Analysis: Chicago Cubs’ Jason Heyward Most Popular Amongst Google Searches, Creativity Sparks ‘The Love Fridge’ in Chicago Neighborhoods

By Jaylene Rodriguez

Chicago Cubs’ right fielder Jason Heyward electively sat out the Cubs v. Detroit game on August 26th following protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake. Meanwhile, food insecurity in Chicago neighborhoods due to COVID-19 is eased by the creation of a community fridge called ‘The Love Fridge’.

Jason Heyward Dominates Google Searches Amongst MLB Black Lives Matter Protests

August 26th was a historic day for sports in terms of political action. Following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, many sports teams felt they could use their platforms to protest police brutality and racial injustices.

The NBA decided to cancel all three of their post-season games that Wednesday night, the NWBA quickly followed and also canceled their scheduled games. Major League Soccer postponed five of their six matches that same night.

MLB teams participated in protesting as well, canceling games including the Milwaukee Brewers v. Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners v. San Diego Padres, and Los Angeles Dodgers v. San Francisco Giants. Although not all MLB games were canceled, individual players including the Chicago Cubs’ Jason Heyward, Colorado Rockies’ Matt Kemp, and two players of the St. Louis Cardinals, Dexter Fowler, and Jack Flaherty respectively decided to opt-out of playing.

According to an analysis of Google search data, Jason Heyward was the most googled MLB player in comparison to other notable players who also opted out of playing that Wednesday night.

Heyward has been vocal about his stance on the Black Lives Matter movement saying, “We’ve just got to keep bringing awareness,” he said. “There’s no plan for this. This is our life. This is our livelihood. This is what’s going on in our community. So I feel like I needed to be a part of it, or else I’m going back on my word.”

Food Insecurity In Chicago Due to COVID-19 Gives Rise to ‘The Love Fridge’

The Love Fridge is a collective that’s core mission is keeping communities fed. They strive to nourish communities while also combating food scarcity and food waste. They believe that being able to feed yourself is not a privilege, but a right.

This group collaborates with like-minded partners and volunteers from all over Chicago to place community refrigerators throughout disproportionately affected neighborhoods. More recently, installations can be found in neighborhoods such as Little Village, Pilsen, and Bridgeport.

The community fridge is painted by local artists to reflect the communities in which they reside. Multi-colored and covered in the phrases “free food’’, “comida gratis”, and “the Love Fridge”, members of the community are free to come and take what they please. They can also donate what they don’t need, the motto is “take what you need, leave what you can”.

The pandemic has only highlighted food inequalities in the city of Chicago, the Love Fridge not only provides struggling neighborhoods with food but with healthy, organic food. Currently, they are working with local community gardens, farms, and organizations that are willing to donate fresh fruits and vegetables.

According to an analysis of Google search data, ‘The Love Fridge’ has been searched increasingly more in comparison to ‘community fridge’, proving its rising popularity. Creators of the Love Fridge acknowledge that the collective was originally created to serve immediate food scarcity in Chicago due to the pandemic. However, the organization says they hope the idea of community refrigerators remains a trend for years to come.

Third year Communications major/Urban Studies minor at UIC

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