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Success through Self Determination

by Quintana Woodridge 

UYIJP graduate Keisha Ruth outside Memorial Hall before class at WIU. Photo by Quintana Woodridge.

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by Urban Youth International Journalism Program Coordinator Quintana Woodridge, herself a graduate of the UYJP. The UYIJP is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

The Urban Youth International Journalism Program (UYIJP) has graduated thousands of young people from the J-101 journalism training classes since we got started back in 1998 and we are proud of all of them. But once in a while, we like to shine a spotlight on those who deserve some special recognition. Keisha Ruth, a graduate of the 2011 class of UYIJP who is now a junior at Western Illinois University, is proof of that the past doesn’t matter and the future can be a success.  

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What’s So Great about Football?

by Jamie Nichols 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program, which is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

People take off their clothes and paint their bodies in the freezing cold just to show their loyalty to their team. This is football. I can’t believe how many people are so loyal to their teams. I love football and I play football but I would not do all of that. It seems to me that football is our country’s most popular sport, based on how many people talk about it.

I interviewed students and teachers at Robeson High School about their views on football.

Amber M. Stoker is a 24-year-old City Year staffer at Robeson. She loves football because of the physical contact and her favorite team is the Chicago Bears. She has never been to an NFL game but she’s been to high school games. Even though she likes the sport, she knows that injuries are a serious problem. She knew someone who had a football scholarship to college but it was messed up because of an injury.

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Categories: Homepage UYIJP

Hip Hop Star on the Rise

by Ramel Greene 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Paul Robeson High School in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.

Kamau Armstrong, a student at Robeson High School, wants to be a hip-hop star so that he can make money for his family.

“I want to help if one of my family members doesn’t have a house, car or can’t afford the bills. I can pay for my family to get what they want,” said Kamau. “If I live with my mom, I can take good care of her. My family will have what they need.”

Kamau likes to rap about girls, money school and family. He learned how to rap by himself. He use to hear his cousin rap and decided he would try to rap himself, but he use to mess up on his raps often. Now he raps very well.

Kamau always raps at his grandmother Mattie Butler’s house. She has a studio for her grandchildren and her nephews to rap in. The studio has a Macintosh computer with a little radio and microphone. Also, it has a video cameras as well as cameras. Kamau raps in the studio and put the tracks and videos on YouTube and Facebook.

He recorded a CD. Some of the songs on his CD are “Everything Gucci,” “Copanana,” and “Take a Photo.” The name of Kamau’s CD is “TrackSlayer.” Kamau Armstrong is working toward being a new name and face in the world of hip hop!

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Categories: Homepage UYIJP

The Many Talents of Tony Erwin

by Laqubian Gaultney 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Paul Robeson High School in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.

Tony Erwin, a student at Paul Robeson High School, has several talents, including dancing, singing and rapping.

“I enjoy singing to get the attention of females, so they acknowledge me,” Tony says. When Tony sings, he talks about young women so that they will be interested in getting to know him. Even though Tony enjoys singing, he likes to show off his other talents, which makes him popular among his friends. He knows how to dance and likes dancing at parties or when playing around with his friends.

“I would rather rap because I enjoy rapping more than singing,” Tony said. He feels that he can express his emotions and feelings about things more clearly though his raps. Tony likes to rap about money, violence, drugs and women. “When I rap, I can talk about anything that goes on in my life and what I see in the area where I live,” expressed Tony.

 

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Categories: Homepage UYIJP

Closing the CTA Red Line

by Mary C. Piemonte 

CTA CEO Forest Claypool (left) speaks to activists including Willie “Jr” Fleming. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Train commuters recently expressed grave concerns about the Chicago Transit Authority’s plans to completely close nine South Side Red Line ‘El’ stops for five months in spring 2013:

“I want guarantees that our voices will matter, as opposed to you opening up your ears for this evening and then doing whatever you want to do anyway,” declared one woman who attended the first public hearing on the CTA’s plans at Kennedy-King College Gymnasium at 6343 S. Halsted St., on June 21, 2012. This woman was one of a small but determined group of community residents who came out and voiced their opinions to CTA Chairman Terry Peterson and CEO Forest Claypool.

The woman speaker added that the CTA’s Green Line reconstruction some years ago was “a fiasco” in which promised services were never delivered and some stations were never restored. “We were promised one thing and got another,” she said.

During the 5-month closure, crews will work on the stations as well as the tracks from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th/Dan Ryan, replacing ties, rails, third rails and the drainage systems. The CTA’s rationale for completely closing the Red Line for this time period is to avoid the additional expense that would come from doing the project incrementally as well as inconveniences such as additional commuting time for riders, crowded trains, frequent schedule changes and multiple reroutes. CTA officials also indicated that an extended project would have fewer community jobs and no extensive shuttle bus service.

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Healthy Ways to Fight Lead Poisoning

by Makylia Anderson 

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.

Every year in October, Imagine Englewood If (IEI) participates in “Make a Difference Day.” On “Make a Difference Day,” people from all over the country do something to change others’ lives in a positive way. On Oct. 29 of last year, IEI put together an event for people living in the Englewood community to inform them of the dangers of lead poisoning. “Englewood has the highest percentage of people in the nation who are affected by lead poisoning,” said Jean Carter Hill, Executive Director of IEI.

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Local Pastor Camps out on Motel Roof to Highlight Area Violence

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Pastor Corey Brooks, of New Beginnings Church, camping out on the rooftop of the vacant Super Motel, as a statment to crime in the area, on November 22, 2011. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte

In an effort to bring attention to violence in Chicago’s Woodlawn and Englewood communities, a local pastor has decided to camp out on the roof of an abandoned motel for 21 days, or until enough funds are raised to buy the motel and transform it into a community and economic development center.

“We’re trying to raise the funds, $450,000 so that we can purchase this motel, tear it down and do something economically that will be a blessing to the community,” said Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church, 6620 S. King Drive, during a Nov. 22 interview on top of the former Super Motel, located across the street from the church. During the rooftop interview, members of Brooks’ church – which has over 3,000 members – were using a lift to haul electric heaters and other items onto the roof to help the pastor while he lives in a tent they had set up on top of the motel.
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Mayor Emanuel Booed at Budget Town Hall

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel tries to calm audience members who booed him at a town hall meeting on the City's budget at Kennedy King College on August 30, 2011. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was jeered and booed by many of the people who arrived early at Kennedy King College on August 30, 2011, in hopes of getting their concerns heard and addressed at the first of two public town hall meeting on the city’s budget.

Upon arrival, people learned that they had to fill out questionnaire cards rather than speak directly to the mayor. In a display of sheer disappointment, several people in the crowded main auditorium began loudly complaining about how they were denied the opportunity to speak, while the mayor attempted to answer some of the handwritten questions, which were read to him by Cheryl Hyman, the chancellor of the City Colleges, instead of the people who actually wrote the questions on the cards. Read more »

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Deadly Moves: Moving at Their Own Risk

by Beauty Turner and Brian J. Rogal

The Redevelopment of public housing creates new dangers
Nicole Wright thought her new home in Englewood would be safer than the Robert Taylor Homes. Last fall, her family was displaced from the dilapidated high-rise at 4037 S. Federal St., one of dozens demolished under the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation.

Her new neighborhood is filled with blocks where trees shade homes with big porches, and neighbors sit out and enjoy the pleasant weather. But this area is also plagued by drugs and gang violence. Like many relocated out of public housing developments, Wright had a teenage son, Kemp, 16. Teenagers can be dangerous for families leaving public housing, even if they are not members of a street gang. And gang members in Englewood looked upon the Wright family with suspicion.
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Categories: Investigative Reporting Uncategorized