ARCHIVES

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.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , ,
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.

 

Tags: , , , ,
Categories: Homepage UYIJP

Stray Dogs in Englewood

by Tyreshia Black 

This dog happens to be behind a fence, but many canines roam the Englewood neighborhood off the leash, terrifying pedestrians. Photo by Tyreshia Black.

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 dog had white and gray fur, and blue piercing eyes. Its teeth were long and yellow. The ears on its head were perked up. The dog’s face looked angry and determined to kill.

I encountered this dog while walking out of my house on a normal day to school. I was about a block from my home when the dog came around the corner. When I saw him, I quickly stopped walking, attracting his attention. The dog gazed at me, like a wolf staring at a deer in the forest.

As we locked eyes, he made the first move and circled me about three times before he sniffed my leg and shoes. I felt an urge to run but I knew what would happen next – he would kill me.

Read more »

Tags: , , , ,
Categories: Homepage UYIJP

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Categories: Homepage

CHA Launches Initiative to House Women Ex-Offenders

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Ex-offenders rights advocate Willie J.R. Fleming commends CHA Board members during a recent meeting to discuss creating housijg for women ex-offenders. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Women ex-offenders who formally lived in Chicago public housing will get a second chance to get supportive housing under a plan announced this week by the Chicago Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.

At their Aug. 16 public meeting at the Savoy Square Community Center, 4448 S. State St., the CHA Board authorized interim Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ponce to contract with the Viceroy Apartments on the Near West Side to set aside 17 units of subsidized housing for formerly incarcerated women who once lived in public housing.

The Viceroy Apartments is a six-story brick hotel that was constructed in the 1920s and is located at 1519 W. Warren Blvd. Heartland Housing is redeveloping the structure to include historic preservation of the façade and a total rehab of the interior and its 89 studio apartments, according to an Aug. 10 letter from CHA staff to the board that was e-mailed to Residents’ Journal. The letter indicates that 72 units in the building will for homeless women or those at risk of being homeless. The CHA waiting list will be the primary source of referrals for these 72 units. The remaining 17 units will be master-leased to St. Leonard’s Ministries to provide permanent supportive housing to women ex-offenders. The City of Chicago is donating the property, while Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) funds and other sources will be used to complete the rehab. Rent will be set at approximately $685 per month.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Categories: Homepage

Commissioner Fails to Show at Mental Health Town Hall Meeting

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Community activist Lonnie Richardson discusses the need for mental health services for young people at a town hall on Aug. 5. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Dozens of people concerned with the state of the city’s mental health services, who packed a community meeting this week, were disappointed when the city public health commissioner did not show up.

N’Dana Carter, a member of the Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) community human rights organization, who was moderating the event at Mercy Hospital’s Joyce Auditorium, 2525 S. Michigan Ave., on the evening of August 5 told the audience that Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair called and cancelled two hours before the meeting began.

“Our fearless leader Dr. Choucair…called at 3:30 p.m. to cancel. He will not be here,” declared Carter, a consumer at the Greater Grand/Mid-South Mental Health facility at 4314 S. Cottage Grove.

“Dr. Choucair didn’t make the meeting tonight, because he felt that we were going to ambush him. And he was afraid. He was afraid because the citizens of the city of Chicago and our visitors want the mental health clinics, and they don’t want privatization of any of the health clinics,” she added.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Categories: Homepage

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Categories: Homepage

The Bow Campaign

by Tyreshia Black 

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:

People gathered at Mercy Church in Englewood on April 13 at the 17th Annual Blue Bow event for National Child Abuse Awareness Month. In 1989, the Blue Bow Campaign was started when a grandmother named Bonnie Finney was seen wearing a blue ribbon on her car antenna in memory of her grandson. Finney’s grandson was abused and killed by his own parents. Finney’s act was meant to make people wonder and ignite their concern. It was her personal way of showing love and memory for her grandson. The blue ribbon caught on as a symbol of child abuse awareness and prevention. Since then, the group Children’s Home and Aid has promoted the blue ribbon campaign annually, spreading hope and the message that together we can prevent child abuse and neglect.

Women’s groups, youth groups, student councils, parenting groups and other local groups were all at the event at Mercy Church. There was poetry and face-painting along with discussion about child abuse and neglect. There was an interfaith prayer for the ones who lost their lives to child abuse and the ones who tried to prevent children from being abused and neglected by their families. After the prayer, we discussed recent tragedies. One was about LaShandra Armstrong, a single mother who drove her car into the Hudson River and killed three of her children. Everyone was speechless when they heard about this. Read more »

Tags: , , , , ,
Categories: Homepage UYIJP

Where are CHA’s Residents?

by Mary C. Piemonte 

On April 14, Chicago Housing Authority CEO Lewis Jordan announced the results of an “exhaustive tracking process and data analysis” that looked at where its former residents are and how they are doing.

In releasing the information, Jordan said he was aiming to correct misimpressions of agency’s progress on its 12-year-old Plan for Transformation.

Chicago Housing Authority CEO Lewis Jordan talking to reporters about his knowledge of where relocated tenants are, during his press conference resident relocations under the Plan for Transformation, at CHA downtown headquarters on April 14, 2011. Photo by Mary C. Johns

“There’s a myth out there that we don’t know where our families are,” Jordan said. “We do know where these families are.”

When the CHA’s Plan for Transformation was launched in 1999, the agency pledged to demolish its high-rises, re-build mixed-income communities where the developments once stood, and allow former residents to move back. To ensure former tenants could return, CHA also pledged to keep track of them. There were approximately 25,000 residents in the family developments, scattered site housing, and senior buildings when the Plan for Transformation began, according to the CHA.

But if Jordan’s press conference was intended to dispel the notion that CHA doesn’t know where its former families are, his own numbers didn’t quite back him up. On page 3 of CHA’ report, it states that “(2,202) have not responded to CHA outreach and thus their location is unknown.”

Read more »

Tags: , , , , , ,
Categories: Homepage

Bronzeville Residents Aim for Police Substation on 47th Street

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Bolstered by the results of a vote conducted during the recent citywide election, Chicago residents of the 3rd and 4th wards are expressing “a strong desire” for a police substation on 47th Street, according to a local resident group in the South Side’s historic Bronzeville community.

Young professionals from the Concerned Citizens of Bronzeville stated in a press release last month that the small stretch between the Green and Red CTA lines is now “unrecognizable” compared to its heyday when jazz legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong frequented lavish night clubs along 47th Street.

The area “is filled with debris, used needles and condoms, illicit narcotic activity, rampant public drinking and urination,” the group stated.

This vacant lot, located in the 4700 block of South Prairie Avenue, is among one of those Concerned Citizens of Bronzeville suggest be the site of a sub-police station as a deterrent to crime and loitering in the area. Photo by Mary C. Johns

Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Categories: Homepage