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Sisters Form a Brotherhood

by Cenabeth Cross 

The ladies of the 7th District Women’s Advisory Committee joined U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7) to host a town hall meeting on March 30 at the Westside Center of Truth. The meeting was to explore women’s issues and celebrate Women’s History Month. It also was to highlight the achievements of female leaders in the community.

Davis began the meeting by saying, “Americans have made a lot of progress but we still have a long way to go.” He went on to note that not so long ago, women weren’t considered citizens with the right to vote. In 1920, a constitutional amendment was passed to allow women the right to vote. African Americans, however, had to wait until 1965 for discriminatory laws to get nixed by the Civil Rights Act. Before then, they were cut completely out of the primaries and were charged a poll tax of $2 when they did vote. If you worked in the field, $2 was an entire day of work. Davis remarked that it’s important to know history and the changes that have been made.
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Stop The Violence

by Cenabeth Cross 

In an effort to save our youth, Diane Latiker, a young mother and founder of Kids Off the Block (KOB), decided that the kids in the Roseland area needed a way to fulfill their dreams without resorting to the violence that has been spreading citywide.

Diane Latiker founded the Kids Off the Block program in July 2003 to create positive change for the children in her community.
Photo by Cenabeth Cross

I had been looking for anyone willing to help stop the violence, so I went to meet Diane in her office at 11621 S. Michigan Ave. A fairly young woman opened the door and invited me in. She told me that she was the mother of 8 children, 4 boys and 4 girls, all of whom were over 18 except for her 17-year-old daughter.
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Saving A Piece of History in Cabrini Green

by Cenabeth Cross 

The William Walker Mural
One of the few remaining murals painted by William Walker is under threat. Walker, born in 1927, has three remaining works here in Chicago.

The endangered “All of Mankind” mural, located on the front of a church at 617 W. Evergreen Ave., is one of the few remaining murals painted by artist William Walker, who currently lives in a CHA senior building.
Photo by Cenabeth Cross

His “Wall of Respect,” which he painted at 43rd Street and Langley Avenue in 1967, is credited with sparking the community mural movement, but that one has already been completely destroyed.
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Last Days At Ogden Courts

by Cenabeth Cross 

I recently moved out of Ogden Courts after living there for 10 years. Ogden Courts consisted of two buildings. Each one was seven stories high and there were 10 apartments on each floor. The one I lived in was 2710 W. Ogden Ave. The second one was 2650 W. Ogden. We lived across the street from Mt. Sinai Hospital.

This building at 2650 W. Ogden Ave. was part of the Chicago Housing Authoritys Ogden Courts public housing complex that was totally demolished in 2005. Photo by Cenabeth Cross

In 1995, I was allowed to move into Ogden Courts after a long wait. I got to know the manager because I had to speak to her on the phone many times. She kept telling me there were problems on the premises that she had to deal with and that therefore, my moving in wasn’t her priority. The harassment stepped up a notch after she met me. But I soon found that she hadn’t picked me out to be mean to. She was that way with everyone. She was, however, the only manager that stayed as long as she did.

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Stop the Violence

by Cenabeth Cross 

I discovered an organization that is providing employment services for people who need it badly. The Michael Barlow Center on Chicago’s West Side is helping ex-offenders find jobs and places to live. The Barlow Center, which was dedicated on April 22, 2005, is a part of St. Leonard’s Ministries, located at 2120 West Warren Blvd.

St. Leonard’s Ministries helps inmates, women and men, with a place to stay, training and support as they re-enter society. They help ex-offenders to rebuild their lives and get a chance to make a buck. With the Barlow Center, they are expanding their services by opening new programs, including two new buildings where the residents will live and learn. One is a five-story high building where the residents will sleep. I learned this by taking a tour of the facilities after my interviews.
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The John Howard Association

by Cenabeth Cross 

During my visits at the county jail and other places, I discovered an organization that helps the ones in need. The inmates that are inside the jails and institutions are the ones who come first with this organization. It’s called the John Howard Association.

The John Howard Association monitors the prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers here in Illinois. Their job is to review law makers, and their laws. They also make policies on prison reform and try to educate the public. They wish to bring about fair and humane treatment of the inmates in the prison populations. John Howard Association provides direct and indirect service to the incarcerated, corrections professionals and affected communities. JHA strengthens its advocacy work by developing relationships with reform organizations.
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Stop The Violence

by Cenabeth Cross 

Located at 2650 and 2710 Ogden Ave. on Chicago’s West Side, the Odgen Courts development is mostly occupied by single parent households, headed by women. The apartments are in deplorable conditions. Mice, lead poisoning and dirty water are only a few of the problems we face daily. And many of us suffer from depression, asthma and other ailments. There are shootings, fights and other conflicts constantly.

One of the most violent acts that has happened here at Ogden Courts between residents was a fight between four women, including the former LAC president, Latresha Green. Also involved was her twin sister, Lakisha, and her mother, Debra. The three of them jumped on a young lady. There were two eye witnesses. One was the young lady’s seven-year-old son.
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Stop The Violence

by Cenabeth Cross 

Enough is Enough

On Friday March 5, I was on my way to my son’s house. I arrived at the 95th St. El station and was handed a flyer asking people to come to a forum sponsored by the Enough is Enough Campaign at the Christian Hope Church at 8849 S. Greenwood on March 11. Led by mothers of incarcerated sons, Enough is Enough seeks the release of prisoners whose incarcerations are based on confessions signed after allegedly torture and abuse at the hands of the police.

A participant a the Enough is Enough rally displays the group's flyers.

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Stop The Violence

by Cenabeth Cross 

The recent activities of a famously named young man have reminded me of the tough times of a bygone era. I was watching the tube when I saw a youth named Fred Hampton, Jr. interrupt a gun-control meeting being held by Mayor Richard M. Daley. Hampton asked Daley what was going to be done about the killing of 18-year-old Darryl Hamilton.

Community activist Fred Hampton Jr.

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Stop The Violence

by Cenabeth Cross 

Recently, I have reported on the stories of women who have been convicted of crimes. Women who are victims of violent crime also have stories that should be told.

Rape victims often experience trauma associated with this type of abuse that may be never ending. Finding and dealing with a normal intimate relationship, and maintaining relationships with others, including your own children, can become incredibly hard as a result of sexual assault.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Crime Victimization Survey, a sexual assault occurs on average once every two minutes in this country. African American women have a ten percent greater chance of being sexually assaulted than white women, according statistics compiled by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), a nationwide advocacy group for sexual assault victims.
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