Highland Park massacre survivor responds to Nashville tragedy, ward races intensify and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Ashbey Beasley, who fled with her son and others from the scene of the July 4, 2022 mass shooting in Highland Park, stands outside the Lake County courthouse in Waukegan following the accused shooter’s arraignment, Aug. 3, 2022.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about an eight-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

— Matt Moore (@MattKenMoore)


This afternoon will be partly sunny with a high near 48 degrees. Tonight will see increasing clouds with a low near 32. Tomorrow will be cloudy with some snow and a high near 39 degrees.

Top story

Highland Park shooting survivor — in Nashville when another massacre unfolded — rips lack of action on guns

Ashbey Beasley was in Nashville yesterday when a shooter killed three adults and three students at an elementary school.

The attack struck a nerve, bringing back bitter memories of the Highland Park massacre last year, where seven people were killed when a gunman armed with an assault rifle fired from a rooftop at a crowd of people attending a July 4th parade. Beasley and her son were nearby.

Yesterday, Nashville police had just finished speaking to reporters at a press conference about the shooting at The Covenant School when Beasley spoke up.

“Aren’t you guys tired of covering this?” she asked. “Aren’t you guys tired of being here and having to cover all these mass shootings?”

Speaking to reporters, Beasley, 47, said she was in Nashville visiting her sister-in-law on a family vacation with her son.

Beasley said she wasn’t involved in gun safety activism before the Highland Park shooting, but was spurred into action after seeing how her 7-year-old son struggled to cope with the tragedy. She said speaking out on the issue has helped them work through the trauma of the event.

“This is definitely my therapy. I’ve been to D.C. 12 times and met with over 130 lawmakers and their teams,” Beasley said. “I think that this is a way for me to be able to take back control of the situation, and I’m not just sitting idle. That has really helped me.”

Beasley had stopped in Nashville with her son after they attended the Generation Lockdown rally in Washington over the weekend to demand Congress pass the federal assault weapons ban legislation.

Mary Norkol and Emmanuel Camarillo have more on Beasley and the tragedy in Nashville.

More news you need

Elections 2023 🗳️


Chicago mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas answer questions during a Peoples’ Dialogue on the Environment, at Lincoln United Methodist Church in Pilsen, Monday, March 27, 2023.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The mayor’s race

During a luncheon address to the City Club of Chicago yesterday, Brandon Johnson said he won’t cut “one penny” from the Chicago Police Department’s $1.94 billion budget, reversing previous plans to reduce police spending by $150 million. Fran Spielman has more on Johnson’s address.

Meanwhile, Paul Vallas held a get-out-the-vote rally yesterday with trade union leaders and accused the Chicago Teachers Union of bankrolling a campaign of “dirty tricks” to push the “false narrative” that Vallas is a Republican, referencing new Vallas for Mayor signs that feature a “MAGA 2024” message. A CTU spokesperson responded: “Of course, that’s what Paul Vallas thinks.” Spielman has more on the rally and Vallas’ remarks.

The two candidates also attended a forum on environmental issues yesterday in Pilsen, each taking the stage separately as hundreds packed into a small church for the event. Johnson and Vallas both pledged to reestablish Chicago’s Department of Environment if elected to help address pollution in the city, particularly on the hard-hit South and Southwest sides. Emmanuel Camarillo has more on how the town hall went down.

City Council runoff

Two South Side City Council races put a pair of neighborhood pastors, a retired firefighter and a community activist into runoff contests in wards where longtime alderpersons are exiting their posts. Ministers William Hall and Richard Wooten are running to represent the 6th Ward, and Ronnie Mosley, a longtime community organizer, will face retired firefighter Cornell Dantzler for the 21st Ward council seat. Mariah Rush explains the dynamics of each contest.

In the 24th Ward, Ald. Monique Scott, who was appointed to the role less than a year ago, is facing Creative Scott, a small-business owner and political outsider. While their histories differ, the two candidates share more than the same last name. Sophie Sherry reports on this West Side runoff.

Turning to the 43rd Ward, incumbent Ald. Timmy Knudsen is fighting for the seat Mayor Lightfoot appointed him to five months ago. Knudsen only got about a quarter of the vote in February. Now he’s lining up other Democratic support to survive a runoff with consultant Brian Comer. Mitchell Armentrout breaks down the fight for the 43rd Ward.

The runoff election in the North Side’s 46th Ward has intensified. Angela Clay, a housing organizer, finished first on Feb. 28 with 36%. Clay faces Kim Walz, a Walgreens regional director for state and local government relations, who received about 26% on Feb. 28. The incumbent, Ald. James Cappleman, announced last year he would not run again. Kade Heather has more on the 46th and 48th Ward races here.

A bright one ☀️

5 South Side groups awarded $1 million in grants will offer free services to ‘transform health care’

South Side Healthy Community Organization has allocated nearly a million dollars total to five organizations — Trek World USA, Dion’s Chicago Dream, Christian Community Health Center, Phalanx Family Services and ​​Centro Comunitario Juan Diego. 

Led by CEO Kimberly Hobson, the South Side Healthy Community Organization is composed of 13 hospital systems and applied for funding to give grants to organizations focused on four sectors: Food insecurity, transportation, housing and employment — all to address the social determinants of health. 

“We believe all four of those components together will transform health care over a period of time,” Hobson told the Sun-Times. 


Dion Dawson, founder of Dion’s Chicago Dream, will be able to deliver food to at least 125 more families with the help of a grant specifically for South Side organizations.

.Courtesy of South Side Community Health Organization

With the grant funding, Dion’s Chicago Dream can feed more families.

The group has sent a week’s worth of fresh fruits, vegetables and groceries to families since 2020 but now can send at least 125 more families free, healthy meals to help food equality. There are no requirements to join.

“There’s no income requirement because you know somebody who makes six figures who’s living check to check,” said Dion Dawson, the founder of Dion’s Chicago Dream. “And you also know someone who’s making $40,000 who’s debt free.”

Mariah Rush has more on the grant recipients.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

What’s the biggest difference between Chicagoans and New Yorkers?

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday we asked you: Who would you say is the most beloved Chicagoan of all time?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Jeff Tweedy is my vote for most beloved Chicagan.” — Jim Grosse

“The most beloved Chicagoan of all time is a tie between Barack Obama and Sister Jean.” — Gene Tenner

“That would have to be Ernie Banks.” — John Jons

“Studs Terkel, he loved Chicago hard.” — Steve S.

“Ida B. Wells.” — Mary Ann O’Rourke

“Walter Payton with out a doubt. Sweetness was everything that is our city. He was not a big man like New York is a big city but he had heart and worked hard just like every blue collar Chicago working stiff did. No one from Chicago No matter where the go forgets where they came from and those who helped them get there. Walter Payton is Chicago and embodies who we all are.” — Jennifer Janik

“So many incredible individuals come to mind, but that list needs to start and end with two initials: M.J. (Michael Jordan).” — Emmett Fitzpatrick

“I think it might be Steve Goodman. He captured the ‘flavor’ of Chicago with songs such as ‘Lincoln Park Pirates,’ ‘City of New Orleans,’ and a song that lives on at Wrigley Field, ‘Go, Cubs, Go.’ He tragically died at such a young age, but his music will live on in Chicago.” — Amy Jackson

“The most beloved Chicagoan was the poet Gwendolyn Brooks. Despite being the first Black person to win a Pulitzer, she lived humbly, wrote about the Black working class, gave her time and a significant amount of money encouraging poetry to Chicago’s children and aspiring writers. She touched and inspired many, many people.” — Mike Puican

“Mike Royko has to be the most beloved Chicagoan of all. After all, he was born, raised, and he passed away, in Chicago. And for well past a quarter century, the man had his pulse on EVERYTHING going on in the City. Second and third choice? Irv Kupcinet and Studs Terkel.” — Edgar Menendez

“Mayor Richard J. Daley and Harry Caray.” — Jeanne Andres Costa

“Harold Washington. Everybody loved and respected him. His vocabulary was so large that you would have to get out a dictionary to understand him. Even Walter Jacobson couldn’t understand him. He loved Chicago.” — Genevieve Williams

“Bozo the Clown (Bob Bell)! The only clown in Chicago who actually admitted to being one. The real answer is Rich Koz who has made generations of Chicagoans laugh through his alter ego, Svengoolie and is kind, approachable and free of ego. A truly fine Chicago superstar.” — Jeff Kwit

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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