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Pilsen Guards Against Gentrifyers

by Lorenzia Shelby 

On April 26, 2005 the Pilsen Alliance and the residents of the Pilsen community held a press conference in front of the now defunct Lerner Box Company, an industrial building on 16th Street and Carpenter. They were marching, picketing and protesting the Lipe Property Company. If you were anywhere near 16th and Carpenter that Tuesday night, you would have heard the shouting and chanting voices of men, women and a lot of young people, bellowing these words of protest: “Familias Si, Condos No” (Families Yes, Condos No).

Michael Florez of the Pilsen Alliance

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Healthcare Justice Act Raises Hopes

by Lorenzia Shelby 

Advocates for universal healthcare celebrated passage of the Healthcare Justice Act of 2004, Illinois House Bill 2268, this past summer. The new legislation is designed to help the 3.5 million uninsured people in Illinois. On December 15, 2004, supporters of the bill held a candlelight vigil. At the candlelight vigil, State Senate President Emil Jones and State Representative William Delgado were the keynote speakers. Other speakers included Alivio Medical Center Director Carmen Velasquez and Health and Policy Research Group founder Dr. Quentin Young.

Illinois State Representative William Delgado played a major role in promoting and supporting the Healthcare Justice Act of 2004

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Senior Rehab Update

by Lorenzia Shelby 

Two years ago, the Chicago Housing Authority proposed to renovate all of the senior citizen buildings. It’s now 2004 and the restoration is nearly finished. At Las America Racine Apartments, a senior building located Southwest of downtown in the Pilsen neighborhood, CHA hasn’t finished yet.

Here’s a partial list of work that has been done. The outside walls of the building have been scraped and tuck pointed. Contractors have rejuvenated the roof and the front yard, removing the old brick walkways and replacing them with new concrete sidewalk paths. The brick wall that was in the front of the yard on the west side of the building near the sidewalk was removed. They put in twelve new benches and planted five new trees. The grinding and the scraping and all of the other irritating noises and clouds of white dust that surrounded the building has ceased.
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Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit

by Lorenzia Shelby 

In March 2003, President George W. Bush proposed a new framework to modernize and improve Medicare to Congress. Eight months later, on December 8, President Bush signed the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.

Designed to help seniors pay prescription drug bills, the president hailed his reforms, but a growing number of critics are finding fault with the new benefit. The basic question remains: will the Bush Administration drug benefit help seniors pay for their medicine?

Medicare is a federal government program that provides health insurance for seniors aged 65 and above, as well as people with disabilities and those with permanent kidney failure. The original Medicare plan only covers prescription drugs in a few cases, like certain cancer medicines. Read more »

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2nd U.S. Congressional District Race

by Lorenzia Shelby 

On March 16, 2004, an election will be held for the 2nd U.S Congressional District in Illinois. There are four candidates bidding for the election. The hopefuls are Jessie Louis Jackson, Jr., the incumbent; the Rev. Anthony William; former congressman Mel Reynolds and Everett Shumpert.

Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Jackson was elected in 1995, according to his biography flier. Jackson was born March 11,1965, in Greenville South Carolina. Prior to his stint in Congress, he worked for the National Rainbow Coalition. It is stated in his biography that Jackson was put in jail on his twenty-first birthday in Washington, D.C. for taking part in a protest against apartheid at the South African Embassy. In 1987, Jackson graduated Magna Cum Laude from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business management. Three years later, he earned a master’s degree in theology from the Chicago Theological Seminary, and in 1993, received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois College of Law. He has also been awarded several honorary degrees. He sits on the House Appropriations Committee and the subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services and Education.

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The Price of a Political Job

by Lorenzia Shelby 

I did not have a particular interest in politics until a job search in Chicago gave me a firsthand view of the way “the game” was played here. My experience may interest the readers of Residents’ Journal.

My first introduction to politics was long distance and began in 1952. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was campaigning to become the 34th President of the United States, and his commercials and jingles–“I like Ike!”–dominated the airwaves. Eisenhower served two terms as President of the United States. I watched the president and Vice President Richard M. Nixon on television during the Republican convention. It was one long hullabaloo, with drums banging, trumpets blasting and voices bellowing. I wasn’t into politics. I was just observing white people on TV giving themselves a Grand Old Party. Later, from afar, I saw the election of John F. Kennedy and his assassination. My meager interest in politics continued through President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration and through the end of his presidency in 1968.
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Making CHA Accessible

by Lorenzia Shelby 

Access Living, located at 614 W. Roosevelt Road, is a center for services for people with disabilities.

Their mission is to promote self-esteem, and assist the disabled in their efforts to live an independent life. They have personal assistance programs that help the disabled with their grocery shopping and dressing and bathing. They teach people with disabilities how to ride the CTA buses and trains. They also have programs for people dealing with domestic and sexual abuse. They teach young people with disabilities how to take control of their lives.

Access Living’s staff feel they are leading the charge in the fight for the rights and respect long overdue to people with disabilities. Legislation related to the efforts of Access Living include the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Amendments Act and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
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Seniors Complain About Renovations

by Lorenzia Shelby 

In mid April 2002, work began on a number of Chicago Housing Authority senior building sites. This was the latest installment of the plan to renovate all of the senior buildings.

In my building, the Las Americas Racine Apartments in the Pilsen community at 1611 S. Racine Ave, they started working on the outside of the building. The first thing they worked on was the roof. They stripped and cleaned the roof of old tar and debris, and did a complete restoration.Their next task was the sides of the building. They started at the top of the building grinding and scraping old concrete from between the bricks until the four sides of the building were done. They washed the sides of the building down with water, preparing them to be tuckpointed and caulked. Read more »
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Operation ABLE

by Lorenzia Shelby 

I‘d like to inform the readers of an organization that states that it helps seniors, people with disabilities and others find part-time work and training in many Chicago locations, with some offices a few blocks away from CHA developments.

Operation ABLE is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1977, according to their 1998/1999annual report. “Operation ABLE was created by the Chicago Community Trust Organization with a staff of three, a budget of $47,500 and a vision of helping workers 55 years of age and older find employment opportunities.”

The group serves seniors, people with disabilities and others by providing them with employment and training. “Operation ABLE (Ability Based on Long Experience) became known as an advocate for the older workers. In 1990, Operation ABLE revised its mission statement to include services to individuals of all ages, while maintaining its original emphasis on serving the unique needs of the older worker.” Read more »

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The Renowned Vernon Jordan

by Lorenzia Shelby 

Before he went to college, civil rights veteran and businessman Vernon Jordan’s mother told him to join the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), according to his book, “Vernon Can Read.” All the white people she had worked for made their children join ROTC, his mother reasoned. “There must be something to it,” she told the young Jordan.

Jordan was a strong-willed, determined young man who persevered in his quest to succeed. He got a good education, was a successful activist and then became a business executive as well as a consultant and friend to President Bill Clinton. Though many Americans know Jordan from his involvement in the Monica Lewinsky scenario, most African Americans know about his record of accomplishment. Read more »
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