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 37th ward, which covers parts of Austin and Humboldt Park.
- Total Population: 51,538
- White: 1.46 percent
- Black: 79.38 percent
- Hispanic: 18.15 percent
- Asian: 0.38 percent (Source: WBEZ)
Current Alderman: Emma Mitts
Ward Committeemen: Emma Mitts (democratic committeeman) and George McKinley (republican committeeman)
Who Else is Running: Maretta Brown-Miller, Leroy Duncan, Otis Percy Jr. (removed) and Tara Stamps
Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Struggling, working class and community-oriented
Economic Engine: Unemployment is relatively high in this ward, but there is a Walmart located on the east side of the ward, which has provided jobs and business in the community.
Where People Eat: Restaurants include Emma's Breakfast and Soul Food, Church's Chicken, Pizza Hut, R & B Fast Food, Shish Kebab, Three-D's, El Sitio, Gus' Barbeque, Mermaid, Elliotts Augusta Pizza and Grill, Vo's Place and Golden Hook Fish and Chicken.
Where People Drink: Bars include Doggie Inn, B and V Lounge and Charlie's Lounge.
Where People Pray: Churches and places of worship include The Grace and Peace Community Church, Church of Israel, St. Rome Missionary Baptist Church, New Birth Holy Temple, New Genesis Assembly of God, Gospel Truth Ministries, New Hope Baptist Church, Emanuel's Temple of Love, Apostolic Church of Austin, New Heaven Christian Church, St. Francis of Assisi, Rose of Sharon Community Church, New Holyland MB Church, Heirs of Promise Missionary, Lively Stone MB Church and Unity Church of God in Christ.
How the Ward Typically Votes: Emma Mitts was first elected as alderman of the 37th ward in 2000 when she was appointed to replace Percy Giles, who was convicted of accepting $10,000 in bribes in the Operation Silver Shovel sting. In 2007, Mitts won 59 percent of the vote, defeating Eric McKennie (16 percent) and four other challengers. In 2011, Mitts won 58 percent of the vote, defeating Maretta Brown-Miller (24 percent) and four other challengers.
Landmark: Neighborhood parks, including Lafollette Park, Levin Park and Orr Park
Resident's Voice: Quiwana Bell, who works at Westside Health Authority and attends church in the ward, said, "One of the main things that we try to work on is building trusting relationships among neighbors." Bell said residents in the community need to realize that they are assets to the community and can build lasting change themselves. She said programs are helpful, but they often come and then leave without solving any problems.
Ward Expert: Darnell Shields Jr., director of operations at Austin Coming Together