Section 8 Chicago would like to send its condolences to Assata’s Daughters as they go through a difficult period in their herstory.
Two weeks ago, during the week of Assata Shakur’s birthday, the City of Chicago seized and bulldozed the group’s home quarters after an arson attempt. Having a space in which to work is vital for AD’s success in educating and mentoring Chicago’s youth.
In the hope of aiding them in finding a new space, the ISA is donating $1000, a product of our Rock Against Racism scarf sales as well as an additional grant from the board. In solidarity, we look forward to the hopes, dreams, and actions that will continue to come from the programs offered by one of Chicago’s most invaluable organizations.
Many of those involved with Section 8 Chicago and in the broader Chicago soccer community choose to express their support for the Chicago Fire by forming supporter’ communities. These communities are as diverse as Chicago Fire fans themselves.
For many, the appeal of forming such communities is being able to gather with like-minded friends and fans as well as attracting new ones based on shared interests. In recognition of Women’s History Month we’re speaking with supporters’ clubs lead by and comprised of women. We spoke to Cider Cunts earlier this month and we conclude with Nicole Hack and several other members of the CF97 Sirens.
Supporters’ Group Name:CF97 Sirens. We want to note that we consider CF97 Sirens is a community of female supporters, rather than a supporters group. We’re inclusive of all women and have no formal membership structure.
S8C: When was your SG founded?
CF97 Sirens: We were founded in 2013, but we didn’t decide on a name until 2015.
S8C: If there is one, what is the story behind your SG’s name?
CF97 Sirens: In 2015, we collectively shared name suggestions and voted on them. Sirens won because it’s an awesome play on words representing both Fire sirens and Sirens of Greek mythology, who were known to lure sailors in with their music and singing voices. We like to think we lure our Men in Red to score a goal with our singing and chanting. Other nominations were: Jane Addams Army, Firettes, Mrs. O’Leary’s Milkmaids, Ladies in Red, and we can’t forget, Ladies in Gradient Blue, a nod to the 2014 Quaker sponsored Fire jerseys.
S8C: Why did you choose to found this SG?
CF97 Sirens: As a long-time Fire supporter, I found myself frustrated by the male-dominance of the culture, especially in terms of dialogue on Fire related supporters forums so I wanted to provide myself and other women a safe space to discuss our love for the team and the beautiful game with other like-minded female supporters. This was my main inspiration, but I also wanted to highlight the work that women were doing in the community and encourage women to participate more and to feel comfortable doing so. S8C: What are your specific interests or focus of the SG?
CF97 Sirens: Our interests or goals as a group are to connect with one another in a female only forum in the hopes that we will inspire, unite, motivate, & encourage one another in a culture that is male-dominated. By providing women a safe space to engage with one another it will hopefully allow us the chance to have a louder voice in the Chicago Fire community. We hope to encourage more women to get involved, come to more games, and we want to continue to highlight Sirens in Chicago Fire’s supporters’ scene.
S8C: What upcoming projects are CF97 Sirens working on?
CF97 Sirens: Our first two-pole is in the process of being made thanks to the work of Moria Dailey Nestmann (S8C Director of Marketing) and others. Several members of our community (Maud Squires, Moria, and Meredith Miklasz) are hosting this Saturday’s tailgate to benefit the Chicago Community Kitchen scholarship initiative Section 8 Chicago is working on this season. We hope to have scarves made in the future. We’re always looking for more women to get involved and help us with charity initiatives, event hosting, or merch designs.
S8C: What are you / your SG most excited about in the upcoming season?
Carmen Norgaard: I’m excited to see what Gaitan will add to the team and how he’ll combine with Nikolic. Carri Alldredge: Being back in the stadium with everyone! Meredith Miklasz: I’m excited about having a bigger presence than ever and trying to involve more women who are new to the love of soccer, not just MLS or Fire games. I’m also excited to be more hands-on and pushing “to the front” where we’re visible. Nicole Hack: As a board member, I am excited to rebuild after the hardships we endured in the 2018 season. I’m also excited to see our creative attack with the team’s new signings. I’m also excited to see how Marcelo and Ousted play in the back
As of this writing, Section 8 Chicago is almost 30% of the way to its fundraising goal for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. This fundraising campaign was started during the 2018 season by Marty Tomszak and has been one of the many efforts that are setting a new standard for supporter-led giving throughout MLS.
Section 8 Chicago is pleased to partner with the Greater Chicago Food Depository again in 2019. They provide a valuable service throughout Cook County by distributing the equivalent of 159,000 meals on a daily basis to those in need. Section 8 Chicago takes food security very seriously and believes #No1ShouldGoHungry. Like many throughout Cook County, many members of this community know first-hand the challenges that come with a lack of access to healthy food and are doing their part to help their neighbors.
@JoelBiden, a Chicago Fire fan since ‘98 and former board chair, has stepped up and, in keeping with the DIY spirit of Section 8 Chicago, has put his own unique spin on supporting this fundraising effort. Rather than give a large gift near the end of the season or a small chunk from each paycheck, he’s got 5 on it. We’ll let him explain:
Section 8 Chicago’s support for the Greater Chicago Food Depository began in 2010 with our first Annual Holiday Food Drive and several in-store food collections at grocery stores around town manned by enthusiastic Fire fans. The Food Depository does great work and the Section 8 Chicago food drives have always been something that I’ve been very happy to contribute to and participate in.
I was delighted that Marty took the initiative to start the season-long #FireForFood virtual food drive last year. In an effort to support this #FireForFood campaign and keep the issue of food insecurity visible over the course of the season, I wanted to find a way to make giving a fun and repeatable activity and a novel way to encourage Fire fans to participate in a positive fan-driven initiative. Issuing an online challenge tied to every game seemed an obvious choice.
The I Got 5 On It Challenge is an easy way to donate to the #FireForFood virtual food drive and stay engaged with the performance of the Chicago Fire and celebrate goals. The challenge is simple, for each Fire goal scored, donate $5 to #FireForFood.
In the 2018 MLS Season, the Chicago Fire scored 48 goals. That resulted in a $240 donation. By breaking the donation into small frequent giving I am certain that I gave more than I would have given in one donation, since it was so budget friendly and easy to manage. The numbers tell the story, for each person who participated in the I Got 5 On It Challenge 1200 meals were provided by the good folks at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
By making this pledge in 2018 I found that in addition to the satisfaction knowing that my small and frequent donations were helping out folks experiencing food insecurity, I was tracking every goal, focusing on who scored it and how. I found myself more engaged with what the Chicago Fire were doing on the field, excited to see how many goals I would be celebrating with a donation. I came to relish a post game ritual that I came to know as Click.Give.& Chill. I’d hit play on the Luniz hip hop classic I Got 5 On It, make my donation and draft up a fun announcement to share the news on twitter.
Catchy tune, good cause and Fire goals. That’s good stuff, right? So I’m glad to do it again this year and will be sending out reminders and the #FireForFood virtual food drive link for every game. I hope Fire fans, staff, and even players can join in this Challenge, have some fun celebrating our Club’s achievements and helping our neighbors in need.
Click here to make a contribution to the Fire for Food 2019 campaign today!
Many of those involved with Section 8 Chicago and in the broader Chicago soccer community choose to express their support for the Chicago Fire by forming supporters’ clubs. These clubs are as diverse as Chicago Fire fans themselves. For many, the appeal of forming a supporters’ club is being able to gather with like-minded friends and fans as well as attracting new ones based on shared interests. We’ll be featuring a new club every month and are thrilled to kick this off with one of the newest clubs on the scene, Black Fires.
We spoke with Jake Payne, founder of Black Fires about the group, their focus, and their upcoming watch party at Reggie’s (2105 S. State Street) on February 23 for the final match of the Carolina Cup which sees the Chicago Fire take on the Charleston Battery. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. but festivities start at 6 p.m. on the Reggie’s Rooftop Deck (fear not, it’s heated!), featuring drink specials and of course, the match streamed live. There will be a raffle to benefit My Block, My Hood, My City featuring game-worn player gear and more. Black Fires will also be debuting new merch soon, including their Black Heritage Scarf shown below.
What is your club’s name? Black Fires
What is the story behind your SG’s name? We’re celebrating black culture and we like the Fire.
When was your SG founded? We really got together around September 11, 2018. That’s at least when we made our purpose statement.
What upcoming projects is your SG working on? Right now we’re focused on our Black History Month event at Reggie’s. After that, we want to have buses that go to the pitch from Southside buses.
Why did you choose to found this SG? We saw how other supporters groups celebrated their heritage, like Polish and Latinx/Hispanic [focused groups], and brought those elements into supporters’ culture. Black culture hasn’t had that same opportunity to do that so we got together to start that in Chicago. We also want other black fans to have a place to go and avoid the “only black person in the room” syndrome that we’ve felt and to give black fans the same voice that other groups have in the Fire community.
What are the specific interests or focus of the SG? We want to open things up for black fans all over Chicago, do initiatives on the South and West side, give back to black charities, and celebrate Black culture. The dream is to have our own Black Fires chant and two poles. We really want us to have the same prominence as Sector Latino and Red Line.
What are you / your SG most excited about in the upcoming season? We just want to get started growing and getting new fans into the stadium and growing the connection with existing fans.
Big thanks to Jake for taking the time to speak with us. We’re excited to see what the future holds. Stayed tuned next month for a new featured supporters’ club.
Beyond a shared love of the Chicago Fire and the beautiful game, a dedication to helping our shared communities is something that can be found running strongly in the veins of our supporters groups. Here we highlight the efforts being made by members of our Fire community to support and give back to organizations near and dear to our hearts.
Second City Social Club (SC^2) and Logan’s Squares have chosen to celebrate Pride Month with a month-long, multifaceted Prideraiser to benefit Chicago’s El Rescate, the newest benefactor of their yearlong #GivingForGoals and #SupportYourLocal initiatives.
We talked with Reuben Hussman of the Second City Social Club and Jake Peters of Logan’s Squares to get some more information and find out how the rest of our community can become involved.
First, can you give us a brief history of your organization/supporters group:
Reuben Hussman: Second City Social Club kicked off back in 2015 as a small group of like-minded Fire Supporters who had been friends for a bit from our time in the Harlem End, but one extra initiative we had in mind was broadening our support to the communities we love beyond CF97. Knowing we all had our own Hobbies, Interests and Passions meant that we could coordinate within our group greater initiatives to be involved and spread our efforts of support beyond match day.
Jake Peters: In 2014 Logan’s Squares was born of a gap in our network of supporter bars. At the time the Logan Square community area had the largest number of Chicago Fire season ticket holders, but no bar where any of those fans could get together with one another to watch the game. Myself and a few of those fans scoped out a series of bars that barely gave us the time of day until we found out fellow fan Jay Eychaner was watching games at Go Tavern (3219 W. Armitage) where we found a home with a staff & owner who are as dedicated to this community as anyone.
Tell us about your community-building initiative:
RH: SC^2 has done a lot over the years to remain involved in all sorts of community building activities, and as mentioned we have a strong focus on doing so beyond match day. This year, we decided to highlight two matches a month on average (more in June) towards our #GivingForGoals campaign. What we do is find an organization whose work we love and pledge $50/Fire goal during that designated match towards them. Beyond that, we’ve been trying to get the word spread around what that organization means to us and how others can help. This campaign has taken our fundraising efforts throughout Chicago and beyond – where some of our targeted matches are Chicago Away matches, so it’s been really great coordinating fundraising campaigns for great organizations in other MLS cities with the help of those other teams’ supporters.
JP: Having a local bar to gather has been entirely about building a community at a grassroots level. Everyone is welcome at Go (if you’re over 21) and we try to foster a space where fans can come to watch a game together even if they have a grudge against one another. Over the past 6 months, we have evolved that into efforts to raise money collectively for local causes. Credit is due to Juan Velasquez (our Silver Foxes rec soccer league captain), Dan Giroux (current ISA chairman & one of the first Squares), Nate Cubeta (current ISA Director of Marketing), & Jake Payne (current ISA Director of Communications). They have all guided this expansion in giving, identified groups, & come up with creative ways to raise these donations, whether through going to fundraisers w/ fellow fans (raising money for defending Chicagoan DACA recipients from ICE), or selling a “jersey sponsorship” for a charitable donation to The Young Center. This has culminated in the #SupportYourLocal button campaign as a way to build upon #GivingForGoals & other supporter-led initiatives, buttons have a long history in our community & this is merging that w/ local giving.