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'We Don't Want To Look Like A Segregated Chicago': Black Chamber Of Commerce Looks Into North Side Opportunities

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Next month, some African American entrepreneurs will board buses and look for places to set up shop all over the city.

One North Side community has a warm welcome planned. CBS 2's Jim Williams has the story.

Chicago's 40th Ward. A land of opportunity, said Siri Hibbler of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce.

"We decided that we need to do something to to help these businesses more, and to help them to grow," Hibbler said.

Hibbler is encouraging Black businesses to consider setting up in North Side, majority white communities; densely populated, with established businesses and residents with disposable income.

"We set up a goal for them to go outside of their border," Hibbler said. "Outside of the West Side of Chicago, outside of the South Side of Chicago, south suburbs, west suburbs, but look into other places as well for your business."

In a video, the Lincoln Square-Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce rolled out the red carpet.

"We have a supportive residential community that just loves our small independent businesses and there's always room for more," said Katie Kraus of the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce.

So does the alderman, who see what he calls a "beautiful partnership."

"We want to make sure we create the environment where people across the city through multiple variables as far as identity," said Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th.) "Whether it's race, gender, anything else, feel fully welcome."

But is this effort considered an abandonment of Black neighborhoods which need economic activity?

Hibbler insists her organization is simply looking at the entire city and putting a dent in its entrenched racial segregation.

"We are one Chicago, right? So we want to look like one Chicago we don't want to look like a segregated Chicago any longer," Hibbler said.

The bus tour for businessman and woman begins Saturday, May 1. Click here for the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce website to reserve a spot.


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