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A Truce in the War on Drugs? Part II.

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Editor’s Note: The article below was produced as part of the Social Justice News Nexus, a program launched this year by Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications with a two-year grant from the McCormick Foundation.

Will Drug Courts Ease Prison Overcrowding?

Drug courts are becoming an increasingly popular topic of conversation among elected officials as they scramble to find solutions to punitive sentences for those charged with low-level drug-related crimes.

A large majority of these nonviolent offenders – with dependencies on alcohol, prescription and street drugs – are particularly hard hit with sentences that can lead some to life imprisonment.

In an exclusive interview in early February, U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin said he was “absolutely” in favor of the use of drug courts as an alternative means to incarcerations for low-level non-violent drug offenders. He added that money saved from imprisonment costs would be funneled into the use of more of them.

“What we’re trying to do is focus this money back into drug courts, which bring in people who would otherwise be prosecuted. [People] who they would say, ‘This isn’t criminal. This is an addict. Let’s deal with them that way.’ Do it for veterans. I think that makes more sense if you deal with a person whose real crime is addiction. Let’s get to them early before the addiction becomes even worse.”

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Categories: Homepage Investigative Reporting

Chicago Gangs and Violence: Beyond Downtown

by Jaquita Wilson 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Paul Robeson High School in the Englewood neighborhood. The UYIJP is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

It feels to me that Chicago really lived up to its nickname this year, “Chiraq Drillinois.” The question I ask is where and when will a change come? Chicago was named the “Murder Capital of the United States” by Sky News and other international media. Gang shootings across the city have really put fear in Chicagoans and it feels like we are not safe anywhere. It is really sucking the fun and life out of Chicago.

Chicago has always had gangs and violence. In the 1920s, we had Al Capone, who was born in New York and moved to Chicago at the age of 20, according to the web site of the Chicago History Museum. Capone was the leader of the “Chicago Outfit,” also known as “Capones.” He was into smuggling and bootlegging liquor but he is most famous for his role in the 1929 Valentine Day Massacre.

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Categories: Homepage UYIJP

We The People Media in the News

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

I was honored recently to guest host “Chicago Newsroom,” the weekly public affairs show hosted by media legend Ken Davis and broadcast over the CAN TV network. My guests were the estimable Chris Robling, vice president at Jayne Thompson Associates and a frequent Republican commentator, and Dave Lundy, principal at  Aileron Communications and a frequent Democratic commentator. We discussed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s tenure so far as well as state politics and the upcoming governor’s race. You can watch the show by clicking on the photo above.

By coincidence, the same day, I was also a guest on “Morning Shift” over WBEZ Chicago Public Radio discussing the arrest of two community leaders on charges of lobbying for Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. You can listen to the show here:

 

 

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Categories: Homepage Video

We The People Media in the News

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

We The People Media Executive Director Ethan Michaeli appeared recently on CAN TV’s “Chicago Newsroom,” with guest host and WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore as well as Britt Julious, WBEZ blogger, and Achy Obejas, an award-winning author and also a WBEZ blogger. They discussed the state of public housing and Chicago’s neglected neighborhoods.

Click here to watch.

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Categories: Homepage Video

We The People Media ED on “Chicago Newsroom”

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

We The People Media Executive Director Ethan Michaeli was recently featured on an episode of “Chicago Newsroom,” hosted by Ken Davis. Ethan appeared along with Alden Loury from the Better Government Association, discussing a wide range of issues, from violence affecting young people in the city to gun control to local politics. Click here to watch the episode: http://chicagonewsroom.org/2013/02/22/cn-february-21-2013/

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Categories: Homepage

We The People Media in the News

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

On September 27, Executive Director Ethan Michaeli spoke on WBEZ’s “The Afternoon Shift” hosted by Rick Kogan with Republican consultant Chris Roebling and WBEZ political reporter Alex Keefe to discuss the state of the electorate – undecided voters, uninformed voters and turn-out during a presidential campaign. Click here to listen to the report.
The next day, Ethan was the guest of Ken Davis’ “Chicago Newsroom” over the CAN TV network discussing the state of Chicago public housing with WBEZ FM South Side Bureau Chief Natalie Moore.

 

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Categories: Homepage

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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Categories: Homepage

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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Categories: Homepage Uncategorized

RJ Publisher on “Chicago Newsroom”

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

This week, I was honored to appear on “Chicago Newsroom,” hosted by veteran broadcaster Ken Davis, along with fellow guests Art Golab, Database Editor with the Chicago Sun-Times, and Charlie Meyerson, a regular voice on Chicago radio. We discussed the progress of new Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the ouster of Chicago Housing Authority CEO Lewis Jordan, the future of the Taste of Chicago and other issues.

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Categories: Homepage

Nuf Said: Will Violence Finally Stop?

by Cornelius Jordan 

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:

The young journalists at an event for the youth media project Nuf Said on Oct. 27 talked about violence and how they could get shot any day. In a video screened at the event in Pilsen, a girl named Cookie told her story: how people get killed in our communities, and how they can’t build new houses without the windows getting blown out or busted. In the video, “Cookie’s Story,” produced by Community TV Network, she tells us how she saw someone die when she was only seven years old. At the end of the video, her friend started rapping about violence to teach people about violence and that they should stop the killing.

Youth from Community TV Network led the discussion after the video, and asked the participants if they have had similar experiences to Cookie’s story. Everyone agreed that they had, describing different problems in the communities, including violence, disrespect from police and politicians, poor schools and even litter.

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Categories: Homepage UYIJP