It's Wednesday. On this day in 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated. Four years later, the city renamed one of our first city colleges after the Black civil rights leader.

  • In 2016, Malcolm X College was renovated and reopened on the West Side, across the street from the original.

😲 Today's weather: Very un-February. Cloudy with a high of 59.

ğŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Chicago members Steven Smith, Jerry Goldman and Julia Gray!

Situational awareness: Gov. JB Pritzker will give his yearly budget address today at noon to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly.

Today's newsletter is 910 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Sox pitch Springfield on stadium

A rendering of what a new stadium could look like at "The 78" in the South Loop. Rendering courtesy of Related Midwest

White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf yesterday pitched his plan to build a stadium district in the South Loop to Springfield legislative leaders, with one big request: $1 billion in public funding.

Why it matters: A new stadium could bring a huge economic boost to the city and state — or become a massive economic albatross around taxpayers' necks.

Context: The White Sox and developer Related Midwest released renderings this month of a potential stadium complex on "The 78" megadevelopment site, including mixed-use housing, retail and parking.

  • Gov. JB Pritzker has signaled he wouldn't use taxpayer dollars to finance a new stadium, but he's also said he's open to hearing any plans.

By the numbers: To free up capital to build the stadium, Reinsdorf and Related Midwest reportedly want to use revenue from the 2% hotel occupancy tax and extend bonds through the Illinois Sports Financial Authority (ISFA) for 30 years.

  • The White Sox would also ask the state to fund a special taxing district.
  • The developer would look to include private investment for the retail and housing planned for "The 78."

Reality check: The state is still paying off the original 1991 deal for Guaranteed Rate field.

Yes, but: The Sox reportedly are willing to pay down the ISFA's longstanding bond debt for Guaranteed Rate and cover Soldier Field's debt from the renovation in 2003. The idea is to replace the existing debt with the new debt.

The intrigue: The state has only enough borrowing power to fund one new stadium, which both the Sox and the Bears want.

  • According to Crain's, the two teams are not working together and instead are feverishly competing in Springfield.
  • The city has yet to comment on the pending plans, and it's unclear whether officials would also kick in funds for the project.

Between the lines: It isn't ideal for either team to build a new city stadium.

  • Questions of parking have dogged the Sox proposal (the new plan calls for only 4,000 underground spots), and the Bears have signaled they want to build on the lakefront, which parks advocacy groups oppose.

What we're watching

2. 🙏 Marky Mark and the Chicago prayer app

Photo courtesy of Hallow.

Super Bowl commercials were scattered with faith-based messages this year, including one from a Christian prayer app started in Chicago.

The big picture: Hallow soared to the top of the Apple App Store this month after a prime-time commercial starring Boston-bred actor, vocal Catholic (and former bad boy) Mark Wahlberg, who invested in the Chicago-based startup.

What they're saying: Alex Jones says he started the app in 2018 as a way to reconnect to his faith and make daily prayer and reflection a part of his daily routine.

  • The app now has 17 million downloads and more than 400 million prayers completed, a spokesperson tells Axios.

How it works: The app features a variety of voices, from celebrities like Wahlberg to clergy and lay people, to guide users through the rosary, Biblical readings, sermons and even music.

  • There's a free version, but the more robust membership is $69.99 annually.

Between the lines: Jones says Jesus is "a core part of everything that we do." But he hopes Hallow can also be "a resource for people who are just interested in exploring spirituality and learning how to balance and grow deeper."

More details

3. Tips and hot links: Ryan Field tear down begins

Photo courtesy of Blair Kamin

🚧 The demolition of Northwestern University's Ryan Field began yesterday to make way for a new stadium for football games and concerts. (Tribune)

🚨 The Board of Education is planning to pull police officers from Chicago Public Schools this fall. (Sun-Times)

⚖️ After a similar suit by the State of California last year, Chicago is suing five of the world's largest gas and oil companies claiming decades of deception over the effects of their products. (WBEZ)

🏈 The Bears reportedly hired Commanders' assistant running backs coach Jennifer King. She will be the first female coach in team history. (CHGO)

4. Final week to see Faith Ringgold at MCA

Faith Ringgold's 1997 work (left) "TheFlag is Bleeding #2: The American Collection #6" and her 2023 painting " Black Light Series #7: Ego Painting." Images courtesy of MCA.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is hosting the city's first comprehensive exhibit of artist, activist and educator Faith Ringgold's work through Sunday.

The big picture: Ringgold is known for using different art forms, including story quilts, to document the African and Black experience in the U.S., but the MCA exhibit also displays her paintings, textile work and sculptures about the civil and women's rights movements.

Details: "Faith Ringgold: American People" showcases Ringgold's bold paintings depicting her community growing up in Harlem, alongside arresting images like a blood-splattered depiction of a violent scene during the civil rights era.

  • In a 1969 painting, Ringgold distorts the American flag by superimposing the n-word over the flag to protest what she saw as America's misguided priorities.

What they're saying: The exhibition "is an overdue examination of an iconic artist whose work has been underseen in Chicago," Manilow senior curator Jamillah James said in a statement.

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Stay booked and busy

📅 Upcoming events around the city.

  • The Reclamation of Madison Hemings at American Blues Theater now through March 24: Nonprofit, award-winning American Blues Theater presents the Chicago premiere of "The Reclamation of Madison Hemings" The play was inspired from the first-person narrative of Madison Hemings, the son of President Thomas Jefferson and his enslaved mother Sally Hemings.
  • Chicago IndieCon at Vittum Theater on Feb. 24: An exclusive gathering that is tailor-made for passionate individuals in the indie film industry to converge, share their upcoming projects, and forge new connections with talented actors and actresses. $12.
  • Chicago Bulls Club Red with Foggieraw at United Center on Feb.ruary 28: Get a Bulls vs. Cavaliers ticket and enjoy an exclusive postgame concert with rapper Foggieraw through Club Red by American Express.

Hosting an event? Email [email protected].

5. World squash champs swing into Chicago

Youssef Ibrahim of Egypt (left) and Paul Coll of New Zealand compete for the 2022 Windy City Open title in Cathedral Hall. Photo: Courtesy of the Professional Squash Association.

The world's top squash athletes are gathering in Chicago this week for the Windy City Open, celebrating its 40th anniversary.

The big picture: The Open and the squash World Championship — held here in even and odd years respectively — have turned our city into a mecca for the sport.

Why it matters: The Open offers a rare opportunity for Chicagoans to inexpensively watch world-class athletes compete up close — inside the University Club's ornate Cathedral Hall.

By the numbers: Chicago's Walter family (led by Mark and Kimbra Walter) funds a $500,000 purse for the Open and a $1 million prize for the World Championship.

  • Over the next eight days, 96 athletes will play dozens of matches culminating in the men's and women's finals on Feb. 28.

If you go: Tickets start at $20.

More details

squash court in cathedral
The glass court in Cathedral Hall at the University Club. Photo: Courtesy of the Professional Squash Association

Edited by Alexa Mencia and copy edited by Rob Reinalda and Yasmeen Altaji.

ğŸŽ‚ Carrie is wishing her bestie of, gulp, 30 years a very happy birthday!

🏊‍♀️ Monica is very tempted to jump in the lake during this balmy week.

ğŸŽ§ Justin has found a new '80s playlist to serve as a soundtrack for writing this newsletter. It's a heavy dose of Anita Baker, Michael McDonald and Patti LaBelle. He feels like he's back in his grandma's Buick listening to soft rock. He keeps playing this one on repeat.

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