March , 2019

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Labor Day is a Recognition of Work, But For Many in Chicago’s Black Community It’s a Reminder of Systematic Disinvestment and Lack of Opportunity


An African-American landlord on Chicago’s South Side will lose several properties to a bank this week despite repeated offers to pay his loans in full, and dozens of families could be displaced in the process.

Clergy for Community Change held a rally and press event yesterday at one of the  properties, 1501 E. 68th St., to call attention to the case and keep black-owned, affordable apartments available in the community.

Michael Shorter has owned buildings in Chicago for more than a quarter century. During the recession he took loans on some of them, but since the economy has recovered has made multiple attempts to pay them off. His bank, however, has tied him up in a continuous morass of confusing procedures and prevented him from reclaiming his property.

He has had three of his seven buildings repossessed and four more are in jeopardy.

Some of his buildings have been placed in the hands of a management company during proceedings and the company actively chased renters away. Stronger points to this as proof the bank is trying to chase away tenants and take his properties for a fraction of their value.

“Every time I have tried to work things out with my bank there is another layer of complication that pushes a solution off, making things more complicated and more expensive at every turn,” Stronger said. “I’ve made it very clear I have the money to handle all of these matters, but I can’t even get them to listen long enough to take my money.”

An attorney who consulted on the matter said it’s clear the bank is trying to take advantage of Stronger and that he has been given poor counsel throughout the matter. He deserves a chance to have his matter resolved in his best interests.

Stronger simply is asking for a chance to pay his loans and take back his own, long-held properties.

Led by Pastor Kenyatta Smith of Another Chance Church, Clergy for Community Change is a group of dozens of spiritual leaders from churches around the Chicago area who put their faith into action. The organization has rallied on critical community issues such as economic opportunity and juvenile justice.

“For our communities to thrive spiritually, or in any way, our people need assurances there will be fruit harvested from their labor,” Smith said. “A community can’t thrive without opportunity and the basic needs like a home.”

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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