Visit The TRiiBE Election Center to learn more about the upcoming 2023 Chicago municipal election. Click here to find your Chicago ward and police district.

Incumbent: 

Ald. Monique Scott Headed to runoff

Contesting candidates

  • Creative Scott Headed to runoff

Population: 52,205

Demographics:

  • 76.2% Black
  • 18.5% Latine
  • 3.3% white
  • 0.3% Asian

Neighborhoods included:

  • North Lawndale
  • South Lawndale
  • Homan Square

Median household income:

  • For South Lawndale, $36,920, as of July 2022.
  • For North Lawndale, $30,961, as of July 2022.
  • For the City of Chicago, $62,097, as of July 2022.

Top issues, according to people we interviewed

  • Crime
  • Poverty
  • Lack of grocery stores
  • Lack of Black-owned businesses

Landmarks

  • Douglass Park
  • Franklin Park
  • Nichols Tower, a.k.a. the original “Sears Tower”
  • Firehouse Community Arts Center of Chicago
  • Dr. King Legacy Apartments
  • Cook County Jail
  • Chicago Police Department’s Homan Square black site

Chicago’s 24th Ward is regarded as an important place in Black Chicago history. In the 1960s, its present-day borders served as the stomping grounds for many Black liberation leaders. In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. chose an apartment on 15th Street and Hamlin Avenue in North Lawndale as the base to launch the northern campaign of the Civil Rights Movement, in which he planned to expose discriminatory real-estate practices such as redlining and panic peddling.

Same time, North Lawndale is also a place reeling from decades-long tension with systemic racism and police. In July 1966, uprisings broke out after police arrested a Black man for opening a fire hydrant; over the course of two days, more than 200 people were arrested, 30 people were injured and two Black people killed by stray bullets from shootouts between police and snipers. 

At its peak in 1960, the North Lawndale neighborhood alone was home to 113,827 Black residents. Today, the entire 24th Ward, which includes parts of Homan Square, North and South Lawndale and Marshall Square has a population of just 52,205. All of the neighborhoods within the ward are still suffering from decades-long neglect and poverty, with unfortunate stretches of abandoned buildings, littered vacant lots and a big symbol of state violence housed in the Chicago Police Department’s Homan Square black site. 

In 24th Ward, incumbent Ald. Monique Scott has sights on retaining her seat; one that Mayor Lori Lightfoot appointed her to in July 2022 after her brother, former Ald. Michael Scott Jr., retired. Lightfoot went on to appoint Scott Jr. to the Chicago Board of Education, which his father served as president under Mayor Richard M. Daley. Scott Jr. also took on a cushy job at Cinescape Studios as its head of industry and community relations. Prior to July, Scott Jr. had held the seat since 2015. 

There are now seven people challenging his sister for the aldermanic seat. 

For our West Side wards profile series, The TRiiBE interviewed three people who are part of the 24th Ward. There is hope that things will turn around economically for the 24th Ward — and there is straightforward pride in the residents.

Bobby Price, 49 years old

Neighborhood you grew up in: North Lawndale

Neighborhood you live in: South Lawndale/Little Village

Neighborhood you work in: North Lawndale

Occupation: Owner of Principle Barbers and visual artist

Do you know who your alderperson is? “Yes, it’s Monique Scott. I don’t know her personally, though; her brother has come to my shop a couple times. My shop has been open technically for four-and-a-half years; with COVID, it’s been like two-and-a-half years.”

Since you’ve grown up in that ward, you’ve seen a lot of changes, right? “I have, but not enough. I’ve seen Ogden Avenue [the street where Principle Barbers is] change but not enough in the community.”

What do you like about working in the 24th Ward? “I like the people and the community connections. More than the buildings, it’s the people.”

What do you dislike about working in the 24th Ward? “The obvious things, right? There is crime, poverty — and no one invests in the community. It seems like the city and state ignore the community. The ward needs funding and resources.”

What do you wish your alderperson would do to improve your ward? 

  • More businesses: “There should be more opportunities for people to move in and to create opportunities for businesses. The thing is that Lawndale needs [more] people, or population. To make our community like other places, we need, like, 50,000 people [in this neighborhood alone]. If you look at other wards, you see that Lawndale has the lowest amount. When it comes to small businesses, you need population to be like a thriving area like Oak Park. Without the people, you just have a bunch of empty lots. Gentrification is not possible if no one’s here. I’m against displacement but I’m all for population as well as growth and development.”

Are you going to vote in the 2023 municipal election? If not, what would motivate you to vote? I do plan on voting.

Do you know who you plan on voting for? Yes and no;  it’s a wait-and-see thing right now. Now, for mayor, I know who I’m voting for; that’s an easy one.

Ray Barney, 64 years old

Neighborhood you live in: North Lawndale. “I live two blocks from my store. My father and grandfather lived there, too. I’ve been there for over 30 years.”

Occupation: Owner of Barney’s New Life Health Foods; founder of 1990s house-music label Dance Mania and former owner of Barney’s Records & Variety.

Do you know who your alderperson is? “It was Michael Scott but now it’s his sister.”

What do you like about living and working in the 24th Ward? “I like the people; they’re genuine, to me. I like being able to bring the service to the community. People like [that] there’s a health-food store in the community, and we treat people like they should be treated.

What do you dislike about living and working in the 24th Ward? “I wish we had more Black-owned businesses in the ward.”

What do you wish your alderperson would do to improve the 24th Ward? “I do want more Black-owned businesses but I’m not that involved in politics so I don’t know what could be done. The only time we ventured into the political field was with state Rep. Lakesia Collins, with a back-to-school event we were involved in; we worked with her to help give out free lunches.”

Are you going to vote in the 2023 municipal election? If not, what would motivate you to vote? “I definitely plan on voting.”

Do you have an idea of who you’re going to vote for? I kind of have an idea about who I’m voting for mayor, but I don’t want to say who right now.



Henry Petty, 39 years old

Neighborhood you grew up in: North Lawndale

Neighborhood you go to church in: North Lawndale, Kingdom Culture International Ministries

Occupation: Minister and food-truck owner

Do you know who your alderperson is? “Yes; Ald. Monique Scott.”

What do you think your alderperson has done for you and your ward? “Through my personal interactions with her, I see she’s done pretty well, especially since she’s only been here a few months. She’s been getting into the community; I’ve had a couple meetings with her. She’s been talking about bringing more businesses back.”

Riot Fest: “You know about Riot Fest? I know some of the locals don’t like it because they feel it brings a lot of traffic. But I believe it’s good because it brings money and jobs.” 

What do you like about living and working in the 24th Ward? “I could be biased because I grew up here. I went to Anton Dvorak [School of Excellence] on 16th and Central Park, and I grew up on 18th and Central Park. I like that there are different cultures coming to the ward that are gentrifying the neighborhood.”

What do you dislike about living and working in the 24th Ward? “Again, this might be me being biased because I love this area so much, but this area needs to bring businesses back. I hated to see some of them go. I think we need to trend toward bringing more grocery stores and other businesses back.”

Are you going to vote in the 2023 municipal election? “I have an idea who I’m going to vote for in the ward that I live in. I kind of have an idea who I’m going to vote for mayor, too.”

is the Digital News Editor for The TRiiBE.
is the editor-in-chief of The TRiiBE and a 2023-2024 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.