Anybody who’s been paying attention, will notice there’s one familiar sign that is now prevalent wherever one goes. That is the “help wanted” sign. I’m seeing it in every business I enter. “We’re hiring” is the theme. “We want you” is their call. And we’re not talking about minimum-wage positions. Many of the businesses are offering at least $15 an hour or more. Even restaurants are begging for help. 

For years the constant commentary out of the Black community has been the need for jobs — especially jobs for our young people. Yet I wonder how many of them are putting in employment applications for all the fast food and retail stores that need workers? And for those workers who have backgrounds that in the past have been a hindrance to employment, perhaps now is the time to go in and speak with the hiring department and impress them so your past does not hinder your future.

In a lot of states, the governor has ended the extra money that the unemployed were getting, saying they want to force people back to work. I don’t know if that’s going to be on the agenda for us here in Illinois, but why not try to get a good job while the market is open for employment? I understand people’s fears about COVID-19, but based on the number of people I see out and about, we are slowly getting back to normal.

Here’s another sign of the times I am seeing: I went to Home Depot in the 1900 block of North Cicero Ave., and once I parked, I noticed the store looked different. That’s because the entire front set of window panes had been hidden behind plywood. Boarded up for another possible riot? I know the Chicago Police Department is putting their officers back on 12-hour days in anticipation of the Puerto Rican Parade, Father’s Day, Juneteenth and the 4th of July.

Although I can sympathize with Home Depot’s decision, it is a sad reflection on the state of people’s behavior that a business is already boarding up in advance of possible civil unrest. Then again, we do have a certain segment of folks who are always looking for any excuse to cause a controversy. 

We need a massive coming together by leadership from the political, religious and activist communities, calling on people to be mindful of their behavior. Many businesses have struggled to recover from the riots of last year, and another would be devastating.