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 17th ward, which covers parts of Chicago Lawn, Marquette Park, Gresham, Auburn Gresham and West Englewood.
- Total Population: 51,846
- White: 2.19 percent
- Black: 81.15 percent
- Hispanic: 15.78 percent
- Asian: 0.22 percent (Source: WBEZ)
Current Alderman: Latasha Thomas
Ward Committeemen: Latasha Thomas (democratic committeeman) and Curtis Lacy (republican committeeman)
Who Else is Running: James Dukes, Glenda Franklin and David Moore. Latasha Thomas is not running for re-election.
Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Violent, struggling, diverse and historical. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a famous protest in the Marquette Park neighborhood, which resides in the ward, in 1966.
Predominant Economic Engine: Factories in the area used to dominate the local economy, but most of them have been closed, leaving many residents of the 17th ward jobless.
Where People Eat: Restaurants include several fast food restaurants, Mexican restaurants, Gobbler's Cafe, Catfish City, Cafe New Day, Popeye's, Papa T's and Granny B's.
Where People Drink: Bars include Gintaras Club, Hot City Cocktail Lounge, Cookie's Cocktail Lounge and JNJ Lounge.
Where People Pray: Like the 16th ward, this ward contains more churches and places of worship than most wards. Churches include St. Sabina, several Baptist churches, House of Praise Fellowship, Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, Gifts from God Ministry, St. Benedict the African Church and Liberation Christian Center.
How the Ward Typically Votes: Latasha Thomas has represented the 17th ward for nearly 15 years. In 2007, she won 67 percent of the vote, defeating Tyrone Hawthorne (15 percent) and two other challengers. In 2011, she won 53 percent of the vote, defeating David Moore in a runoff.
Landmark: Marquette Park
Resident's Voice: Paul Metaxas, the owner of Old Chicago Pizzeria and Ice Cream Parlor, said the community needs more security to decrease crime, particularly involving gangs and drugs. Metaxas said better security in the ward would also help businesses succeed, leading to greater economic growth.
Ward Expert: Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor at St. Sabina Church