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Inside the Teachers Strike

by Mary C. Piemonte 

cialis onlinehttp://wethepeoplemedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Mary-9-10-12-Teachers-Robeson-HS-300×225.jpg” alt=”" width=”400″ height=”300″ /> Teachers at Paul Robeson High School protest on the first day of the Chicago Teachers Union strike Monday, September 10. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Interviewed on the first day of the Chicago Teachers Union’s first strike in a quarter-century, Ron James, a history teacher at Hyde Park Career Academy, said he was out picketing because “We need to be out here.”

“I’m a teacher with a classroom full of kids that don’t have enough books,” James added. “We don’t have enough desks. Our kids are sitting around in chairs sharing books as I’m trying to teach them. I do the best with what I have and you want to cut what I have already. It’s asinine.

“We’re out here fighting not just for ourselves but for our brothers at the police department, the fire department and all other public workers.”

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CHA Opens Public Housing Wait List for South Side Neighborhoods

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The Chicago Housing Authority is opening up its public housing wait list only for residents of the Douglas, Oakland, Kenwood, New City and Fuller Park neighborhoods.

This will not be a “first come, first served” opportunity to get your name on the list. Instead, qualified applicants will be placed in an “electronic lottery drawing” to determine each registrant’s place on the Wait List after the closing date, according to the CHA.

The registration period begins on June 4 and runs through June 29, 2012.

Residents of those communities can apply at the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church at 4100 S. King Drive Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 16, and Saturday, June 23.

The Requirements

Those who reside within the boundaries of those outlined areas at the time of application as well as during the screening and unit offer process, and who are 18 years or older, are required to have a picture ID and two forms of proof of current address. They must also qualify for a one-, two-, three- or four-bedroom unit based on the “Occupancy Guidelines” established in the CHA’s “Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy” (ACOP). Their income must not exceed the maximum income restrictions under federal law and the applicants must meet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) requirements in citizenship or eligible immigration status. In addition, the applicants “must provide social security numbers for each member of the family, or certification that they do not have a social security number.”

Accessible units are also available. For more information, those interested can call 773-324-6305.

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Rally against NATO, War and Poverty

by Mary C. Piemonte 

A protestor at the anti-NATO demonstrations. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

“No to the NATO/G8 war makers! No to war and austerity!” chanted the massive crowd who gathered around the Petrillo Band Shell in Grant Park on May 20 to protest the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO that was held at McCormick Place this past weekend.

With officers from the Chicago Police Department, Illinois State Police and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security lining the march route, local, national and international speakers from various ethnicities and coalitions around the world, including Germany, Pakistan and Egypt, joined forces in solidarity, calling for the end of war in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, and for the troops to be brought home. Justice for immigrants and all oppressed people everywhere. Economic justice and jobs for all. Money for effective education, health care, housing and the release of political prisoners such as the Cuban 5, who were imprisoned in Miami and charged with spying for Havana, according to members of the Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban Five.

Some speakers talked about the need for more money for environmental issues and work pensions, while others cited statements from local advocacy groups saying that “billions spent on NATO and its wars are not only attacks on people abroad but on the lives and living standards of the 99 percent at home.”

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Altgeld Tenants: Police, Cameras Not Improving Security

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Bernadette Williams, the tenants Local Advisory Council president, complaining to CHA Board members, on October 18, 2011, about increased shootings at the far south side public housing site. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte


Tenants of public housing have said throughout the Plan for Transformation that they see very little police activity in their areas, except during drug raids.

In decades past, police officers used to walk the beat, but they are little seen these days, and the public housing tenants living in CHA developments and in areas where they relocated wonder where “Officer Friendly” is, especially in light of the fact that the Chicago Housing Authority has been paying the Chicago Police Department millions of dollars annually to provide foot and car patrols.
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John H. Johnson Honored with Black Heritage Forever Stamp

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The John H. Johnson Forever Postage Stamp. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte

Pioneering entrepreneur and publisher John Harold Johnson received one of the U.S. Postal Service’s highest honors on Jan. 31 when he was commemorated with this year’s Black Heritage Forever Stamp.

Johnson, the founder of the Johnson Publishing Company, which publishes Ebony and Jet magazine, now joins the 34 other honorees in the Postal Service’s Black Heritage Stamp series since 1978.

Johnson was born on Jan. 19, 1918, and died of heart failure on Aug. 8, 2005, at the age of 87.

Johnson made the decision to first publish the horrific details and photos of the open casket funeral of 14-year-old Emmett Louis Till, a Chicago youth who was murdered in Mississippi by two white racists for whistling at one of their wives in August 1955.

You can see a video of Residents’ Journal’s coverage of the Johnson Publishing Company’s involvement in the memorial service on the 54th anniversary of Till’s death at: http://youtu.be/7CBfolmW1bM.

The Johnson “Forever Stamp” was designed by art director Howard E. Paine and is equal in value to the current First Class stamp, 45 cents each or $9 a sheet.
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Blackhawks Host CHA Kids

by Mary C. Piemonte 

CHA youth practicing their moves on the ice, during Chicago Blackhawks “Event to Inspire” Hockey Clinic sponsored by 1 World Sports, at Johnny’s Ice House on January 19, 2012. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte


For the second year, the Chicago Blackhawks met and greeted 61 Chicago public housing youth during their “Event to Inspire” Hockey Clinic sponsored by 1 World Sports, at Johnny’s Ice House, 1350 W. Madison Street on January 19, 2012.

During the three-hour sports clinic, the girls and boys, ages 6 to 12 all from CHA family developments, laced up their ice skates and were instructed in the fundamentals of hockey.
Later, they applied the new skills they learned from Kevin Delahny, the Blackhawks skills coach, to score puck-shots on Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery.
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Remembering the Servitude of Dr. King

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Marshawn Frencha reciting a Dr. Margeret Burroughs speech to his peers and their parents during the Dr. Martin Luther King event at Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church on Jan. 16, 2012. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte


Listening to a radio show on WVON 1690 AM this past Monday, I was moved by the tributes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s efforts to create change for Black people, as well as the diligent efforts of so many others who fought to honor him for his leadership in the civil rights movement.

The civil rights movement did so much more than win more rights for Black people; it defined basic community service towards our fellow human beings. As I contemplated this notion, I got off my rear end, left my comfort zone, and went out of the house to give some of my time to help others, keeping in tune with the ideology that Dr. King’s fought so hard for, and eventually died for.
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Group Carols to Save Mental Health Clinics

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Protesters who want to avert cuts to the city’s mental health clinics tried a unique tactic this week.

As the City Council convened their first session since voting to close half of the city’s clinics and privatize all of its neighborhood health centers, members of the Mental Health Movement wore Santa Claus hats and formed a circle in the hallway outside the elected officials’ offices at City Hall, then sung altered classic holiday songs.

In their rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” and the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” they accused Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials of catering to “corporate greed,” and giving “tax breaks” to the wealthy while closing clinics in poor African American and Hispanic communities “without shame.”
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New Report: Homeless Being Criminalized

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Officals at Chicago Defender Charities feed the homeless in 2010. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Across the country, homeless people are finding that their activities are being considered criminal acts, according to a new report from a Washington D.C.-based advocacy organization.

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty discovered a “startling trend toward criminalizing basic acts necessary for homeless persons’ survival, including eating and sleeping in public.” An analysis in their report, “Criminalizing Crisis: The Criminalization of Homelessness in America,” shows that poverty is at “record levels,” with as many as 3.5 million people experiencing homelessness annually.

“Cities are continuing to penalize people forced to live on our streets and in public spaces,” the report’s authors concluded. The group surveyed local policies in 234 cities, and learned that 40 percent prohibit sleeping in public places; 33 percent prohibit sitting or lying in public places; 56 percent prohibit loitering in public places; and 53 percent prohibit begging in public places. In 188 cities surveyed for both this report and the Law Center’s 2009 report, there were major increases on prohibitions on homeless people begging or panhandling, sleeping and loitering.

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Parents Protest CPS Turn-Arounds

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Walter H Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., which is slated to be closed under a new plan announced by the Chicago Public Schools. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

A South Side community group “fed up” with the Chicago Public Schools closing and turn-around process in low-income areas of color brought their protest to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office this week.

“CPS’ top-down school actions in North Kenwood and the Greater Bronzeville community have caused spikes in violence and destabilized schools, and not improved student outcomes,” reads a statement from the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, also known as KOCO.

KOCO members, along with parents from North Kenwood, Oakland and Bronzeville neighborhoods, rallied outside Emanuel’s office on December 1, and called on him to partner with them to implement “The Bronzeville Global Achievers Village,” an alternative school transformation plan they’ve developed over the past 18 months.

KOCO member Shannon Bennett told Residents’ Journal shortly after the protest that members from his organization and several community parents, along with representatives from the Centers for New Horizons and the Grand Boulevard Federation, first met with CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard at their office on November 21 regarding KOCO’s plan to counteract CPS policies concerning school closings, phase-outs and turnarounds. Brizard said he would get back to them but did not, according to Bennett. “So that’s why we have gone around him, and go to his boss,” Bennett explained.

Bennett said members from KOCO delivered a letter to Emanuel through one of his staff members, and added that members of his organization are particularly upset about the phasing out of Walter H. Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., which KOCO noted in their press release is the only neighborhood high school in Kenwood-Oakland. Sending students to Wendell Phillips Academy High School, 244 E. Pershing Road in the Bronzeville community, will result in increased violence, he argued. In 2005, Bennett said he personally experienced a spike in crime in Kenwood-Oakland after the closing of two schools, the Jackie Robinson and Price elementary schools.

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