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Thank you SBC donors! Join us for a celebration on 4/10 with Jill Sobule and Meisha Herron

Jill Sobule and Meisha Herron

Update: 35th Ward alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa has signed on to discuss equitable sustainable transportation and housing initiatives in the ward and citywide as part of this event.

Needless to say, this past year has been one like no other, and the Chicago sustainable transportation scene was no exception. Here at Streetsblog Chicago we've had our hands full covering how issues like the COVID-19 pandemic and the city's response to Black Lives Matter protests have impacted local residents' travel options and worker safety.

We've tracked the tragic 45 percent spike in traffic fatalities during 2020 due to an epidemic of speeding during the crisis, and advocated for reconfiguring street space for safe, socially-distanced walking, biking, and transit. And now that vaccines are providing a light at the end of the tunnel, we look forward to reporting on and advocating for strategies to encourage active transportation as workplaces and entertainment venues reopen.

2020 was anything but a typical year for covering transportation and livable streets issues in Chicago. Photos: John Greenfield, Pace
2020 was anything but a typical year for covering transportation and livable streets issues in Chicago. Photos: John Greenfield, Pace
2020 was anything but a typical year for covering transportation and livable streets issues in Chicago. Photos: John Greenfield, Pace

Throughout this challenging year, we've been very fortunate to have the steadfast support of our donors, sponsors, and readers like you. I'm pleased to report that we recently hit our 2021 fundraising goal of $50,000, which, along with $75,000 grant from The Chicago Community Trust community foundation, is allowing us to expand Streetsblog Chicago this year.

The Trust has been a loyal supporter of SBC ever since we first launched in 2013, and their help became especially important after we rebooted as an independent nonprofit in 2015. Special thanks to Daniel O. Ash, Associate Vice President for Community Impact, for facilitating the 2021 donation.

This year's increased Streetsblog Chicago budget has allowed us to promote assistant editor Courtney Cobbs to co-editor, increasing her hours and writing and editing output, so that Courtney and I are now leading the publication together. As a bonus for readers, we'll never again need to shut down the site during non-holiday periods.

We've also earmarked funds for a new weekly series focusing on transportation and urban planning issues that impact Chicago’s Latino communities, including translation of the articles into Spanish. Stay tuned for that new feature launching this spring.

Special thank-you also to the extremely loyal reader who has donated $10,000 to Streetsblog Chicago every year of the site's existence and came through once again this year. We appreciate you!

In addition, we'd like to give a big thanks to all of our other donors and advertisers this year, including the TransitCenter foundation, SRAM Corporation, FK Law, Keating Law Offices, Boulevard Bikes, the Bike Lane, the Shofur family of charter bus services, Tern bicycles, the Active Transportation Alliance, Ride Illinois, On the Route Bicycles, HomeLight, Earth Rider Cycles, and Roscoe Village Bikes.

In addition to Courtney and SBC cofounder Steven Vance, who's still helping out with editorial decisions and technical aspects of running the site, I'd like to give a shout-out to our regular freelancers including Amber Drea, Sharon Hoyer, Imelda March, Ariel Parrella-Aureli, Mia Park, James Porter, Igor Studenkov, and David Zegeye. It's great to have all you talented people onboard.

Streetsblog Chicago staffers and freelancers: (Top row) Courtney Cobbs, Steven Vance, Amber Drea, Sharon Hoyer, Imelda March, (bottom row) Ariel Parrella-Aureli, Mia Park, James Porter, Igor Studenkov, and David Zegeye.
Streetsblog Chicago staffers and freelancers: (Top row) Courtney Cobbs, Steven Vance, Amber Drea, Sharon Hoyer, Imelda March, (bottom row) Ariel Parrella-Aureli, Mia Park, James Porter, Igor Studenkov, and David Zegeye.

Last but not least, I'd like to thanks the hundreds of awesome Streetsblog Chicago readers who stepped up to help us meet our funding target. We couldn't keep this publication going without you!

While holding our usual fundraising victory party at Revolution Brewing's taproom isn't an option this year, we'll be hosting an online celebration for donors on Saturday, April 10, from 8-9:30 p.m., featuring some first-rate musical entertainment. Singer-songwriters Jill Sobule (whom I recently met on Twitter after quoting one of her lyrics in an article) and Meisha Herron (who was a regular performer in the early days of Chicago's Handlebar bike-friendly pub) will be playing short sets – read more about Jill and Meisha below. Streetsblog staffers will also make a few remarks about the state of the transportation scene, and there will be some time at the end to hang out and chat with SBC writers and readers while you sip your favorite libation, plus a possible special guest appearance or two.

We'll be emailing invites with more information to all 2020-21 Streetsblog Chicago donors in the near future. Haven't donated yet? No problem – make a donation to SBC of any amount before the party and we'll send you an invite.

Thanks again for your support, and see you on April 10!

— John Greenfield, editor

About Jill Sobule

"Jill Sobule, an award winning artist with the ECR Music Group, has released a dozen of albums spanning three decades of recording, tackling such topics as the death penalty, anorexia nervosa, shoplifting, reproduction, the French Resistance, adolescent malaise, LGBTQ issues, and the Christian Right, to name a few – with her trademark wit and aplomb.

The Denver-born songwriter/guitarist/singer's work is at once deeply personal and socially conscious, seriously funny and derisively tragic. While her songs cover expansive thematic ground, they benefit greatly from Jill’s subtle intelligence and skillful light-handedness. No sloganeering flag-and-fist waving here, but rather portrait-&-story songs about human beings, real and imagined, which allow us to step back from the issues they tackle, be they individual or societal, and to relate to them as we would to a close friend.

On stage, she entertains, amuses, provokes, and more often than not, takes her audiences on an emotional roller coaster, from comedy to pathos in a few bars of music, often within the same song.

Jill Sobule’s recording career began in 1990 with the album Things Here Are Different (MCA), produced by Todd Rundgren. Radio took notice thanks to the single’s “Too Cool To Fall In Love.” Her 1995 self-titled album (Atlantic) brought her mainstream commercial and critical success with two hit singles:  the satirical gem “Supermodel” from the movie Clueless and “I Kissed A Girl” (the original), the first ever openly queer-themed Billboard Top 20 record."

Check out Jill's website here.

About Meisha Herron

"Meisha Herron is self taught on the guitar primarily, but not really self taught.  She listened to albums and played with other musicians that she grew up around on Chicago’s South side. She has played with many accomplished musicians, on the streets and subway of Chicago, up to the best stages, including the 2008 Chicago blues festival and Buddy Guy’s Legends. In 2018, she relocated to the Northern Shenandoah Valley regions and now performs regularly at wineries, breweries, outdoor festivals and local event spaces.  Her vocal range is wide and she can croon standards like “At Last” or belt out some Koko Taylor-like vocals on a moment’s notice.  Her live performances, whether solo or with a band, is an exciting musical gumbo which will have you moving in your seats."

Check out Meisha's website here.

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