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The Garden

by Tyreshia Black Youth Reporter

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood:

Most people don’t know you can grow gourmet vegetables right here in Chicago, where we have some of the world’s most fertile soil. But because of contamination with lead and other toxins in the soil, we should use raised beds for our urban gardening. That’s what I and other student members of Imagine Englewood If learned in our visit with polyculturalist Seneca Kern.

We visited Kern at Kilbourn Organic Garden in Logan Square, and the meeting had extra importance since Kern and the group Growing Home are in the process of starting an organic garden in Englewood.

I learned and experienced so many things I didn’t know about before, including things that will come in handy gardening. I learned that Illinois has very fertile soil, even though we usually don’t realize it because we are so busy throwing trash in parks and in landfills. Usually we just buy our food and throw it in the trash when we’re done, without even thinking about planting a garden and composting our food waste.

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The Transformation of Jason Moy

by Vanessa Gonzalez Youth Reporter

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program:

Jason Moya had the same expectations that all teens have for themselves: to look better, feel better and be popular.

“In freshman year, I was going through a teen life crisis,” said high school student Jason Moya, 16.

The physical transformation between his freshman year and today is astonishing, the result of an emotional battle that nearly consumed him. Being the youngest child of four brothers and sisters has always pushed Jason to stand out and be noticed. While glancing at his old ID picture from middle school, it’s astonishing to even compare the physical differences. He used to be overweight, with glasses, blemishes and a bad haircut, faking a smile that showcases everything but happiness.

“Back in freshman year, Jason used to have a fade,” said Slendy Bahena, a freshman classmate of Moya. “He used to act ghetto, until he started dating an emo girl and decided to change. After he broke up with her, he stuck with his new punk rocker look. His personality didn’t change though. I guess his transformation was an accident.”

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Boxing Keeps Dad’s Memory Alive

by Lesly Chavez Youth Reporter

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program:

Karla Roldan wants to keep her father’s memory alive, so she boxes.

Karla is an 18-year-old senior at Prosser Career Academy. She is known as a varsity soccer player, born in Cuba, whose mother is Mexican and whose father was Dominican and Cuban. Her father was a pro boxer, which was exciting for her when she was growing up. Then she reached seventh grade and her father entered depression. He had to retire from boxing. Slowly, he became addicted to medication and then he accidentally overdosed.

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New Mayor Emanuel’s Road Map for Chicago’s Future

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Publisher’s Note: Regular readers might have noticed a change in the by-line of our Editor-in-Chief, who was formerly known as Mary C. Johns. Mary got married last month and changed her name to her new husband’s family name. On behalf of the board and staff of We The People Media/Residents’ Journal, congratulations Mary!

Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel being sworn into office by the Honorable Timothy Evans, chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County as his wife and children looks on, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, on May 16, 2011. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte

“Today, more than any other time in our history, more than any other place in our country, the city of Chicago is ready for change,” said new Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at his inaugural ceremony before a massive crowd at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park today.

“For all the parents who deserve a school system that expects every student to earn a diploma; for all the neighbors who deserve to walk home on safer streets; for all the taxpayers who deserve a city government that is more effective and costs less; and for all the people in the hardest-working city in America who deserve a strong economy so they can find jobs or create jobs – this is your day.”

Emanuel said he was dispensing with “old ways and old divisions…New times demand new answers; old problems cry out for better results…I am proud to lead a city united in common purpose and driven by a common thirst for change.”

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Battle Rages on for South Side Trauma Center

by Mary C. Piemonte 


Residents’ Journal’s video coverage of low-income Woodlawn youth and their advocates’, march and rally at University of Chicago Medical Center on April 21, 2011.

“U of C is Whack! Bring the Trauma Center back,” was the chant of protestors as they marched from 61st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue to the University of Chicago Medical Center at 58th Street and Maryland Avenue on April 21.

The protestors were stepping up their fight for “the human right to health care,” demanding action for a South Side trauma center. Members of “Fearless Leading by the Youth” also known as FLY, a division of Southside Together Organizing For Power (STOP), rallied outside the medical center, chanting “While the U of C ignores, we’re dying at their door.”

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