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CHA Report: Crime Rates Not Linked to CHA Relocatees

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The Chicago Housing Authority reported on November 18, 2008 that “contrary to claims made that increased violence can be tied to former CHA leaseholders.” They determined that no link between the Plan for Transformation’s demolition of high-rise public housing buildings and perceived increases in crime can be made.

Based on an analysis of Chicago Police Department data, CHA CEO Lewis A. Jordan provided a snapshot of how it tenants, and the City of Chicago, are faring since the start of their 1.6 billion housing revitalization plan, at the CHA Board of Commissioners meeting earlier in the day at the LeClaire Courts public housing complex.

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Categories: Special Reports

The Wells

by The Contributors to the Anthology 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

The Wells is a place of many different flavors
Plenty of drowning souls that could all use a savior
Like every community it has its ups and downs
A place where you’ll see many a smile turned upside down
It used to be a place that I thought was full of danger
But now that I’ve been here awhile I’ve made some friends out of strangers
There were times that the feet and fists of others tried to hurt me
It’s part of an everyday fight for survival where they show no mercy
Leases get terminated here for non compliance
And the media would have you believe that everyone here is violent
Though it’s not a tourist attraction like Wisconsin Dells
When it’s gone we will never forget the Wells
The little things like hurting my knee when I was riding my bike and fell
To when I got hit by a car and my cousin ran to tell
It may not mean much to others, but to us it’s a landmark
Things like the writing on the walls could even be viewed as art
A lot of our friends and family are gone from the Wells most of them have moved
The day is on the way that we’ll wake up and the Wells will be new and improved
When that day comes we’ll be ready for a new start
But know without a doubt, the Wells will always hold a special place in our heart

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Categories: UYIJP

Everyday Life

by Felicia Gordon 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

In everyday life, people are making and setting bad examples for the little kids. They should be teaching them to do the right thing instead of the wrong thing. Yesterday there was a march in this community about preventing drugs and violence. I think that is a good thing, but I wonder does that happen in other neighborhoods in everyday life. Nowadays it seems like so many people around here are being killed for little or no reason. Sometimes it seems like just the everyday grind is too much. On top of all of their other worries, the Wells is being torn down and they’re being told they have to move into unfamiliar neighborhoods.

Recently there was a big police raid in the Ida B. Wells extensions and they arrested a lot of the men and boys who live or hang out there. After it was all over, the city installed police cameras behind the building on Browning and on the street at Vincennes. The drug dealers have had to move from over there, and at least the little kids can come back out to play again. Things like drugs and guns are a real problem in everyday life here. What we need around this place is some unity. That would be a real plus if we could start getting together and helping one another out. Maybe then everyday life wouldn’t be so hard.
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Stereotypes

by Alphonso Parker 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

I’m from the Ida B. Wells public housing development where there are plenty of stereotypes. We are more than stereotypical, though. We are from an environment that despite its negativity, we have plenty of pride and knowledge. In general, this is a hardworking community that has much more to offer than what they outside world sees. We all aren’t gangbangers, drug users and criminals. This community is striving to move forward and past all of the obstacles in our path. We’re looking to make a change.
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A Year Later

by Jasmine Holmes 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

The Wells would be gone for good. No more late night parties in the Zone, especially no more dog fights. In less than a year the Wells won’t be the same. There’ll be cocktail parties and backyard barbeques, but you won’t hear any loud music. All we’ll have left of the Wells is t-shirts, bricks, pictures and stories. No more sitting on the Hill or on the block. No more selling nachos and candy out of your house. There will be Jazz on the Boulevard, Oakwood Shores and many more. In a blink of the eye our childhood memories and landmarks will be demolished.
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Growing Up

by Paris L. Haynes 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

My name is Paris L. Haynes. I was born July 19, 1990 at Michael Reese Hospital. My parents are Takila Lawson and Dwayne Haynes. I graduated from Wells Prep grammar school. I have lived in the Wells all of my life. Now, I’m 15 and I’m in the tenth grade. I attend Dunbar Vocational Career Academy. When I was about two or three years old, my father’s mother and father both passed in a hour fire. Now that I’m a little older, it really hit me because I didn’t get a chance to know them. From the time I was a baby up until I was eight or nine years old, my family lived on the rock block (37th Place) in the Wells. We moved from there to Vincennes and then to 38th and Rhodes. Now we live in the Ida B. Wells extensions.
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This Ain’t That

by Tashawna Ollie 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

As everyone knows, “this ain’t that” is a slang term, but it can be used in both good and bad ways. In everyday life kids in the streets use it in the bad way. They walk around hollering, “This ain’t that shawty.” Their definition of “this ain’t that” is used to show that someone is better than someone else. They use it to discriminate against one another. On the other hand, some of the young adults (teenagers) and the adults have many meanings for the phrase. One of the meanings is that it shows the differences between the Ida B. Wells and Oakwood Shores.
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Penalties

by Kirby Stanton 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

Some citizens of Chicago have had a hard time finding a way to re-enter society and be able to fee themselves and their families. Sometimes people aren’t able to come back to their homes, especially if they live in CHA apartments or Section 8 homes.

There has always been a one-strike law that was put in place to get rid of people in public housing that have records or have committed a criminal offense. A lot of people don’t agree with the one-strike law, but it’s usually the people that are involved in illegal activities. The problem with the one-strike law is when someone, especially an older person, loses their apartment because someone on their lease does something wrong. For example, in CHA buildings when someone is caught selling drugs on the premises, they will get arrested and the whole family can be evicted under the one-strike policy. It may not be fair, but that’s life.
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Me and My Hood

by Jameel Hasan 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

When the first day came that I had a chance to see the sun
My mom and dad were happy that my life had begun
When I was a shorty I used to get on my mom’s nerves
I used to like watching old folks sit on the porch and throw bread to the birds
In the summer I would leave the house as soon as I awoke
Listening to all the kids say, “It’s time to go to chokes”
At night time the Wells is what’s happening
If somebody says something wrong we about to get it cracking
Playing ball and going to parties is all I used to do
Nowadays people say that the Wells is through
Wherever we move it won’t be as good
As the days gone by and me and my hood

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Categories: UYIJP

I Ain’t…

by The Contributors to the Anthology 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

I ain’t a crackhead
I have way more respect for myself
Than to be out here getting high taking risks with my health
I don’t want to be a mental slave to any drug
Squatting in a vacant apartment on a dirty floor covered with bugs
I’ll never be walking the streets in search of coke
While I watch my future go up in smoke
I’m way too sophisticated and way too educated
To be overdosing or getting hooked
The only thing I’m overdosing on is the books
I don’t have all day to be on security
Because that shows a lack of maturity
I don’t have time to sleep standing up
I have bigger plans for when I grow up
I plan on getting the best education and not being misled
Whatever I do, I ain’t going to be no crackhead
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