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Ladydrawers: The Gresham Experiment, Part 1

Tuesday, February 09, 2016 By Anne Elizabeth Moore and Sheika Lugtu, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
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"The Gresham Experiment, Part I" is the penultimate strip in Ladydrawers' "Growing Season" series investigating food policy, race and public health in comics form. It's a story that hits close to home for Anne Elizabeth Moore, who lives just a mile or so south of the Auburn Gresham neighborhood in Chicago. Sheika Lugtu doesn't live too far away either, so together we took an in-depth look at food options in Gresham, described as one of Chicago's many "food deserts" due to the scarcity of grocery stores. It's also considered one of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods - and these two descriptions are not unrelated.

As comics journalists, our reporting process involved meandering the long blocks between Gresham's food outlets, play areas and schools, and sketching what we encountered around us - including not only the understocked meat counters of the local food market but also the sites of gang violence.

The ethics of comics journalism are complex, particularly when addressing issues of structural violence and failed city food policies. Gresham residents face a daily lack of nutritional resources and local, acute violence - but how to picture it? And how to picture it fairly? (One of the few grocery stores accessible from Gresham is the one Moore shops at every week, so we can't pretend that these issues are in any way remote from the reporters' daily concerns.)

This first strip in our series of two presents issues of food access in Gresham. The next strip, the final in our "Growing Season" series, will uproot the links between food policies and street violence. As always, you can read all four seasons of Ladydrawers' strips here, or catch up on our most recent strip with Laura Ķeniņš, "What's in a Name?" - on the mysterious illness affecting workers of color in a hog-processing plant - here. Sheika Lugtu's last strip for us looked at how the most popular drug in the world, Humira, is afflicting people with a disease, lupus, which disproportionately harms women of color.

Click to open full-size in a new window. Ladydrawers: The Gresham Experiment

Footnotes

1. "Examining the Impact of Food Deserts on Public Health in Chicago," Mari Gallagher Research and Consulting Group (July 18, 2006), 6. (accessed December 29, 2015).

2. Ibid, 17.

3. "Mayor Emanuel Announces Release of Food Desert Data and New Interactive Efforts to Combat Food Deserts in Chicago," Mayor's Press Office (August 27, 2013). (accessed December 29, 2015).

4. "Examining the Impact," 20.

5. Ibid, 26.

6. "Are You an Auburn Gresham Parent?" Auburn Gresham Portal (September 14, 2015). (accessed December 31, 2015).

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Sheika Lugtu

Sheika Lugtu is a Chicago-based cartoonist and instructor. She has published over 20 titles, including her autobiographical comic-diary OMGcow.

Anne Elizabeth Moore

Anne Elizabeth Moore is a cultural critic and author of several award-winning, best-selling nonfiction books including Unmarketable (The New Press) and Cambodian Grrrl (Cantankerous Titles). She is a Fulbright scholar, a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, and is the recipient of a 2016 Write A House Fellowship in Detroit. Her work has appeared in The Baffler, Al Jazeera, Salon, The Onion, Talking Points Memo, Wilson Quarterly, Tin House, and in international art exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial and a solo show at the MCA Chicago. She has appeared on CNN, NPR, Voice of America, and in The New York Times, among others. Her most recent book, from Curbside Splendor, is Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes.

Related Stories

Ladydrawers: Food and Freedom
By Sarah Becan, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
Ladydrawers: ... Like Lupus
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Ladydrawers: Hog Brains and a Mysterious Illness Linked to Bacon Processing
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Ladydrawers: The Gresham Experiment, Part 1

Tuesday, February 09, 2016 By Anne Elizabeth Moore and Sheika Lugtu, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

"The Gresham Experiment, Part I" is the penultimate strip in Ladydrawers' "Growing Season" series investigating food policy, race and public health in comics form. It's a story that hits close to home for Anne Elizabeth Moore, who lives just a mile or so south of the Auburn Gresham neighborhood in Chicago. Sheika Lugtu doesn't live too far away either, so together we took an in-depth look at food options in Gresham, described as one of Chicago's many "food deserts" due to the scarcity of grocery stores. It's also considered one of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods - and these two descriptions are not unrelated.

As comics journalists, our reporting process involved meandering the long blocks between Gresham's food outlets, play areas and schools, and sketching what we encountered around us - including not only the understocked meat counters of the local food market but also the sites of gang violence.

The ethics of comics journalism are complex, particularly when addressing issues of structural violence and failed city food policies. Gresham residents face a daily lack of nutritional resources and local, acute violence - but how to picture it? And how to picture it fairly? (One of the few grocery stores accessible from Gresham is the one Moore shops at every week, so we can't pretend that these issues are in any way remote from the reporters' daily concerns.)

This first strip in our series of two presents issues of food access in Gresham. The next strip, the final in our "Growing Season" series, will uproot the links between food policies and street violence. As always, you can read all four seasons of Ladydrawers' strips here, or catch up on our most recent strip with Laura Ķeniņš, "What's in a Name?" - on the mysterious illness affecting workers of color in a hog-processing plant - here. Sheika Lugtu's last strip for us looked at how the most popular drug in the world, Humira, is afflicting people with a disease, lupus, which disproportionately harms women of color.

Click to open full-size in a new window. Ladydrawers: The Gresham Experiment

Footnotes

1. "Examining the Impact of Food Deserts on Public Health in Chicago," Mari Gallagher Research and Consulting Group (July 18, 2006), 6. (accessed December 29, 2015).

2. Ibid, 17.

3. "Mayor Emanuel Announces Release of Food Desert Data and New Interactive Efforts to Combat Food Deserts in Chicago," Mayor's Press Office (August 27, 2013). (accessed December 29, 2015).

4. "Examining the Impact," 20.

5. Ibid, 26.

6. "Are You an Auburn Gresham Parent?" Auburn Gresham Portal (September 14, 2015). (accessed December 31, 2015).

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Sheika Lugtu

Sheika Lugtu is a Chicago-based cartoonist and instructor. She has published over 20 titles, including her autobiographical comic-diary OMGcow.

Anne Elizabeth Moore

Anne Elizabeth Moore is a cultural critic and author of several award-winning, best-selling nonfiction books including Unmarketable (The New Press) and Cambodian Grrrl (Cantankerous Titles). She is a Fulbright scholar, a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, and is the recipient of a 2016 Write A House Fellowship in Detroit. Her work has appeared in The Baffler, Al Jazeera, Salon, The Onion, Talking Points Memo, Wilson Quarterly, Tin House, and in international art exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial and a solo show at the MCA Chicago. She has appeared on CNN, NPR, Voice of America, and in The New York Times, among others. Her most recent book, from Curbside Splendor, is Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes.

Related Stories

Ladydrawers: Food and Freedom
By Sarah Becan, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
Ladydrawers: ... Like Lupus
By Sheika Lugtu, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
Ladydrawers: Hog Brains and a Mysterious Illness Linked to Bacon Processing
By Laura Ķeniņš, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Truthout | Graphic Journalism