You just saw Chicago. And whether you believe it or not, you didn’t see the best of Chicago. You saw everyday Chicago.
You saw Chicago today because the spotlight was on us again, except this time the cameras weren’t trained on our faults and our failures. Today, the show was about the good. But, really, what you saw depended on what details mattered to you.
I saw public school students - there was no school today so they were out in droves. Did you see them? Smiling, cheering, participating. Is that the picture you usually have of Chicago Public School students?
I saw black people - tons of black people from every corner of the city come to cheer on the city’s winning team. They, too, were joyful and full of civic pride. Is that the picture you have of Chicago’s black residents?
I saw white people, Asian people, Hispanic people - all one color - Cubbie blue. They were high-fiving one another, hugging, swaying, singing together. Common ground covered enough space to accommodate millions and millions of people in Chicago today. Did you see that?
Did you see the police and firefighters and EMTs and CTA personnel and troopers and streets and sans teams and service workers? Were they aggressive or weird or posters for ignorance and intolerance? Nope.
Today, you saw five million people in Chicago doing what Chicagoans do every day: being black, being poor, being a police officer, being young and foolish, being old and foolish. You saw incredibly gracious presentations by some pretty talented folks in business, finance, sports, and performance all drawn to Chicago by its magic, all remarking on its uniquely warm, familiar culture. These are the people who are best at what they do, top of their games, as the saying goes. In Chicago by choice.
Tears were shed today, and not for our crimes. That happens, too, and I get that we have problems. I get that we fall down. A lot. But don’t ask me if I’m afraid to have my children attend public schools. I’m proud that my children attend public schools. Don’t ask me if I’m afraid to be in the city. I’m grateful to be in the city. Don’t talk to me about my city’s problems, I know them well, unless you want to talk to me about solutions. This is my family. This is my city. And I am heart and soul a Chicagoan today and every day.
The Cubs have been a blessing in my life in so many ways, for so many the same. Today, the Cubs gave you an opportunity to see my city. When you picture Chicago, remember what you saw today.