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Roosevelt Alumni Chapter names lounge after late Chicago Mayor

12/13/2016, midnight | Updated on 12/13/2016, midnight
In commemoration of the legacy of the first Black mayor of Chicago, Roosevelt University South Side Alumni Chapter has named ...
Roosevelt University South Side Alumni Chapter recently named a lounge in Roosevelt University new building, located at 430 S. Michigan Ave., in honor of the late Mayor Harold Washington. Roosevelt's South Side Alumni Chapter members were present during the ceremony. From left; Secretary, Mashanda Humphrey; newly elected President of the Roosevelt South Side Alumni Chapter, Shundra Johnson; Immediate Past President of Roosevelt South Side Alumni Chapter, Leticia Ransom; and Vice-President, Tara Driver.

Roosevelt Alumni Chapter names lounge after late Chicago Mayor

By Safiyyah P. Muhammad

In commemoration of the legacy of the first Black mayor of Chicago, Roosevelt University South Side Alumni Chapter has named a student lounge in honor of the late Mayor Harold Washington. The lounge is in the Roosevelt University new “green” building at 430 S. Michigan Avenue, according to Leticia Ransom, immediate past president of Roosevelt University South Side Alumni Chapter.

Ransom stated that naming the lounge after the beloved Chicago mayor was an easy naming choice. “After Roosevelt had opened a new building several years ago, we learned that the university had some naming opportunities that families or foundations could name a classroom or lounge in honor of a well-known person. It was just a no-brainer that we would name a lounge in this endeavor, after him since Harold Washington was an alumnus of Roosevelt and the first Black Mayor.”

Shundra Johnson, the newly elected president of the Roosevelt University Southside Alumni Chapter offered comments regarding the lounge naming ceremony in honor of the late mayor. “I think that it is a powerful and inspiring way to honor our first African-American mayor of Chicago, by dedicating and naming this lounge in his honor. Our alumni chapter plans to have an event in the next four months to commemorate the mayor in the student lounge.”

Though it took several years to raise funds for the lounge, Ransom stated that it was a joint effort on Roosevelt University’s South Side Alumni that made the naming initiative a reality. “We called it Operation 1,000 because we had hoped that 1,000 alumni would give a $100.00 and that would give us $10,000. There was a delay in the naming ceremony due to the installment of a new president. So, we had the opening ceremony several weeks ago. The Government of the Student Body and officers of the senior class came out in support of the naming event. Our alumni spoke and dedicated the lounge in Mayor Washington’s name. It was exciting.”

According to Ransom, there are groups around the city which honor the late mayor’s birthday during the month of April. Ransom pointed out that the lounge was a successful effort in memory of the mayor. She said, “We try to support those initiatives, but the lounge will be named in his honor as long as Roosevelt is around. We are the first alumni chapter to fulfill this goal and name a room in the new building.”

Ransom stated that it is important for African-Americans to remember civic leaders who have paved the way such as Mayor Harold Washington. “We are responsible for telling our story, not ‘his story.’ We must be responsible and accountable for keeping the legacy and heritage to our children and forward it on to the next generation. Mayor Washington broke history being the first African-American mayor of this city. With our services and spaces we take on this earth, we must keep legacies like his and other greats alive in any way that we can.”