Get to Know Your Ward: 28th Ward

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 28th ward, which covers parts of West Garfield Park, East Garfield Park, Austin, Douglas Park, the Illinois Medical District and University Village/Little Italy.


  • Total Population: 55,199
  • White: 11.65 percent
  • Black: 75.65 percent
  • Hispanic: 6.74 percent
  • Asian: 5.11 percent (Source: WBEZ)

Current Alderman: Jason Ervin

Ward Committeemen: Jason Ervin (democratic committeeman) and Shawn A. Walker (republican committeeman)

Who Else is Running: Jasmine Jacksom, Marseil Jackson, Alex Lyons, Willie McGill, William Siegmund, Elliot Thomas and Tammie Vinson were all running against Ervin, but they have all been removed from the ballot. Ervin is now running unopposed.

Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Violent, struggling economically, downtrodden, gentrifying (early stages)

Economic Engine: The race riots and factory closings in the 1960s devastated the local economy in the West Garfield Park neighborhood and closed down many of the retail stores in the once popular shopping district along Madison Street. The area experienced somewhat of a retail revival in recent years, but it is not as economically sound as it once was.

Where People Eat: There are several fast food and fish and chicken restaurants in this ward. Other restaurants include Tequilla's Grill, Taste Bud 1, Uncle Remus Chicken and Barbeque, Jack's Burger, Laymon's BBQ, Maxine's Jamaican Cuisine, Boom Fried Rice, The Original Maxwell Street, Granddaddy's Deli, Damenzo's Pizza, Conte Di Savoia, Taylor Made Pizza and Sweet Maple Cafe.

Where People Drink: Bars include Ray Wray, Wash Place, Tool Box Lounge, Rick's Bar, Water Hole Lounge, Bar 10 Doors, Wise Owl Drinkery and Cookhouse and Union Park Lounge.

Where People Pray: Churches and places of worship include Universal MB Church, Way of Life Church International, Keystone Baptist Church, True Wayof Life Baptist Church, Philadelphia Missionary MB, True Temple of Apostolic Faith, New Macedonia Missionary  Baptist, New Mt. Pilgrim, Three Crosses of Calvary Church, St. Jude Church, Truth and Deliverance International, Garfield Park Baptist Church, Chicago Community Mennonite Church, Joshua Missionary  Baptist Church, True Tabernacle, St. James Unity Baptist CHurch, Chicago International Evangelical, St. Stephenson Church and The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii.

How the Ward Typically Votes: Former Ald. Ed Smith was the longest serving African-American alderman. He held the position from 1983 until he resigned in November 2010. Smith won 60 percent of the vote in 2007, defeating Shawn Walker (24 percent) and four other challengers. Jason Ervin, whom Smith endorsed, won 85 percent of the vote in 2011, defeating William Siegmund.

Landmark: Garfield Park Conservatory

Ward Expert: Mildred Wiley, senior director of community services at Bethel New Life Inc.

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