Chicagoans Fight Back To Defend The City’s Image

CHICAGO (CBS) — Not long ago, Chicago’s image around the world was stellar. Oprah, Michael Jordan, and former President Barack Obama were from the Windy City. Now, as violent crime soars, Chicago is taking a beating with President Trump leading the criticism.

Tuesday, CBS 2’s Jim Williams asks if Chicago has lost its shine.

Every delectable dish devoured at his packed restaurant affirms Cliff Rome’s faith in Chicago.

Rome opened up Peach’s two years ago in Bronzeville.

“You hear the bad part about the South Side and the West Side of Chicago, but they don’t tell you about all the great things that’s happening,” Rome said.

This is the dominant Chicago narrative these days: The very symbol of urban mayhem.

But President Trump’s comment at a Presidential debate ignited a spirited defense of the city across social media.

“There was a big response — a lot of people fighting back, saying Chicago is a beautiful city,” said Chicago Magazine’s Senior Editor Elly Fishman.

Fishman had an idea to write Chicago a love letter. In fact, the magazine came up with 67 reasons to love the city. Billy Goat Tavern, Lake Shore Drive and great meals for $5 (or less) all make the list.

“Isn’t that what people do when they’re bullied. They stand up and say, ‘hang on a second,'” said Susanna Homan, Chicago Magazine Publisher.

Writers, actors and sports stars were eager to then pen their own love letters to Chicago.

David McAninch, Chicago Magazine’s Features Editor, said he took that to mean that Chicagoans take immense pride in their city.

St. Sabina Pastor Michael Pfleger leads campaigns to curb violence, but urges everyone to see all of Chicago.

“Let’s talk about the problems and let’s also talk about the greatness,” he said.

MarySue Barrett heads the Metropolitan Planning Council.

“It’s not about hiding your problems and only celebrating what’s good,” Barrett said. “Chicago does well when it faces up to our strengths and the fact that we can surmount our challenges.”

Chicago, with all of its warts, is still a magnet for young professionals like Evony Caldwell, who moved here from Wisconsin to start a medical coding company.

“I’ve always admired Chicago and would notice how Chicago was always evolving,” said Caldwell.

“This city is everything. It is beautiful and it is ugly and it is smart and it is violent and it is depressing and it is heartbreaking. But it’s also totally uplifting,” Homan added.

Not everyone is buying Chicago’s image as a bleak town.

The group Choose Chicago says 54 million tourists visited the city last year, which is a new record. Inc. Magazine calls Chicago the hottest city in the country for startup businesses. And corporations are also moving their headquarters here.

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