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Englewood Speaks: I Remember When...

Englewood Speak is a series of storytelling event that captures and preserves the voices of the current residents of Englewood. 


Basketball has always been a passion for Keila Beachem, but she had no idea just how far it would take her.

As a young woman growing up on the south side of Chicago Keila and her family faced some challenges. Fortunately, her mother recognized Keila’s talent for playing basketball and made a decision that would change her life forever.

ComEd's Keila Beachem is a former professional basketball player.

ComEd’s Keila Beachem is a former professional basketball player.

With the hope of creating a better life for her daughter, Keila’s mother sent her to live with her godmother Cynthia Cooper-Dyke in Sugar Land, Texas. Her godmother had been a professional basketball player for the Houston Comets when the team won the Women’s National Basketball Association’s first four titles. She’s also an Olympic gold medalist.

“Moving to Texas broadened my horizon and showed me a different world,” Keila says. “Going from living in a two-bedroom apartment with my mother and two siblings to living in a huge mansion with my godmother was an incredible experience. It provided me with a higher education and exposed me to a diverse environment at a young age. This was the best thing that could have happened to me!”

After graduating from high school in Texas, Keila was recruited by the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., and later transferred to California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif. It was there that she caught the eye of a recruiter from the National Women’s Basketball League (NWBL) team the Chicago Blaze.

Keila, then 22 years old, returned to Chicago to play for the Blaze in 2004. It was her first time back in Chicago since leaving at 16 years old.

“I remember being a water girl for the Houston Comets at 16 years old. I never thought six years later I would be competing against some of the most prolific players in the WNBA during my time in the NWBL,” she says.

This was the first time Keila’s family had the opportunity to see her play outside of high school. Now that Keila was back in Chicago, her family finally had the chance to see who and what she had become.

“My mother encouraged me to never settle for a job and to always pursue a career,” Keila says. “My mother’s goal was to make the best decisions for her children, and I know that seeing me play for the Chicago Blaze gave my mother the security to know that she had made the right decision by sending me to Texas.”

The Blaze folded in 2005, and that year Keila went to play for the WNBA team the New York Liberty. Due to the team’s budget restraints, she was unable to play the entire season.

Determined to succeed, Keila continued to polish her skills and was picked up by the Greek Women’s National Basketball League in late 2005. She would later play for several European teams in Poland, Spain, Turkey, and Romania.

Although Keila enjoyed a successful professional basketball career, it was not enough. She wanted more in life.

“I felt like I was limiting myself to basketball and decided that I wanted to use my education,” Keila says. “I’ve always had an interest in math and engineering and I knew that working for ComEd would be a great opportunity to explore those interests.”

In 2012, Keila joined ComEd as a customer service supervisor. She was promoted in 2014 to her current position as a construction supervisor with ComEd’s Chicago North Electric Operations.

Keila says she plans to start a non-for-profit organization to mentor young girls interested in pursuing careers in basketball. For now, she’s focusing on developing her career at ComEd and studying to complete a bachelor’s degree in business management at Loyola University in Chicago.


If you are looking to get into the holiday spirit this year, grab your coat and head out to one of the many holiday light attractions in your area.

For more than a decade, ComEd has been partnering with local organizations to provide discounts on area holiday light attractions through the end of the year. Visit for holiday season deals.

Visit the ComEd website for holiday season deals.

Visit the ComEd website for holiday season deals.

Brighten up your holiday season by checking out the following events:

Illumination at the Morton Arboretum:  ComEd is a presenting sponsor of Illumination, an outdoor display of interactive LED lights. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from Nov. 17 to Jan. 1, visitors can redeem a buy-one, get one ticket offer by entering the promo code COMED2017 when ordering online. Learn more at

Wonderland Express at Chicago Botanic Garden: Check out the Wonderland Express presented by ComEd, with 750,000 lights illuminating the entrance of this exhibition that features model trains and Chicago landmarks in miniature. Redeem this buy-one, get-one-free admission voucher at the Visitor Center Information Desk from Nov. 24 through Jan. 7. Learn more at

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo: Visit the animals and check out the lights at this free annual family-oriented celebration. Visit ComEd’s Energy Force Ambassadors at the zoo for fun giveaways Friday evenings from Nov. 24 to Jan. 5. Learn more at

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo: Enjoy more than one million LED lights while you visit the animals at the Brookfield Zoo on  Saturdays  and Sundays Dec. 2 to Dec. 17 as well as the week of Dec. 26 through Dec. 30. Redeem this buy-one, get-one-free admission voucher at the entry gates. Learn more at

Home for the Holidays at Rialto Square Theatre, Joliet:  Check out this month-long celebration of the season with holiday shows, concerts, social gatherings, Santa Claus, movies and special events from Nov. 13 through Dec. 16. Learn more at

Rockford’s River Lights and Stroll on State: ComEd sponsors Rockford River Lights, one of many attractions at the free Stroll on State. River Lights illuminates the riverbanks from Nov. 25 through Dec. 31 with free light shows every 15 minutes on Friday and Saturday nights between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Stroll on State takes place Nov. 25, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Learn more at

Festival of Lights, Aurora: ComEd sponsors one of the largest free outdoor drive-through holiday light displays in Northern Illinois. Enjoy the twinkling lights during the one-mile nighttime drive through Phillips Park from Nov. 24 through Dec. 26. Learn more at

You can light up somebody’s holidays by purchasing ComEd gift certificates that can be used towards any ComEd utility bill. Congregations and charities can also purchase gift certificates in bulk to help those who are in need of assistance. The gift certificates do not expire and are available in amounts of $10, $25, $50 and $100. Visit the “Helping Others” page on the ComEd website for more information.

November Englewood Village Meeting – RECAP

R.A.G.E. hosted its last Englewood Village Meeting of 2017 at Johnson College Prep, 6350 S. Stewart, on Tuesday, November 21st.

Kennedy-King College Spring 2018 Registration

Kennedy-King College Spring 2018 Registeration Service Hours

ACCESS teams with the University of Chicago's Ci3 and Resilient Games Studio to design an app to address back-to-back pregnancies in Englewood

The University of Chicago’s Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation (Ci3), Access Community Health Network and Resilient Games Studio have teamed up to develop an app that aims to lengthen inter-pregnancy intervals in teens and young women. A grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow the three entities to help teens reduce back-to-back pregnancies. Phase 1 of this digital app will be used in the Englewood area. 

Re-Imagine Englewood Housing Trolley Tour and Expo

Join the Re-Imagine Englewood Housing Trolley Tour and Expo on Dec 2, 2017 at The PEACE Center located at 6455 S. Peoria Chicago, IL 60621.8:30am -12pm. 

Advocate Trinity Hospital to Host a Nov. 30 Open House

Hospital invites the public to tour $10 million facility improvements, meet hospital leaders, sign up for community classes

ComEd Offers Tips to Help Keep Your Holidays Bright

Helpful Information on How ComEd Customers Can Save Energy, Stay Safe and Shop Wisely

Re-Imagine Englewood Housing Trolley Tour and Expo

Invest in the Englewood Community! 

Warning: Your foot pain may turn deadly

Learn how ignoring aches in your trotters could put you at risk for major health complications.

CICS-Ralph Ellison Attention Prospective Students

CICS-Ralph Ellison Campus is a college preparatory high school making a difference in the lives of many students in the Auburn-Gresham community of Chicago. We challege our entire community to "Be Visible" and partner with us to make a difference in this world.

Please visit us @http://www., facebook cicsellison, twitter @ellisonlions,

Lead Poison Prevention Holiday Food Demo

IEi's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in collaboration with Phoenix Diverse Holistic Collaborative (PDH) presents a FREE Holiday Food Demonstration on Friday, December 8, 2017 from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm, 730 W. 69th Street. SEATING IS LIMITED Please RSVP at 773-488-6704.

Lead Poison Prevention Holiday Food Demo

IEi's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in collaboration with Phoenix Diverse Holistic Collaborative (PDH) presents a FREE Holiday Food Demonstration on Friday, December 8, 2017 from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm, 730 W. 69th Street. SEATING IS LIMITED Please RSVP at 773-488-6704.

Englewood Quality of Life Plan II Celebrates Its One Year Anniversary

The Englewood Quality of Life Plan turns one! Join us at our final quarterly meeting of 2017. Click here to RSVP. 


ComEd is calling all 5th graders to enter the ComEd KidVid Contest by Nov. 10. Each winning student filmmaker will receive a $50 gift card, a group Power Up VIP Party at their school and also each winning school will receive $2,500. Please share on your media sites so that the schools in your community can be on the lookout for it.

Englewood Village Meeting – Tuesday, November 21st!!

Resident Association of Greater Englewood will have its last bi-monthly Village Meeeting of 2017 on Nonvember 21. 

Englewood Women's Initiative Appeals to Englewood Women Veterans

EWI Englewood Women Veterans Event Invitation.

Englewood Art Fair Returns For Its 2nd Year

The wonderfully successful Englewood Art Fair returns for its second year on Saturday, October 28, from 1pm to 5pm at Hamilton Park Cultural Center located 513 W. 72nd Street.

CICS-Ralph Ellison Open House

Open House 

CICS Ralph Ellison High School

1817 W. 80th Street

Chicago, IL  60620

"And The Church Said..."

The Salvation Army Presents "And The Church Said..." Exploring the Significant Role, Responsibility, and Response of the Faith-Based Community as it relates to Domestic Violence. Tuesday, October 24, 2017, - 9:30 am to 12:00 noon, at The Salvation Army Red Shield Center, 945 W. 69th Street (69th and Morgan). This is a FREE event - ICDVP & Social Workers ($20 for 2 CEU's) - Light Refreshments. RESERVATIONS REQUIRED - LIMITED SEATING - NO WALK-INS. Reservation deadline is Friday, October 20th - Call Billie (773) 382-4606

Calling All Vegan Dessert Lovers!

Calling All Vegan Dessert Lovers! Imagine Englewood If's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in collaboration with ChickPeas, will provide a vegan dessert tasting focused group whereby participants will sample & rate various food from our menu. Join us at Imagine Englewood If, 730 W. 69th St. (69th & Emerald), Friday, October 27, 2017, at 4:30 pm

Church Program Preps Community for USDOL Apprenticeship Program

Are you ready to join St. Paul Community Development Ministries, Inc. (SPCDM) classes that prepare individuals in historically underrepresented and hard to serve populations for entry into the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) Registered Apprenticeship Programs?  This adult population includes minorities, women, and Veterans.

Good Kids MADD City

Pencil drawing 

A Chicago Millennial Wins Best Actress in Brooklyn Web Fest for Low Strung

Chicago, IL - October 12, 2017 - After a great success of the Chicago based Brown Girls web series, another award-winning web series from Chicago is about to blow your mind - Low Strung. This comedy about an audacious pair of friends, Victoria Lee and Shervin Bain, explores their chaotic endeavors through a surreal lens in Chicago. Fresh, satirical, and often perplexing, Low Strung gives viewers a chance to vicariously experience sex, drugs, and montages.

Low Strung was nominated in four categories (before it officially premiered anywhere else) at the 2017 Brooklyn Web Fest - Best Actress (Victoria Lee), Emerging Voices, Outstanding Premiere, and the DaF Award (for diversity). Victoria Lee won in the category for Best Actress.

There are some notable appearances in the first four episodes from Kapron Lewis, from the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago drag queen, Lucy Stoole, who recently made an appearance on Jimmy Fallon performing with Charlie XCX. The series also features music from local musicians, such as ShowYouSuck, Lex Allen, Klassik, Air Credits, Celine Neon, Rahn Harper, Chason, The Rapper Chicks and Lili K. The series is directed by Addison Wright and Lili K, with music supervision by Lili K.

The first four episodes will officially premiere on October 21, 2017 at AMFM Gallery at 7pm. The event is free and open to the public. Local personality Ashley Tribble of PPower Radio will be emceeing the event and also hosting a panel after the show.

To learn more about Low Strung, you can follow the show on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Official trailer:  

About Victoria Lee

Scriptwriter, actress and cellist Victoria Lee is a Milwaukee native securing her place in Chicago’s vibrant community of artists. She co-writes, produces and stars in her web series, Low Strung. A classically trained cellist, Victoria performs with the Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and has recorded with a number of notable Chicago artists including Chance The Rapper.

About Lili K

Originally known for her stand-out guest features for Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa, Lili K established herself as a knockout solo star with the April 2015 release of her self-produced, full-length debut album RUBY. She’s done numerous TV appearances on ABC and FOX, has performed at major festivals including Made In America, North Coast Music Festival, and Pitchfork, and has garnered glowing praise from VIBE, Huffington Post, EW, Consequence of Sound, and many more top-tier music tastemakers. Jay Z’s entertainment streaming service Tidal dubbed Lili as their very first “Tidal Rising” artist, and the Chicago Reader named her “Best Jazz Musician” in 2015. In 2017, Lili landed a recurring role as a background vocalist on Season 3 of Fox's hit show Empire.


About Shervin Bain

After living and working in Miami, Manchester and New York City, Shervin Bain has truly found himself within the creative circle of Chicago. He gained experience in acting after studying at Chicago’s famous Second City, and went on to write Low Strung with Victoria Lee. Actor, writer and staple of Chicago's vibrant LGBTQ community, Shervin has just begun to tell his story.

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