CHICAGO (CBS) — Thanks to the coronavirus vaccine, one block in the Auburn Gresham community is looking a lot different this year than it did last Memorial Day.
As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reported, fellowship resumed up close in the 8700 block of South Elizabeth Street on Monday. Burgers were back on the grill for all to enjoy, and people were dancing again – together.READ MORE: Over 24,000 Unemployment Claims Filed In Illinois Last Week Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
“It is so good to be out here today,” said DJ Quenton Lee. “A year later, we got our friends and our families here.”
Lee supplied the music for his family and for his neighbors who watched him grow up in the area.
“The neighbors are like moms and dads to us,” Lee said.
One year ago on Memorial Day, CBS 2 was at the same site when Quenton hand-delivered invitations.
“You are welcome to sit on your porch and enjoy some relaxing music,” they read.
The invitation stood even if COVID-19 kept them on the front porch.
“I thought it would be a great idea because our seniors have been in the house for so long,” Lee said last year.
A year later, up and down the block, residents been vaccinated. Lee’s dad, Elton, got his shot in February and has persuaded others to get the vaccine.READ MORE: For These Two Standout Students, Their Achievements Speak Volumes
“I have talked to several, many, and encouraged them to do,” said Elton Lee. “Got to do it. Got to do. There’s no getting around it.”
Michelle Lewis-McCann’s social circle is much larger today.
“Now having my shot, I’m able to enjoy, family, friends, and neighbors – wasn’t able to do that last year at all,” she said.
By Memorial Day last year, nearly 100,000 Americans had died of COVID. More than 400,000 Americans would die after Memorial Day.
Eula Hartney survived the coronavirus last year, but she was very sick.
“Yes, I was actually hospitalized for about three days, and I was on oxygen,” Hartney said.
Today, she’s vaccinated and enjoying her neighbors – and Quenton Lee’s dance party.
“It’s so great to be back out here doing what I love to do – making people happy making people laugh,” Lee said.
And he is doing just that – off the porch and in the street.MORE NEWS: 2 Mass Shootings Reported At The Same Time In Chicago Hours After President Biden Announces Plan To Address City's Violence
Neighbors said they’re especially grateful that they haven’t lost anyone on the block to COVID.