Press Release

February 7, 2023

Media relations
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
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ABC7 Chicago Celebrates Black History Month With News, Vignettes and ‘Our Chicago: Spirit and Perseverance’

South Side Chicagoan, Edward Vaughn, aka Rockstar EV, studied rocket science in college and now hopes to become a rock star. Editor/photographer Jordan Arseneau captures his remarkable talent for ABC 7’s Black History Month special, OUR CHICAGO:  SPIRIT AND PERSEVERANCE.   
ABC 7’s Hosea Sanders and Cheryl Burton host the Black History Month Special, OUR CHICAGO:  SPIRIT AND PERSEVERANCE. 

ABC 7 CHICAGO celebrates Black History Month with vignettes, a series of news stories and a half-hour special “OUR CHICAGO: SPIRIT AND PERSEVERANCE.”

Hosted by ABC 7’s Cheryl Burton and Hosea Sanders, “OUR CHICAGO: SPIRIT AND PERSEVERANCE” showcases the unique stories and cultural contributions of Black Chicagoans. The half-hour program airs Saturday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. with an encore presentation the following day on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 11 p.m. and will also stream live exclusively on and ABC 7’s Connected TV Apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.

Burton and Sanders host the special from historic Liberty Baptist Church, located at 49th Street and Martin Luther King Drive. Built in 1956, Liberty Baptist Church served as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s home base during his “Chicago Freedom Movement.” They will kick off the show highlighting the historic influence of Black churches in Chicago.

Vignettes featuring amazing, every day Chicagoans will be showcased throughout February on ABC7, including Englewood resident, guitarist and engineer, Edward Vaughn, “Rockstar E.V.”; inspirational, dancing crossing guard, Tammy Anderson; bakery and candy factory entrepreneur, Stephanie Hart; author and advocate Leanne Stuckey; Loyola University’s AfroDescent Dance Team and caretaker Jeannette Jordan, who reflects on her remarkable love story with her husband, Dr. Robert Jordan. 

“OUR CHICAGO: SPIRIT AND PERSEVERANCE” highlights individuals and groups in the Black Chicago community with unique stories and community contributions including the following:

Chicago Freedom Movement: In 1966, Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta, moved to Chicago, where he launched the Chicago Freedom Movement, the historic open housing campaign which was Dr. King’s first major protest movement in the North. The campaign had a major influence on Chicago – it brought Jesse Jackson to the city, where he launched Operation Breadbasket. It also brought other major figures to the city, like Rev. Al Sampson, a longtime minister on the South Side. The special revisits this historic campaign with Rev. Sampson, King biographer Jonathan Eig and others.

Life is Sweet: Owner Stephanie Hart,one of Chicago’s most notable minority businesswomen and owner of beloved South Side bakery Brown Sugar, is keeping the candy making business in Chicago. She purchased the Cupid Candies factory, brought it back to life and is now aiming to expand her Life is Sweet candy treats to a larger market. By renovating the factory, Hart helps the neighborhood, creates jobs and gives people a chance to make a living wage.  Hart is one of the only Black-owned candy makers in the country.

Chicago’s “Notebook” Love Story – In Sickness and in Health: Pastor Jeannette Jordan and her husband, Dr. Robert Jordan, have been married for over 50 years and share five children. Robert, a retired pediatrician, became Rush Hospital’s first Black chief resident of pediatrics in 1979. A few years ago, Robert was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Now, his wife, Jeannette, has dedicated her life to caring for him.

Mielle Organics: Chicago founders Monique and Melvin Rodriguez established the Merrillville, Indiana-based hair and skin care company, Mielle Organics, in their basement. Now worth $100 million, they follow in the footsteps of great Black-owned hair care companies from the past, like Johnson Products and Soft Sheen (owned by Edward and Bettiann Gardner).

Loyola AfroDescent Dance Team: AfroDescent is the first and only African dance team at Loyola University Chicago that expresses themselves through the movement of their African ancestors and a variety of styles that have transcended from the African diaspora. As a diverse team, they seek to highlight the joyous and artistic expression of African Dance and showcase them to the Loyola community.

Faith Leaders Bring Credit Union to Austin Neighborhood: Faith leaders at the Great True Vine Baptist Church in Austin join forces with a local investment banker to open a credit union at a neighborhood community center later this year in hopes of bringing financial stability to the people of Austin.

ABC7 Eyewitness news will feature many compelling stories for Black History Month under the banner “Building a Better Chicago,” including the following:

  • Anchor Rob Elgas takes a trip to Funky Town, the first Black-owned brewery in Chicago.
  • Reporter Leah Hope reports on the local mother behind Ida’s Artisan Ice Cream.  Her ice cream will be featured at the Museum of Ice Cream starting in February.
  • Anchor Samantha Chatman investigates diversity in dispensaries, exploring the number of Black marijuana dispensary applicants in comparison to the number of approved applicants that obtain dispensary licenses.
  • Race and Culture Reporter Will Jones highlights a local entrepreneur spreading positive messages through clothing.
  • Reporter John Garcia delves into The Bears Organization to uncover the progress of diversity in their program.
  • Traffic Anchor Roz Varon takes a trip back in time visiting an exhibit called The Negro Motorist Green Book.

About ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago 
ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago is the No. 1 local news source and most-watched television station in Chicago. With top-rated daily newscasts spanning decades and the largest social media presence in the market with more than 2.6 million Facebook followers, ABC7 Eyewitness News provides breaking news, investigative reporting, weather, politics, traffic and sports in the multiplatform space to Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana. Named Best News Operation by the Associated Press for four consecutive years, ABC 7 Eyewitness News produces “Chicago Proud,” a series of features that spotlights everyday heroes in and around Chicago. The station also produces the highest-rated New Year’s Eve special in Chicago, holiday kickoff special “The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival,” syndicated to a national audience, as well as the award-winning program series “Our Chicago,” which showcases the city’s diversity and highlights contributions in the Black, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ+ communities, among others. Every Friday, Windy City Weekend, entertains while giving Chicagoans everything they need to know about what’s happening in the city. ABC 7 is the only Chicago station producing and broadcasting parades representing Chicago’s rich cultural history. In addition to producing town halls focused on current social issues, the station has a long and proud tradition of broadcasting political candidate debates keeping Chicago’s electorate informed. ABC7’s outreach efforts include annual partnerships with the Red Cross for life-saving blood drives, one of the biggest one-day drives in the country and, most recently, spearheading an effort to raise more than $1.5 million for area food pantries.  


Media Contacts:
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254