On the heels of Chicago’s historic mayoral inauguration of the first African-American female mayor, Lori Lightfoot, Chicago makes history twice in one week, with the launch of the “Roux,” a gas station and convenience store with a purpose. The Roux will be located on the border of West Englewood and Chicago Lawn, communities where some students have hit the glass ceiling in elementary school at the age of 15, going on to high school without the ability to read. Roux will not only offer gas but will offer scholarships, resources and serve the community as a pipeline to literacy. Books will be available in the Roux for purchase and through donations.
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley declared “Roopster Roux Day” in Chicago on September 28, 1998. Roopster Roux’s motto is, “Reading can be as much fun as a slam dunk, a touchdown, or a home run!” More than 30 cities have proclaimed Roopster Roux Day to promote reading and literacy since 2008. Lavaille Lavette, creator, and publisher of the Roopster Roux book series is an educator and former public school administrator. Lavette stated that “We are very pleased that Chicago in the 17th ward, is the first site in the nation for the Roopster Roux motto.”
Lavette explained that the Roopster Roux and Roux gas station/convenience store collective is partnering with Chicago Public Schools, faith-based organizations and community organizations to expand youth reading opportunities. Through youth reading competitions and corporate sponsored incentives, NFL and NBA athletes, schools with the most books read can receive a party with a celebrity athlete. “It’s not just about reading comprehension, we need youth writing fluently and will incentivize written story summaries, continue to complement Roopster Roux programs with essay competitions, stories, and books, to discover the next generation of authors,” stated Lavette.
Roux Convenience Stores will feature unique community outreach programs:
- The Roux All-Star Reading Team Literacy Club;
- Neighborhood School and University Events;
- Contest and promotions centered around literacy and parental involvement;
- Roux Character Reading and sports activities;
- Unique store product mix including, a Roux Unique Finds Section;
- Roux Character Appearances;
- Partnerships with professional athletes and celebrities.
Alderman David Moore (17th Ward – Chicago) said he is making sure to engage the community so that children have access and learn about literacy. Moore stated, “it’s not just a regular gas station, it’s a community space to make sure that we bring businesses with a purpose to our community.” Alderman Moore introduced a community partner at the groundbreaking ceremony. Rami Nashashibi, is the Executive Director; Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN).
“Our families and communities should get the type of rights and access to a dignified lifestyle as any resident in the city of Chicago. IMAN is a partner with anyone that is ready to do right by the community and counter the decades of disinvestment in our community. It’s important that leadership in businesses like Roux reflect the communities in which they are serving. We are grateful that these developers are committed to principles and serve the holistic needs of our broader community,” stated Nashashibi.
Gerard Moorer, Deputy District Director (7th Congressional District – Congressman Danny K. Davis), stated that “Mohammed Abdalah, is a member of the Congressman’s Multi-Ethnic Task Force (MEATF). We are thankful that Dr. Vijay Prabhakar, founder of Congressman Danny K. Davis’ MEATF and Mr. Abdalah came together to create this model with Lavaille Lavette.” Moorer thanked Alderman Moore for bringing this concept into his ward. “We look forward to bringing this model to the west side of Chicago,” Moorer added.