unpack that now,” she says.

If you aren’t familiar with all of the names on the ballot, Carroll suggests turning to organizations you trust to see who they support before going to the polls. “It’s kind of like a cheat sheet for voting,” she says. Carroll stresses that the right to vote, regardless of skin color, income, or education level, is something that sets the United States apart from much of the rest of the world. She encourages everyone, regardless of party affiliation, to show up at the polls in November. “The [voting] numbers are out there to get us back on track, but not if people are going to stay at home,” she says.

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Editor’s Picks

DKNY Notched-Lapel Sleeveless Blazer

I love a cute vest! I like to rock it with leggings and cute sneakers. It’s the yang to my relaxed sneaker vibe.

COZETTE SLIDE Given our new normal, a girl needs a good pair of slippers. I love these because they are a millennial version of big mama slippers! When I wear them, I say to myself, “All I need is a cigarette!”

These Café Bustelo with Milk K-Cup pods are all the rave around our office!

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I have never purchased such a large piece of workout equipment in fear it will end up being a clothes hanger, or collecting dust in a corner. This Peloton Tread, however, has me rethinking that theory.


Since the quarantine, I’ve started running, and these biker shorts hold all of my goodies for a hands-free run.


Tavern on LaGrange!

Looking to support Black-owned and eat some great food? You must check out Tavern on LaGrange! The Greek salad with jerk shrimp was delicious.

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k c a l B ing k n Ba

By I Am


Black , y r o t s i out h truggled s e v a Through h wners o s This s . e l n a i t i p a bus ess to c c c a s for n n i o a s a e r to g he main l business t f o e n is o smal n i y t i r a aces. r e h t n the disp betwee p i roup h g s r a e , s 0 own late 195 ss owners e h t n i But busine l l a m se the s o k l c c a o l t B y f r o ther to t e g o t e cam gap.

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“ “

According to Fortune magazine, Black America spent $1.2 trillion in 2018. And with all that spending, most of our Black banks are closed, and our stake in business ownership is extremely low.

Izola’s Soul Food restaurant opened on the South Side of Chicago in 1957. Black people considered it a safe space to gather, and business owners who had grown frustrated with being denied access to capital decided to come up with a solution of their own. My dad used to tell me about Black business owners like Joseph Caldwell (Talorite Cleaners) and Ahmed A. Rayner (A.A. Rayner and Son’s Funeral Home), who would meet at Izola’s to discuss how they could help each other. Their story is one of amazing trust and support. If a business needed money, the group gave what they could. They loaned money out of their collective, rather than let a business fail due to lack of capital.

250 employees. So why do we still have Black-owned small businesses closing due to lack of capital today? I believe our false sense of inclusion and the strange need to trust other races more than our own has made us send our money out of our community. It saddens me to think that we didn’t carry the torch of the previous generation. What made us lose the drive to secure our proper position? According to Fortune magazine, Black America spent $1.2 trillion in 2018. And with all that spending, most of our Black banks are closed, and our stake in business ownership is extremely low. That $1.2 trillion was spent in other communities and drove revenue for non-Black owned banks. So where do we go from here? In 2020 we have access to information and the ability to connect with others without leaving our homes. Why aren’t we connecting to find a solution? We discuss what’s wrong with the banking system, but why aren’t we working to charter a bank? I understand that it’s a huge task, but what are the ramifications if we don’t make an effort?

These business owners didn’t put the faith of the businesses that provided for their families in the hands of others who didn’t acknowledge them as people. They supported each other, and their businesses grew as a result. As the group expanded, they added more people with financial expertise. They walked door to door with their vision and raised $1 million to establish a federal bank charter. And in 1965, Seaway Bank opened in a storefront at 8555 S. Cottage Grove. Its presence meant the deposits, loans, and community outreach was now being done for Black people by Black people! By December 31, 2014, Seaway Bank had $420 million in assets and 15 / www.bacemagazine.com


When most people think of banks, we think of deposits and loans. That is part of the foundation, but there is so much more. Think of a bank like the human body. Consumer deposits and loans are the muscles, wealth management is the bones, and institutional assets and lending is the blood. The solution is not to charter several different banks, but to create a bank to compete with the big 3, and win. After all, we spent $1.2 trillion in 2018. We use so much energy pointing out the discrimination we face, rather than following in the footsteps of generations before us. Did inclusion help or hinder Black America? And has our desire to be accepted by white America diminished our tenacity to grow Black wealth? Rather than think about these questions as individuals, it’s time we start thinking about them as a collective.

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Did inclusion help or hinder Black America? Has our desire to be accepted by white America diminished our tenacity to grow black wealth?

Don’t think about this question as an individual think about the collective…

Money doesn’t grow on trees, and if it did, someone else would own the orchard. Lewis Grizzard

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Whether you’re rocking dreads, a low fade, a baby fro, or a bald head, it’s important to have the right products to help you look your best. But you don’t have to raid your wife or girlfriend’s vanity. These days, guys have more options for grooming products made by people who understand them. That’s why we’ve rounded up some hair and skincare products made with Black men in mind.


With their exfoliating Bar Soap and butter-based Moisturizing Beard Balm, Bevel products let guys treat themselves to a little pampering while caring for their hair and skin. But one of their most popular products is the Face Serum, designed to even your skin tone by reducing the appearance of scars and dark spots. getbevel.com 18 / www.bacemagazine.com

H.I.M-istry H.I.M-istry Naturals founder and Navy veteran, Darnell Henderson consulted with skincare experts and chemists to come up with a line of grooming and skin care products designed to deal with dryness, ingrown hairs, and other common skin issues for men of color. Be sure to check out their 3-piece shaving systems that come with a cleanser, shaving gel, and Vitamin-C serum. And as a bonus, they throw in a free sample with every online purchase. himistry.com

The folks at Scotch Porter have made it their mission to help make men look and feel great. Their beard, hair, and skincare products are made with natural ingredients like Tumeric Root, White Willow Bark, and Kale Protein. Don’t leave their site without joining the Insider Club to earn money for every purchase that can be redeemed for other great products. scotchporter.com

Mantlmen Queer Eye Culture Expert, Karamo Brown created MANTL with bald men in mind. Everything from the aloe-based cleanser to the Daily SPF moisturizer is designed to make you look better bald. mantlmen.com

Solo Noir

Scotch Porter

Solo Noir’s founder, Andrea Polk, is a certified licensed esthetician, which means she knows what’s good for men’s skin. She also knows that most guys want a simple grooming routine, which is why many of the products in her premium product line do double duty, like the “Dapper” Face + Beard Wash and the “Smooth” Face + Beard Moisturizer. The brand was named the Best Consumer Product in Chicago in 2017. solonoirformen.com

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Sweetest Day


Ideas By Jamie Wooster

It’s always a good time to express our love to the people we care about, but on Sweetest Day, love is a priority. Sweetest Day originated in Cleveland, Ohio in 1921 as an opportunity to let the special people in our lives know how much we care.

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This year, Sweetest Day falls on October 17, and it may look a little different depending on the quarantine restrictions where you live. But there are lots of unique ways to celebrate the one you love. This is the perfect opportunity to think outside of the box and come up with creative gifts. Here are just a few ways you can show your loved one some love this Sweetest Day.


If you love to give meaningful gifts, Things Remembered has items that can be customized to create a lasting memento. There’s something for him and her, including robes, picture frames, and wine glasses. They also have an apron that is perfect for the man of your life who likes to grill. It’s $34.99 and comes with a bottle opener. www.thingsremembered.com

Women love flowers, but most men avoid buying them because they die so fast. Million Dollar Roses has solved that problem with a variety of flowers that can be preserved for up to three years. The flowers come in different colors and pretty boxes that can be kept and reused. www.themillionroses.us

For a gift that lets you enjoy some quality time with your love, the PlayStation Console is perfect for gamers. Available on Amazon for $73.95, this throwback gift is a great way to play classic title games like Grand Theft Auto and Resident Evil.

Sweetest Day teaches us to show love to others in meaningful ways. Whatever you decide to do for the one you love, hopefully, these ideas help you do it from the heart.

If your loved one loves pajamas, check out Me Undies. This underwear brand is super soft to the touch, and the styles range from intimate to everyday wear. Choose a unique design or order a matching set for you and the one you love. www. meundies.com

Take a break from the city and book a weekend at a romantic cabin. It’s the perfect setting for reflection and quality time with the one you love. Serenity Springs is located an hour outside of Chicago. It has over 25 uniquely themed cabins. Each one is spacious, beautiful, and includes a private jacuzzi tub. There is a pond on the property along with spa and massage amenities. Barbecue a meal on your private grill, or enjoy candlelit dinner service followed by a romantic carriage ride. Check out the beautiful cabins at www.serenity-springs.com.

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Lifting Their

Throughout history, celebrities have played a major role in the fight for equal rights. Long before the days of social media, celebrities such as Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and Muhammad Ali, used their voices to advocate for change. This moment is no different. There is a new generation of celebrity activists carrying on the work of the Civil Rights Era. But for a celebrity, being outspoken about racial inequality can come at a price. For some celebrity activists, their words have cost them their careers. We celebrate some of the stars who have taken a stand for justice.

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NBA superstar, LeBron James, joined forces with other athletes and celebrities to create, More Than A Vote. The organization will encourage AfricanAmericans to register and vote in the November 2020 election and protect them from potential disenfranchisement. NBA legend, Michael Jordan, has pledged more than $100 million over the next 10 years to several organizations that work towards racial equality and social justice. NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick took his activism to the football field. He took a stand against racial injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem, rather than standing as is customary.

Sammy Davis Jr. was an active supporter of the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Chicago Urban League. He even got some of his white artist friends, including Frank Sinatra, to help with his fundraising efforts.

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, rapper Kanye West joined protesters on the streets of Chicago. He also made donations to the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.

Singer/actor, Harry Belafonte was a close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a major player in the Civil Rights Movement. He helped to organize the 1965 march in Selma, Alabama. He continues to be outspoken on the need for racial equality and justice today. Legendary singer/songwriter, Nina Simone became known as the voice of the Civil Rights Movement in the mid-1960s. She addressed issues of racial injustice in her songs, including Mississippi Goddam, a song she wrote in response to the 1963 killing of civil rights activist Medgar Evers. 23 / www.bacemagazine.com

We want to know:

Have you always been an advocate for racial justice? Have recent events inspired you to do more?

How Are You Using Your Platform? You don’t have to be a celebrity to affect change. Throughout history, everyday people have been influential in advancing the causes of the Civil Rights Movement, MeToo, and Black Lives Matter, and have used their voices to make the rest of the world stop and listen. We surveyed our readers to find out how they’re feeling about some of the issues our country is currently facing, and how they’re using their platforms to get their messages out.

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Our readers understand the importance of the 2020 election. An overwhelming 98% are registered voters, and 92% say they plan to cast a vote this November. 28% of our survey respondents plan to help register new voters ahead of the election. They know that there is a lot at stake for communities of color right now, but nearly half of our survey respondents believe racial inequality is the most important issue, ahead of education, health care, and the environment. And when it comes to finding solutions,

60% of our readers think community residents should take the lead, rather than celebrities or politicians. Nearly half of our respondents have participated in a recent protest. But when asked about social media, our readers told us that they prefer to keep politics out of their feed. 42% said they prefer to use social media to post pictures of family and friends, while only 19% said they post news and political information.

CHECK OUT MORE OF OUR SURVEY RESULTS BELOW. What kinds of information do you typically post on your social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)? 42% 19% 2% 2% 35% 21%

Pictures of friends and family News/Political information Celebrity/Pop Culture headlines Jokes/games All of the above I don’t post information on social media

Who do you think should take the lead in finding solutions to the problems our communities are facing? 14% 2% 12% 4% 63% 6%

Politicians Celebrities Non-profit organizations Law Enforcement Community Residents Other

When you think about the future of race relations in this country, how do you feel? 31% 17% 15% 37%

Optimistic Hopeless Indifferent Worried

Are you a registered voter? 98% Yes 2% No Do you plan to vote in the November 2020 election? 92% Yes 4% No 4% Undercided In your opinion, what is the most important issue for communities of color right now? 49% 11% 21% 2% 6% 2% 9%

Racial equality Police brutality Employment Healthcare Education Affordable Housing The Environment

Have you recently volunteered with or donated to any of the causes that support racial justice or police reform?

Do you plan to volunteer during the November 2020 election cycle? 29% Registering new voters 10% Donating to campaigns I support 10% Canvassing/volunteering with a political campaign 57% I am not planning to volunteer

Have you participated in any of the recent protests surrounding the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks? 49% Yes 51% No

Do you feel the recent protests have been effective in bringing about change?

58% Yes 19% No 23% I don’t know

52% Yes 48% No

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Wendy Bautista

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“I wanted to be a painter, but I was open to anything. I just wanted to get into a good career that was going to help me take care of my kids,”


Terrazzo Finisher Wendy Bautista has been training for a career in the trades her entire life, even though she didn’t always know it. The Brighton Park native spent much of her childhood alongside her father, who worked various construction jobs. “I would go with him and help him. And even if I just handed him a hammer, I felt like I was a construction worker,” she says. Bautista says her father taught her a little bit of everything, but admits she never thought about a career in construction of her own. “I was working three jobs, and

none of them had anything to do with construction,” she says. But it was a visit to Chicago Women in Trades that changed her mind. She felt immediately at home in the company of like-minded women and was surprised to find the support she received went beyond career advice. “It’s an amazing sisterhood. I felt like I had a second home there,” she says. “We could talk about anything, even if it didn’t have to do with construction. Bautista finished her classes at CWIT in 2017, but she didn’t begin working in construction right away. “I took a couple of exams and failed,” she says. “I was kind of upset with myself, and I almost gave up.” But through it all, Bautista says her parents were incredibly supportive. “My dad always encouraged me. He would tell me that being a woman in the trades should empower me,” she says. Despite the early setbacks, Bautista persisted. And she credits CEC with helping her get her first big break in construction. “I wanted to be a painter, but I was open to anything. I just wanted to get into a good career that was going to help me take care of my kids,” she says. “I applied for every position I saw.” Her tenacity paid off, and within three weeks, Bautista had landed a job. Bautista is happy to have found a rewarding career, but she admits that as a Mexican-American woman, not everyone is rooting for her to succeed. She does her best to ignore the naysayers and focus on completing the job she was hired to do. She believes that much of the resentment is rooted in the idea that the traditional image of a tradesperson is changing, a fact that many older workers have a hard time accepting.

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“People think I can’t do this job because I can’t carry heavy stuff. But if the foreman is fine with what I’m doing, I don’t care what the other people are saying,” she says. “The foreman is the one who is going to give me work.”

Terrazzo Finisher

Local 21

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The job is physically demanding for Bautista, who is a petite woman. “You’re on your knees all day and hunched over. You have to hold heavy machines in the air, so carpal tunnel is common,” she says. “There’s a 52-year-old woman who works for the company. I tell myself that if she can do it, I can do it. Hopefully, I’ll even be able to run jobs someday.”

Bautista’s current schedule doesn’t leave her a lot of time to unwind. But when she’s not working, she’s spending time with her three children, ages 2, 5, and 11. Although the pace of her schedule can be exhausting, she says she’s blessed to be working during the COVID-19 pandemic. And she is laser-focused on providing for her family. “I look at it as a mental thing. I have to take care of myself, but I also have to take care of the people I’m taking care of,” she says. In addition to being a single mom, Bautista supports her mother, an undocumented immigrant, as well as her younger brother. “Thankfully, my mom is like an angel sent from Heaven. She understands my job, so if I’m tired, she’ll take care of the kids for me while I rest,” she says. She doesn’t see a vacation on the horizon any time soon, but if she could go anywhere in the world, she would visit Bora Bora. Bautista says she wishes more young women knew they could have a lucrative career in the trades when they are in high school. “I wish they would give you the option of going to college or learning a trade. It would help [students] be free of debt, and let them reach their dreams a lot quicker,” she says. She advises any woman wanting to get into the trades to stay positive and dream big. “I had zero knowledge about what I was getting into before I started, and now I have things I never thought I would get,” she says.

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For Byron Sutton, a career in the trades was a stable alternative to life on the streets of the West Side of Chicago. “I was hanging in the streets, doing illegal activity, and I was sent away for 10 years,” he says.

After his release, Sutton knew he would need to change his life for the better. He was drawn to the trades by friends who told him about the promise of good pay and benefits. Sutton began volunteering through his alderman’s office in hopes of finding a more permanent position. But although those jobs often got him working on a construction site, he didn’t have the same security that comes with a union job. But in 2017, all of that changed when Sutton became a Union Laborer. Sutton says he enjoys his work, but that it comes with challenges. Racism is a reality for Black people in the trades. And in a business that’s all about who you know, Sutton says it can be tough for a person of color to get their foot in the door. “It’s all political,” he says. Even if you are considered for an interview, some hiring managers will deliberately try to discourage Black applicants. “I had a hiring manager tell me that [the job] was a lot of work and that I needed more experience. But what’s so hard about pushing a broom?” he asks. Sutton credits CEC with helping him prepare for the application and interview process that ultimately helped him land a union job. For young people looking to get into the trades, Sutton advises them to start early and learn as much as possible. “Get your certificates, and stay focused on the job,” he says. “It will pay off, and you’ll make good money.” He adds that a good attitude and work ethic are mandatory if you want to be successful.

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“I just took the same rules from the streets over to my work,” he says. Sutton believes that systemic racism is one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of Blacks breaking into the trades. But he adds that some young people can stand in the way of their own success by not being ready to work or able to pass a drug test. When asked what he thinks can be done to change the construction industry’s hiring narrative, Sutton suggests that companies do a better job of recruiting young people.“They should be coming to the schools to tell kids about the jobs that are out there and the benefits,” he says. He also believes aldermen should work together across wards to create job opportunities for all city residents.

Overall, Sutton says he has a lot to be thankful for, including surviving COVID-19. “I was down 21 days,” he says. He adds that he was fortunate his symptoms were not severe, and that he used the downtime to take care of things around his house and spend time with his grandchildren. At 57-years-old, the father of 12 is planning for the next phase of his life. He says he’d like to own a few buildings or open a janitorial business. “I just bought a building about a year ago, and I’m interested in buying another one,” he says. Sutton says he’d like to have his business up and running by the time he’s ready to retire. “I want to be able to provide jobs for my family and friends.”

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There’s nothing like a new outfit to help you look and feel fabulous. And if you’re looking for an alternative to chain store fashion finds, supporting independent Black designers is a great way to show your support of Black businesses and look great doing it! From casual sportswear to elegant evening attire, Black fashion designers are flooding the runways with colorfully creative pieces that are turning heads all over the world. So just in case you needed an excuse to do some shopping, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite Black designers.

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Andrea Iyamah

is a women’s clothing and resort wear brand by Nigerian fashion designer, Dumebi Iyamah. One of the highlights of her collection is her colorful, figure-flattering swimwear that is sure to make a statement on the beach. www.andreaiyamah.com Photo from her website

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Brick Babe Athletica US Army veteran, Crystal Fisher launched Brick Babe Athletica after searching for activewear that made her look and feel her best. Her colorful sports bras and leggings will hug your curves in all of the right places. brickbabeathletica.com Photo from her website

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Brother Vellies Canadian designer, Aurora James is serving up beautiful handbags and footwear made with sustainable materials from around the world. Be sure to check out the Nude line of heels and flats that come in colors designed to complement every skin tone. www.brothervellies.com Photo from their website

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Black-Owned Breweries Beer is one of the oldest and most popular alcoholic beverages in the world. For centuries, it has been a go-to drink – even ancient Egyptian pharaohs were buried with it. But you don’t have to know anything about hops to be a beer lover. If you’re looking to try some refreshing new flavors and you want to support Black businesses, check out these Blackowned breweries around the country.

18th Street Brewery www.18thstreetbrewery.com 18th Street Brewery started in co-owner Drew Fox’s home. Today, it’s the second-largest brewery in Northwest Indiana. If you’re in the area, check out one of their three Northwest Indiana brewpub locations to sample one of their classic flavors or limited seasonal selections.

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Cajun Fire Brewing Company www.drinkcajunfire.com Founded in New Orleans in 2011, Cajun Fire Brewing Company is the first Black-owned brewery in Louisiana. They source local produce for their craft beers, Cajun Fire Honey Ale, and Big Chief Creme Stout. Besides making beer, the company gives back, donating money to local charities and non-profit organizations. Their mission statement is “Brewing for socioeconomic gains, one pint at a time.” Crowns & Hops Brewing Company www.crownsandhops.com Beny Ashburn and Teo Hunter created Crowns & Hops because they wanted to put a new face on craft beer. And their “Black is Beautiful” Pecan Pie Stout and citrusy Hazy IPA are doing just that. The beer is currently available across California, and they will be opening an Inglewood, California brewpub soon.

Green Bench Brewing Company www.greenbenchbrewing.com In the early 1900s, African-Americans weren’t allowed to use the green benches on St. Petersburg, Florida’s streets, which were meant for people to stop and socialize. But the folks at Green Bench Brewing Company set out to change the narrative with a brand and a brewery that is inclusive of all. Head brewer and co-owner, Khris Johnson sources fresh, local ingredients for the beers on their menu. Montclair Brewery www.montclairbrewery.com Leo Sawadogo brewed at home for friends and family before opening Montclair Brewery with his wife, Denise. The microbrewery is the first in their New Jersey town. In addition to traditional European flavors, their menu is loaded with a variety of creative craft beers inspired by their West African and Caribbean roots.

Weathered Souls Brewing Company www.weatheredsouls.beer Co-Founder and Head Brewer, Marcus Baskerville began brewing in his garage, before partnering with Mike Holt to open their San Antonio, Texas brewery. In addition to the traditional pilsners, pale ales, and IPAs, their menu includes some innovative fruity flavors like Oops All Berry #2 and Peach Margarita.

Métier Brewing Co. www.metierbrewing.com Rodney Hines loves everything about beer, from the complex flavors to the social connections that happen over a cold one (or two!). The mission of his Seattlearea Métier Brewing Co. is “to brew damn good beer and build stronger community to inspire bigger dreams for all.” Their beers are diverse, from fruity pale ales to dark, creamy stouts. And Métier is holding up their commitment to the community by supporting nonprofit organizations, including the Major Taylor Project, which assists disadvantaged youth.

Soul Mega www.soulmega.com Howard University graduates Elliott Johnson and Jahi Watts are behind this D.C. area brewery. The name, Soul Mega, means, “the embodiment of something great.” And as their Worldwide American Pale Ale generates a cult following around D.C. area events, the beer is living up to its name. Rhythm Brewing Company www.rhythmbrewingco.com Alisa Bowers-Mercado inherited her love of beer from her grandmothers. She took that love and opened the first Black-owned and woman-owned brewery in Connecticut. Her Rhythm lagers are brewed with South African hops, and you can find them at her New Haven, CT headquarters, as well as bars and stores around Connecticut.

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Rafael Roberson Rafael Roberson has always enjoyed working with his hands. After graduating from Dunbar Vocational High School, he took advantage of a community hiring program centered around a construction project at Rush Hospital. “About 150 people took an aptitude test. Only 22 of us passed,” he says. The program led him to Dawson Technical Institute, where he planned to specialize in carpentry. But a former teacher at Dunbar suggested he consider a career in plumbing. “He said I would be set for life,” Roberson says. He took that teacher’s advice and went on to make the Dean’s List at Dawson Tech. He used his time in school to research what he needed to do to get his plumbing career off the ground. “I knew they weren’t going to be able to just put us in the union like that, so I wanted to figure out how to get in,” he says. 40 / www.bacemagazine.com

“I knew they weren’t going to be able to just put us in the union like that, so I wanted to figure out how to get in”

In 2008, the country was in a recession, and with many jobs on hold, Roberson was unsure if he would be able to find work right away. While he waited for a plumbing job to open up, he took an administrative position.“I wasn’t working hands-on or anything. I was mainly doing a lot of paperwork,” he says. Meanwhile, two of Roberson’s Dawson Tech classmates had already been called by the union for plumbing jobs, leaving him to wonder why his phone wasn’t ringing as well. But what was bad luck for one of his friends, turned out to be an opportunity for him. “He failed the drug test, which left a position open,” Roberson says. A month later, Roberson was on the job site. “It was pure luck that I got that position,” he says. Roberson says he’s grateful to his teacher for steering him towards plumbing, but he admits that the person who had the biggest impact on his career was someone he barely knew. After an arrest, Roberson struck up a conversation with a man who was being held with him. Roberson admired the man’s accessories and asked him how he made his money. “The first thing I did was ask him where he was hustling,” he says.

me,” he says. After their conversation, Roberson promised himself that when he was released, he would set his sights on a union trade. “Now I tell people that the same money they make on the street in a week, I make on my paycheck after taxes. And I have a skill that’s always going to be needed,” he says. But the job is not without its challenges, particularly for a Black man. Roberson says it’s common to experience racism on the job site. He does his best to stay positive and focused on his work in spite of any negativity he may experience. “You have to be strong and able to take a lot of stuff when you have this color skin,” he says. “Otherwise, you can end up losing your job.” In an industry that judges workers on productivity and skill, Roberson says there is pressure to go above and beyond to prove that he is just as qualified as his white counterparts. “There are people who don’t want me there in the first place, so I can’t give them any more ammunition,” he says. Listening to music helps him get through the day, and says Lil’ Baby, Nas, Jay-Z are among the artists he has on heavy rotation. Looking to the future, Roberson wants to start his own company. “I want to be in control of my future and hopefully give someone else an opportunity,” he says. “I always say if I can go out and find a 6-figure paying job, anybody can do it.”

Roberson was surprised to learn that the man was a union carpenter who had been locked up for a bar fight. ”He said he’d made $70K in the previous year. That stuck with

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Elle Has been

Ghosted So your girl has been ghosted! Troy made plans for us to finally meet face to face, only to go MIA. I was a little disappointed at first. But after I thought about it, I realized he was starting to annoy me anyway. I think I may have dodged a bullet with him. We had different views on life. For example, I happen to think that where you live doesn’t make you better than anyone else. And he was turning out to be a know-it-all. Thankfully, I don’t put all my eggs in one basket. I was still chatting it up online, with a few conditions. I wouldn’t even consider a guy who didn’t live in the city. And I didn’t want to deal with a guy who went to the gym every day. In fact, I scrolled right past the guys who took pictures in the gym. I’m all for a healthy lifestyle, but I’m not about that gym life at all! With that being said, I almost missed out on something special.

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Johnathan was one of the gym pictures I kept scrolling past. Even after he sent me a message, I was still only halfway talking to him. But I eventually decided to give him my number. We sent texts back and forth a few times until he made the first move and decided to call. Jonathan is the only guy who’s actually made an effort to meet me. We planned to meet at the cafe, and Baby, his picture did not do him justice! He is a fine specimen of a man who knows damn well he does not need to be using online dating apps, period! Our meeting was great. I’ll admit, I wasn’t really paying attention to the words coming out of his mouth. Instead, I was imagining him picking me up with his big ole arms and rubbing on that sexy body. Lawd, I need a fan! We made plans to meet again the following week. I was supposed to plan the details, but I dropped the ball, y’all. All of these negative thoughts began creeping in my head. I convinced myself that this guy didn’t really like me. He was just trying to get some booty. We can talk ourselves out of things that are actually meant for us based on past experiences. I didn’t call or text him, and three weeks went by before he called me. And I was like, ok God, I see you. We immediately made plans for dinner later that night.

Conversations with Johnathan just flow. If there was any silence between us, it meant that we were falling asleep on each other. We have a lot in common, but yet we’re so different. Our second date lasted over eight hours, and I enjoyed every minute of it. In the past, it’s been like pulling teeth to get a guy to open up and admit what he’s actually looking for in a mate. They always give you that, “Let’s just go with the flow and see what happens,” talk. But that wasn’t the case with Johnathan. He put it out there and left it up to me to either step up to the plate or move out the way. You know your girl stepped up, right? Since we started this relationship, I’ve started thinking about a lot of things that could come along with it. Am I ok with giving up some of my free time? Can we build something together? Do I really see a future with him? I know I probably should have asked myself some of these things ahead of time, but I was caught up in the newness of it all. And now, some of that newness is starting to wear off. Can we make this work? Stay tuned...

l E

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Over the past year, we’ve had a front-row seat to Elle’s search for love. We’ve watched her sort through dating app messages and try to decode the things guys say (and don’t say), to see if they’re worth her time. We’ve been rooting for our girl on the sidelines as she attempts to find Mr. Right, but after a string of bad dates, she’s just about ready to give up.

But we still believe in love at B/ACE, and we think Elle’s perfect match is out there. We want to help her crack the guy code, so we assembled a panel of single, straight men to ask them what they want when it comes to love.

Our Panel: Corey, 41, is a photographer and youth pastor. He’s divorced and lives in Tulsa. Torrence, 48, has never been married. He works in IT and lives in Chicago. Wesley, 42, is in the Air Force Reserves. He’s divorced and lives in Dallas. Alex, 32, works in customer service. He lives in Chicago and has never been married.

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LOOKS AREN’T EVERYTHING Good looks are important to all of the guys on our panel, but they have no problem passing up a perfect 10 who doesn’t have solid values or a good sense of humor. Torrence believes relationships are doomed when a couple’s values aren’t aligned. Alex added, “I’ve been with a lot of cute girls who were crazy!” When asked how they feel about makeup, our guys told us less is more. Don’t try to impress them with lots of lipstick and eyelash extensions. Instead, they prefer natural beauty. “If you have to take off your hair and eyelashes before we get intimate, I’m going to be too tired to do anything,” Corey said.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY If you have something to say, pick up the phone. Our panel prefers talking to sending text messages. “You can tell how someone feels by their voice inflection,” Corey said. Torrence added that he doesn’t like texting, but he’s had to get used to it when he’s dating Millennials. Things could be getting serious if you meet his friends and family. All of the guys told us that bringing a woman into their inner circle is a pretty big deal. “I don’t live in the same state as my parents, so it has to be serious,” Corey said.

DATING DO’S AND DON’TS Stop waiting for the guy to make the first move. Our panel doesn’t mind letting the woman initiate contact, some even told us they prefer it. “My rule is, if you see something you like, say hey,” Wesley said. On the first date, the guys unanimously agreed that a man should pay. But if things progress, they were split on who should foot the bill. “After the first date, it should be 80% me and 20% her,” Torrence said. Alex doesn’t expect a woman to pay for future dates, but said he wouldn’t stop her if she insists. These guys don’t waste time getting to know the women they’re dating. Most of them know if they’re interested in pursuing a relationship after the first date. “I ask very direct questions,” Corey said. “So if she’s not talking, I’ll know she’s hiding something.” By the third or fourth date, Wesley knows if there is some interest. But if there’s no connection, he has no problem moving on. “In Dallas, guys have their choice,” he says. “The ratio is nearly 10:1 here.” When it comes to dating dealbreakers, Corey says bad hygiene is something he can’t overlook. Having too many kids or pets is enough to make Wesley think twice about getting involved with a woman. “I dated a girl with a dog and a cat. I had to lint roll her down when she came over,” he said.

KEEPING THE FAITH Our panel was split on the importance of religion in their relationship. Corey, a youth pastor, wants someone who believes in God. “We’re all going to die one day. I just want to make sure my wife and I are going to the same place,” he said. Alex told us he’s not big on going to church, but that the right woman might be able to convince him to change his mind.

TO GHOST, OR NOT? The guys were split on the best way to end a relationship. Torrence doesn’t want to be the one to end things, but Alex and Corey prefer to let a woman down easy. “There’s no easy way to end things, but it’s hard for me to let someone down,” Wesley said. All of the guys told us they had been on the receiving end of ghosting by women.

WHAT’S IN THE PAST Our panel doesn’t worry too much about a woman’s previous relationships. “I don’t care about your past unless your past is present,” Alex said. But Torrence disagreed. “Divorced women are special. You end up paying for the sins of their exes,” he said.

Thanks to all of the guys for sharing their views. Hopefully, it will help Elle get a little closer to finding love.

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he 808 N. Wells project is a seventeen-story mixed use high rise comprised of 318 rental units. Located in the River North District of Chicago, the property will house studio, one and two-bedroom listings. It will also include multi-floor amenity spaces, parking, three elevators, a lobby, and a commercial space. The post-tension slab structure is encased by a combination of brick rain screen, metal panel, storefront and full height aluminum framed windows. This project, which began in March of 2019, is slated to be completed by June of 2021.

Pumps, Pearls &



Listen on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Radio Public, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook: @pumpspearlsperspective 00:45


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Global Carpentry’s Jason Payne has always dreamed of having a business of his own. He didn’t have many examples of business owners in his community, but he was determined to construct a new narrative. But the road to entrepreneurship in the trades, an environment that hasn’t always been friendly to people of color, was an uphill battle for Payne. He learned quickly that work wouldn’t come easy. If he was going to be successful, he would have to create his own opportunities. “I got my job by protesting my way onto the site,” he says. After he was hired, Payne says he faced a new set of challenges on the job. He says he received minimal support in the beginning and was forced to learn to figure things out on his own. And with little experience in carpentry at the time, he felt as if he was being set up to fail.

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As he tried to get ahead, Payne says he grew frustrated with having to start his job search from scratch every few months when a project was complete. “I felt like I was moving backward,” he says. But he persisted, despite the obstacles, with the support of his father and grandmother. Payne says he was taught to always give 100 percent and never take anything personally. “I took that and ran with it, and now I own my own company, so I guess it was all worth it,” he says.

Jason Payne

In 2017, Payne’s hard work paid off when he launched his company, Global Carpentry. Having someone you trust to offer advice can often make a difference in the ultimate success of a new business. And Payne credits JLL Construction President Jerry Lewis with serving as a mentor and helping to guide him through the complicated process of getting his business off the ground. “He gave me a different perspective on things,” he says. Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced a temporary slow down in the construction industry, Payne said he used the downtime to strategize and bid on more projects. “Right now, the construction field is opening up again, so I’m just working hard and looking forward,” he says. And the future looks bright for Payne, who celebrated landing his first contract in 2019. He says the hard work he put in to get his name out there is finally starting to pay off, as companies are beginning to seek out his services. Payne says he’s currently working with one of the biggest construction companies in Chicago. “My work speaks for itself, so I get a lot of business through word of mouth,” he says.

Payne says he plans to continue to grow his business. He hopes to inspire young people in his community and groom them to follow in his footsteps. “You never see CEOs or business owners in our community. I want to let young people know that there’s more to life than standing out on the street corners,” he says. Payne says he advises any aspiring entrepreneur to work hard and never give up on their dream. When he’s not working, Payne says he enjoys reading and playing sports. “I try to read a lot to stay motivated and educate myself on different things,” he says. And although most people are staying put these days, Payne says a trip to Africa is at the top of his travel wish list. “When I was in school, they never taught us about all of the things that Blacks invented and have accomplished over the years,” he says. “I’d love to go there and learn about my culture.”

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15th Ward

Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez

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COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT Before he ran for office, Alderman Byron Sigcho Lopez was a community organizer, volunteer soccer coach, and adult educator. Always active in his community, he’s passionate about issues of economic development, fair housing policies, and access to quality education. His constituents come from diverse communities including, West Loop, Pilsen, and Chinatown. We spoke with him about his vision for the 25th Ward, which is inclusive of all of the residents who call it home. Lopez believes that decades of marginalization and structural racism in Chicago have catalyzed the city’s ongoing problem with gun violence. He says that the solution is creating stable communities by providing affordable housing and access to capital for minority entrepreneurs, not putting more cops on the streets. Alderman Lopez is frustrated that the COVID-19 environment has allowed big box stores such as Target and Walmart to thrive, while local, minority-owned businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. One of the most highly anticipated development projects in Lopez’s ward is the creation of The 78, the city’s first new neighborhood in a generation. The 62-acre project has promised to include new affordable housing units and create 15,000 construction jobs. Alderman Lopez says he plans to see to it that the developers deliver on their promises, so he can ensure that residents’ tax dollars are put to good use.

Alderman Lopez is also holding himself accountable for making positive changes for his constituents. “The success of the administration is tied to the success of our communities,” he says. And in the year since he was elected, Lopez is already starting to see some success. He says one of his proudest accomplishments is the passing of a bill that protects homeowners from predatory harassment. “Realtors and big interest groups often use fear tactics to force people from their homes,” he says. The bill helps long-time residents stay in the communities they love. “I received a letter from a constituent thanking me because a realtor was close to taking away their home in a scheme,” he says. Lopez says it’s time that the city stops trying to balance the budget on the backs of its most vulnerable residents. As a PhD candidate in Urban Education Policy, Alderman Lopez doesn’t have much free time these days. But he says he has been riding his bike more, something that is good for his health and the environment. Lopez also enjoys watching his wife, who is a comedienne, perform. “Life has so many challenges, so I think it’s always good to laugh,” he says. “And if my wife is in the show, it’s even more enjoyable.” Lopez says listening to music has helped him deal with the uncertain times. “I’ve been listening to a lot of Sam Cooke songs, which have been resonating with me,” he says. Although he didn’t name his favorite Sam Cooke song, we’re guessing “A Change is Gonna Come” is one of them.

Lopez fought to include community residents on an advisory council for The 78 who do not have conflicts of interest with the city. “It wasn’t easy, and it has probably caused me to be seen as uncomfortable to work with by some developers,” he says. But Lopez firmly believes residents should be able to vet decisions about zoning, liquor licenses, and permit decisions in their neighborhoods. “We should always have public meetings to make sure residents are informed before things happen, rather than after the fact,” he says. And although this process can make development take longer, Lopez believes it is beneficial in the long run. Lopez also believes developers should honor their commitment to local hiring, rather than paying fees to avoid hiring the required number of local workers. Under the current structure, many of the jobs are going to people who live outside of the city. “When big projects come in, and TIFF dollars are invested, we need to make sure those dollars go back to the public, especially when it comes to Black and Latinx workers,” he says. “Otherwise, we lose twice. We’re not creating job opportunities for our youth, and the revenue we’re generating goes to other economies,” he says.

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The Magazine for the Urban Teen

Untold Untold



Every day we come across a multitude of young talent, motivational stories, and young people pushing the bar to new heights. It’s through these stories we hope to inspire readers, provide a voice for the voiceless, and to be a catalyst for conversation. These are our stories‌We are Untold!

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Skin UnMasked Over the past several months, the world, as we know it, has changed. As a new mom to my beautiful son, my entire life is different. From having an hour to complete my makeup to now only doing 20-minute looks, my skincare routine became longer. As we all strive to stay healthy and safe, our faces are covered with masks for hours each day. And since my normal Target run has turned into a curbside pick-up, there’s no need for a full face of makeup. It’s only my Embryolisse moisturizer and MAC’s Prep+Prime lip that I use as a lip balm. How exciting? When you take a day off from makeup, you can feel amazing in your skin. I always tell my clients, “your makeup will only look as good as the skin underneath.“ I’ve been using this time to take those words to heart and focus on my skin’s natural glow.


Chicago Based Makeup Artist

Here are a few tips to help you take care of the skin underneath your mask: 1. Wash your hands before touching your face. This can eliminate cross contamination and decrease skin irritation. 2. Cleanse your skin at least twice a day with a gentle cleanser. Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple is a one-step cleanser that removes all impurities and excess oil.

It’s very mild and smells fresh. Avoid stronger cleansers that can strip the skin of natural oils. Use a toner to soothe, deep clean, and prep your skin to receive moisture. 3. Hydrate and protect your skin from the sun by using a moisturizer with SPF daily. Even if you have acne, you need a moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated. Balance is a must to keep the skin at its optimal state. 4. Use a washable mask that you can clean after each use, or use a new disposal mask when you leave home.

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THE NARRATIVE At B/ACE, we’re focused on connecting qualified candidates with construction industry employment opportunities in their communities. And although we have had lots of success to celebrate, we still have more work to do. We spoke with Lori Parker, COO of American Steel Fabricators, to get her thoughts on how we can best change the narrative and create more opportunities in the trades for people of color. Parker has over 25 years of experience in construction and has seen the industry go through several cultural shifts. But she admits that more needs to be done to create an environment that is welcoming of people regardless of race and gender.

According to Parker, current construction industry hiring practices are perpetuating a continuous cycle of unemployment, something which disproportionately affects people of color. “A job comes into the neighborhood and gives the union money to put into apprenticeship programs,” she says. “And when the job leaves, the [workers] have to go on unemployment because there’s no work for them,” she says. Instead, Parker suggests contractors invest more time and resources in developing worker’s skills and getting them certified training. This effort leaves workers in a better position to be hired for future projects. “It may not always work

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out like a fairy tale, but at least we’re not just churning and burning. There is more of an incentive for people to work,” she says. Parker adds that programs should be implemented to give contractors a stipend to pay their apprentices. She argues that if contractors can invest in training and developing their workers, they will be more likely to retain them. She believes the industry needs to overhaul its recruitment strategy if it wants to produce different results. “We need to work together to change the narrative and not just write grants and put programs together,” she says. “We have to change how these programs work.”

Parker says that while she’ll never completely understand the adversity African-Americans face in the construction industry, she’s experienced her own set of challenges as a woman in a field dominated by white men. She’s had to demand the respect of her male counterparts in the industry who often try to take advantage of her and belittle her. “That’s why I started swearing so much, to get these guys’ attention,” she laughs. Parker says her experiences have motivated her to continue working to change the way things are done. She believes in nurturing her employees and motivating them to do their best and says she will remain committed to helping as many people as possible. “I want to make a community of strong individuals who are united together,” she says. “Everybody needs a break. Someone took a chance on me.”


COO of American Steel Fabricators

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Set Your Kids up For Virtual Learning Success This School Year

This school year will be unlike any we’ve ever seen. As our country is still struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents and school districts have decided to keep kids at home to keep them safe. And although parents are putting their children’s safety first, they are dreading the idea of playing teacher in the fall after being thrust into a chaotic virtual learning environment last spring.

If you’re still dealing with PTSD from last school year, you can breathe easy. You can prepare for the upcoming school year and make life easier for you and your kids. We spoke with Tameka Davis, Dean of Students at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School to find out how families can design a healthy learning environment for their children this fall.

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Set A Schedule

Create Space Set up a designated area in your home for your child to complete their school work. Ideally, it should be a quiet, well-lit place that is free from distractions like toys and video games. Be sure to have a stable surface like a desk or table for them to work on, and take advantage of shelving and bins to keep their supplies organized. Get your kids involved with the design and setup and allow them to make the space their own. They’ll feel a lot better about working in a space they helped create.

Communicate With Teachers

One of the best ways to keep your child on track is to maintain a schedule, Davis says. Have them wake up at the same time each day, and make sure they have breakfast and are dressed before their first lesson starts. Be sure to set aside time for breaks and lunch throughout the day, and keep a consistent bedtime to make sure they are getting enough sleep every night. For younger kids, it can help to write down the flow of the day on a whiteboard and check tasks off as you complete them. Older students can use a planner to keep up with their assignments and important due dates.

Maintain an open line of communication with teachers to make sure your child isn’t falling behind. Let them know about things your child may be struggling with, as well as any personal issues they may be dealing with at home. Use the time to ask questions and get feedback based on the teacher’s observation of your child’s progress. But keep in mind that teachers will be busy, so Davis recommends using their preferred method of communication, and taking advantage of their designated office hours, whenever possible.

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Take Time to Unplug

Educational Apps

After staring at a screen for hours during the school day, make sure your kids spend some time offline. Designate device-free hours during the day, and encourage your child to use the time to read, exercise, or cultivate a hobby.

Even if your kids are only learning at home part-time, you’re likely going to have your hands full this fall. But you’re not in this alone. There are lots of educational apps available for children of all ages that can supplement their schoolwork and help keep them on track.

Davis points out that this school year will be an adjustment for everyone, and advises parents to take time to praise the process and celebrate little successes along the way. “Above all, parents need to make sure they give themselves some grace,” she says. “Even if you plan everything out, things won’t be perfect, and that’s ok.”

Keep in Touch With Friends After months without seeing their classmates, your kids may be dealing with some serious friend withdrawal. Socialization is a big part of going to school, so do your best to make sure your kids don’t completely lose touch with their friends. Set up video chats outside of school hours and work with other parents, when possible, to set up socially distant playdates in parks or the backyard.

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You may feel better about giving your kids extra screen time if you know they’re doing something educational. With Hopscotch, kids ages 10 - 16 learn the basics of coding. Users can create games, apps, and animations that they can share with their friends. Your kids will have so much fun, they’ll forget they’re learning. Encourage your kids to read while learning more about their world with News-O-Matic, a subscription-based news app for kids in grades K - 8. Check out the daily news and information, or search through thousands of age-appropriate articles written especially for kids.

Your little ones will never run out of things to read with Epic, the award-winning reading subscription app for kids in grades K - 6. Search the digital library, which is loaded with thousands of books, organized by reading level. There is even a read-aloud feature designed to help kids who are still learning to read. Introduce your little learners to a new language, with Gus on the Go. The app provides interactive games and lessons in 30 languages, designed to help your kids have fun while they learn fundamental vocabulary words.

Financial Podcasts

Certified Financial Education Instructor, Jamila Souffrant, hosts Journey to Launch, a show about getting on the path to financial freedom. This money coach has made it her mission to help people learn to live debt-free and enjoy an early and comfortable retirement. Every episode of Brown Ambition is a serious dose of Black Girl Magic. Hosts Mandi Woodruff and Tiffany Aliche are all about wealth building. Each week, the two cover topics ranging from investing to maintaining a good credit score in a way that will make you think you’re hanging out with your BFFs.

For Us, By Us Have you been dying to get your financial house in order, but don’t know where to start? Lucky for you, you don’t have to have an MBA to have a solid financial plan. Financial podcasts are a great way to get the expert information you need to help you balance your books. If you’re short on time, podcasts are perfect for people on the go. You can listen while you commute, workout, or cook dinner – a multitasker’s dream! We’ve rounded up some great financial podcasts hosted by people of color, that will break down everything you need to know to get your money right.

Talaat and Tai McNeely host His and Her Money, a podcast dedicated to helping families maintain good financial health. This husband and wife pulled themselves out of debt and paid off their mortgage, so they know the importance of good financial habits. Their podcast gives listeners advice on household budgeting, investing, and credit repair based on their own experiences. Paychecks & Balances is geared towards Millenials who want to get their finances in order, but this podcast is great for anyone looking to have a little more money at the end of every month. If you think finances are boring, you’ll love this unpretentious show that breaks down tough topics in a relatable (and dare I say, fun) way. The Clever Girls Know Podcast describes itself as “the podcast for women on all things money.” Host Bola Sokunbi is a Certified Financial Education Instructor who is out to smash the stereotype that women aren’t good with money. She shares valuable information with her listeners on how to save money and live debt-free.

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An Interview with Howard Allen, Founder/ Owner, Maroon Sausage Company

MAKING FOOD WITH A MESSAGE Howard Allen is not a trained chef, but he always knew he was destined to be an entrepreneur. He taught himself to make sausage by watching videos on YouTube and turned his apartment into a test kitchen. He experimented with flavors until he developed a jerk chicken sausage recipe that his friends and neighbors loved. And it wasn’t long before he found a loyal following at Smorgasburg, a popular outdoor food festival in Brooklyn.

His Maroon Sausage Company is named after the Maroon people of Jamaica, who escaped slavery and established communities in the Blue Mountains. The blend of spices they developed to preserve their meat is what we commonly refer to today as jerk seasoning. We spoke with Allen about how he is using social media, strategic partnerships, and good old fashioned word of mouth to spread the word about his business, which is giving customers a lesson in Black history. 60 / www.bacemagazine.com

How did a marketing guy start making sausage? A friend asked me to help him market an idea he had for a grilled quarter chicken. I thought it would be too hard for people to handle, and suggested doing a sausage instead. I’m from Chicago, where the Polish sausage is a big deal. I started doing some research and going to cooking events around Bed-Stuy. My friend decided not to take on the idea, but I thought it was too good to pass up, so I kept going. When I developed a prototype people wanted to buy, I realized I needed to come up with a good brand story. That’s how I came up with the name Maroon. Unfortunately, my friend succumbed to COVID. It hurts that he isn’t here to see the continued success of the brand.

When did you know you had a legitimate business on your hands? I knew I had something because my kids would eat it, and my mother-in-law, who is from Jamaica would eat it. Then I went to Smorgasburg, with a barbecue grill and no food experience, and I would have a line of people waiting for the sausage. I used that time to talk to people, and they would tell me stories about their background and their trips to Jamaica.

Besides delivering a great product, your company is dedicated to great causes. How did you make that decision?

Businesses need a purpose beyond profit to allow people to connect with your brand. Maroon isn’t just about sausage. The sausage is a way to generate resources to support important causes, including human trafficking. The Maroon people were brought to Jamaica from Ghana as slaves. They escaped into the mountains and maintained their freedom. I believe That’s when I realized people weren’t just eating food. We were eliciting emotions, which our brand should embody that struggle for is powerful. My graphic design job was great, freedom, so we promote organizations like Free the Slaves who work to stop human but this sausage idea was so big that I didn’t even understand its impact. So after I was laid trafficking. off, I took my package and continued to build my company. Now those seeds are just starting What does the future look like for your business? to come to fruition. You started making your sausage at I’ll be creating more flavors. We want to build a strong regional brand and get it home. Who tests your product? popping in New York, New Jersey, and Whoever is around at the time. The beauty of Connecticut. Then we can replicate it in other cities with a strong Caribbean living in Brooklyn is that I can start the grill on the sidewalk, and people will come around population. And if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll to eat and drink beer. Then all I have to do is get into some stores in Jamaica. That would make me happy [laughs]. listen to what they’re saying. It’s a vibe. What’s your primary source of distribution right now? Right now, I think it’s restaurants. I’ve recently started home delivery, which has been able to bring about more balance. I’m learning that just being on grocery store shelves doesn’t always mean you’re going to make money. You need other channels of distribution. How has the COVID environment impacted your business? I wasn’t able to take advantage of some retail opportunities, but everyone is cooking at home and looking to try new things. We’re relying heavily on social media to connect with people. It’s been a great way to communicate without buying advertising.

I don’t think this is one of those things that is supposed to be available at every chain grocery store. I want to be able to support my family, but I didn’t get into this because I wanted to be Oscar Meyer. I have a story that I want to tell through food, about the contribution of the Maroon people. Lots of people love jerk, but they don’t know its history. What I’m doing makes zero sense. I had a corporate job, but I wasn’t satisfied. I watched my parents retire and saw how little they got after all of those years working. I knew I would have to go and do my thing. So now I’m betting heavily on myself.

You can learn more about Maroon Sausage Company at www.maroonsausage.com

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Completed PROJECT

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Old Cook County Hospital Transforms Into Hyatt Hotel

Hyatt House and Hyatt Place have officially opened inside the century-old building at 1835 W. Harrison St. The dual-branded hotel features 210 rooms, a fitness center and event space.

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Battle TWO WOMEN’S STORY ON FIGHTING BREAST CANCER According to the CDC, Black women develop breast cancer at nearly the same rate as their white counterparts. However, they are 40 percent more likely to die from the disease. This alarming statistic is likely due to the racial disparities that exist within our healthcare industry, including a lack of access to quality care and information in communities of color.


e spoke with Chicago native Kandria Daniels, about how she beat the odds to become a breast cancer survivor. Daniels was a healthy young mom when she received a diagnosis that would change her life. But she says it was her friends, family, doctors, and an amazing group of survivors who helped her get through the most challenging times. Just before her 37th birthday, Kandria Daniels went to her primary care physician after discovering a lump in her right breast. A series of tests confirmed she had Stage III breast cancer. After her diagnosis, Daniels gathered as much information as possible, working closely with her doctors to discuss her treatment options.

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In July of 2012, she began an aggressive fivemonth regimen of chemotherapy, which included a combination of drugs called AC-T, or the Red Devil, a nickname given to the red liquid which often comes with severe side effects. Daniels recalls that one of the most inconvenient side effects of the treatment was bladder irritation. “If I left the house, I would have to know I could find bathrooms along the way. It was ridiculous,” she says. At the end of her chemotherapy, Daniels began traveling from Downtown Chicago to Maywood for daily radiation, a process that was both mentally and physically demanding. “Radiation literally burns your skin, so I had to deal with the scars,” she says.

Daniels says she made changes to her diet during the chemo process, including juicing fruits and vegetables and taking vitamin supplements. She also limited her meat consumption to poultry and fish and cut out alcohol. “I celebrated with a drink when I was five years cancer-free,” she says. While dealing with the effects of her cancer treatment, Daniels was also trying to keep things together for her daughter, who was in eighth grade at the time. Family and friends stepped in to help her manage daily activities and navigate the high school admission process. But Daniels says a part of her worried that she wouldn’t be around to see her daughter grow up. “I couldn’t help but wonder if I would even be here when she graduated,” she says.

topics ranging from coping with cancerrelated depression to important health care legislation. “It’s good to be a part of a group that is surviving and thriving,” she says. Daniels knows she’s one of the lucky ones. She was diagnosed at age 36, although doctors recommend women begin having routine mammograms at age 40. “When we’re diagnosed, it’s often too late, and the resources aren’t readily available,” she says. Daniels believes more work needs to be done to provide quality health care to people of color. She notes that there is a distrust of doctors in the Black community, which often prevents people from receiving the best care. “I know women who saw or felt something different in their bodies and the doctor sent them home. And by the time they confirmed something was wrong, things had gotten much worse,” she says. When asked what advice she would give women living with breast cancer, Daniels encourages them to remain positive and rely on the support of family and friends. Today, Daniels says she is healthy and hasn’t had any major issues. She wants to continue sharing her story and supporting others who are living with cancer. “I’m just happy to have one more day.” You can learn more about the Tatisa C. Joiner Foundation at tatisacjoinerfoundation.com

Despite all of the challenges, Daniels says she did her best to remain positive. “I was determined not to have a pity party,” she says. Rather than dwell on her diagnosis, she chose to celebrate different moments along the way. She even had a hair cutting party with friends before she began losing her hair to chemo treatments. Daniels says she is grateful for the support of her loved ones but adds that she also found comfort with a community of women she barely knew. A friend introduced her to the Tatisa C. Joiner Foundation, a survivor’s support group for women of color. The group meets monthly on Chicago’s South Side to support one another and share information on important issues. The group frequently brings in experts to speak on


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SURVIVOR’S Alia S. Graham


I woke up thinking I was fine. It’s difficult to process the words, “you have cancer.” Why don’t they teach us beforehand how difficult it is? Why don’t they tell you how lonely and isolated you can feel, even in a room filled with family and friends? Sure, I had attended the Breast Cancer Awareness services at church. I’d witnessed the walks and the ribbons. But I never thought I would be counted among those who had survived. I’m a survivor.

When I initially noticed the lump, I ignored it for two months. I was in denial. I thought there was nothing to worry about. Surely it would dissipate after my menstrual cycle ended. But the tumors got larger, and I couldn’t even sleep on my stomach due to the irritation. No one else was aware of my discomfort or fear. I was scared and emotional.

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I forced myself to visit my primary care physician. She found a different lump than the one I initially noticed. We scheduled a biopsy, and they found a total of four lumps. Three were cancerous, and one was benign. I had Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC).

of the biblical scriptures that lined the walls. Even if they didn’t care, they gave me the impression they did. I needed to feel God through this entire journey. The doctors set up a treatment plan for me that included chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and possible radiation. I told God to make a way for me to get out of radiation because I had heard terrible stories about the side effects.

The amount of emotion I felt outweighed my faith. I thought I was going to die. After the shock of my diagnosis, I geared up for the fight. The first hospital where I started my treatment was a big mistake. It was a complete nightmare. I felt like they didn’t care if I lived or died. I left every visit in tears. The staff, except for the receptionist, made me feel as if I was a bother. My family and I had too many questions. There was a lack of compassion and empathy, so I left. I decided I needed a hospital that would surround me with faith and love. Hospitals are big business, but I needed to be cared for by people who cared. I moved to Amita Health in Hinsdale, where I received amazing care. I loved the feeling I got when I entered the building. I was so impressed by the layout. So much so, that I took pictures

My first chemotherapy treatment was a breeze. My husband, mom, and two closest friends were with me. I remind them daily how much I love them and how seeing each one of them made it easier. Chemotherapy worked after the very first treatment. My oncologist said that my body responded very well. However, she didn’t tell me that I would experience the most horrible side effects from the “Red Devil,” the nurses’ nickname for chemo. On the days off, I’d wake up, sit on the side of my bed, give myself a pep talk, and cry. On one occasion, I cried for almost 45 minutes. But I made it through. My body is not the same. My mind works differently. I have neuropathy in my toes, but I am still here. I had a double-mastectomy after chemotherapy, and now I have trouble recognizing myself as a woman. I no longer have breasts. I no longer have a menstrual cycle. And because of chemo, I no longer have hair. Finding my femininity has been challenging. Most days, I can’t cope emotionally. I feel ugly and unwanted (all self-inflicted wounds). My husband, friends, and family reassure me that I am beautiful, and now months later, I’m starting to believe them. I elected not to have radiation, because after the mastectomy,

“Keep the faith, YOU WILL BE HEALED. And believe that tomorrow will be better than today” my pathology report stated that I am “Cancer-Free.” Time to celebrate, right? Unfortunately, I’m now dealing with the fear of reoccurrence. I’m not educated enough to know how to deal with this fear. But I do know that God has shown Himself faithful. Yes, I am very spiritual. During my battle, I told God every day that it would get easier, and it has. I wake up stronger every day. I’m five months cancer-free, and I have a lifetime to go! If I could give any advice on fighting cancer, I’d say: This journey will give you strength if allowed. Find peace. Meditation helps. Say “no” when you don’t feel like saying “yes.” Keep the faith, YOU WILL BE HEALED. And believe that tomorrow will be better than today.

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Profile for B/ACE Magazine

2020 Fall Issue  

2020 Fall Issue