NBC Chicago and Ward Room bring you profiles on all 50 wards this election season. As candidates face off in the Feb. 24 election, they are also facing a new ward map, which takes effect when the winners assume office.
In this profile, learn all about the 16th ward, which covers parts of Englewood, Gage Park, West Englewood and Chicago Lawn.
- Total Population: 51,954
- White: 1.4 percent
- Black: 68.50 percent
- Hispanic: 29.2 percent
- Asian: 0.18 percent (Source: WBEZ)
Current Alderman: JoAnn Thompson (deceased)
Ward Committeemen: JoAnn Thompson (democratic committeeman) and Lionel Garcia (republican committeeman)
Who Else is Running: Stephanie Coleman, Toni Foulkes (current 15th ward alderman), Jose Garcia, Jeffrey Lewis (removed), Cynthia Lomax and Guadalupe Rivera (removed)
Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Struggling, violent, dangerous, closely knit, food desert
Predominant Economic Engine: Local businesses, auto body shops and repair shops. The neighborhoods in this ward are struggling economically, but there are several community organizations and non-profits in the ward, including community gardens. Most of them are based in Englewood.
Where People Eat: Restaurants include several fish and chicken restaurants, fast food restaurants, Mexican restaurants, Reese's Gourmet Mana and Garifuna Flava.
Where People Drink: Bars and coffee shops include Cafe Dream, Mr. Allen Coffee Shop and Reggie's Lounge.
Where People Pray: There are more churches and places of worship in this ward than in most wards, and several of them are located within a couple of blocks of each other. Churches include Marantha Temple Church, Faith Missionary Baptist, Right-Way Holiness Church, New Heaven and Earth Church, Holy Angels Baptist Church, Fireball Faith Church in Christ, New Greater Love Pentecostal and St. Eliza Universal Prayer Center.
How the Ward Typically Votes: JoAnn Thompson has been alderman of the 16th ward since 2007 when she won 56 percent of the vote, defeating Shirley Coleman, the previous alderman, in a runoff. In 2011, Thompson won 56 percent of the vote again, defeating Hal Baskin in a runoff.
Landmark: Englewood Shopping Center near 63rd and Halsted. The shopping center, which borders the 20th ward as well, is no longer as vibrant as it once was, but decades ago it was the center of shopping on the South Side. Today, it is a symbol of how the neighborhood has changed.
Resident's Voice: Rashanah Baldwin, a local journalist and host of the radio show "What's Good in Englewood," said, "Englewood needs a lot of things to grow. I do believe we are moving in the right direction to building a sustainable community. Englewood needs a stronger economy and stronger sustainable economic development full of businesses that hire from within the community ... The Englewood community needs to be viewed as a vibrant community full of hope and residents who are viewed as assets."
Ward Expert: Andrew Holmes, a community activist in the Englewood community