ARCHIVES

Rappin’ Tate The Great

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There is a new rapper in town and he’s good. He is a positive role model for the children. He is currently making appearances at the schools promoting his CD titled READ.

His first album was released in 1990 on the T.O.M.A. label. It was titled “Ambitious.” He was featured in a “Someone You Should Know short television segment by Harry Porterfield on WLS television.

I caught Tate’s act at the Dodge Elementary School on Dec. 19, 2000. The show was dedicated to Vila Brooks, a teacher at the school who had just passed away. Some one said that she loved to party. Read more »

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Stop The Violence

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There are a number of cases currently in the courts that involve Chicago police officers who are being accused of corrupt involvement with street gang members.

On Feb. 14, I went to court to see the arraignment of William M. Patterson. He was one of the officers caught in the federal sting that centered around the Robert Taylor Homes and the Ida B. Wells housing complexes last week. The court procedure was to determine if the case would go to trial. The judge said that the indictment would stand.

Patterson was charged with several counts of drug offenses, including conspiracy to possess and distribute narcotics. The arraignment of Patterson’s partner, Daryl L. Smith, called “Smitty,” was handled on a different day and time. According to the court testimony, federal investigators caught on videotape two teams of policemen robbing drug dealers. Read more »

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Stop The Violence

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CHA Police

I recently interviewed Richard Smiley, the director of the CHA Police Department. Smiley expressed his concern for all CHA communities.

He said, “As we approach the 21st century, police enforcement will have to be different.”

He explained that 60 percent of crimes are drug related but that we will have to treat the problem as an illness. We must deal with the cause before we can initiate a cure.

Smiley said he is starting classes for residents who need GEDs and classes for children who need to learn how to keep the weight off. Smiley noted that overweight people suffer from depression and ridicule and the class to help them is called Overeaters Anonymous and is open to all residents. The children with eating disorders will need professional help and help developing their self-esteem to conquer some of their problems.

Smiley, a former resident of Altgeld Gardens, said locking people up is not always the answer. The CHA police want to serve and protect and make the quality of life better for our people.

Smiley mentioned that CHA Police recently had successfully raided the Lawndale complex just behind where I live. He was right. I have to go to Roosevelt Road to get a bus since the service has been cut back and I was always scared because the streets are full of young men standing outside on every corner. They aren’t there anymore and I breath easier as I go home at night.

Smiley explained how the lock down of many complexes will force the drugs out:

“The residents are our clients,” he said.

Smiley’s vision is to turn would-be law breakers into law enforcers.

Part of Smiley’s program is a partnership with Harold Washington College offering residents, police officers and CHA employees programs where they can earn certificates and degrees in addictions studies. The goal of the program is to produce CHA Police officers and CHA employees who are state-certified substance abuse counselors.

Residents who go through the course will become more marketable for employment. Police officers and employees who go through the course will increase their knowledge in criminal justice and the human sciences. Interested parties can contact the Applied Science Department at Harold Washington College (312) 553-6989.

Erasing Criminal Records

On Aug. 5, I went to the Fernwood United Methodist Church, 10057 S. Wallace St. Pastor the Rev. Al Sampson and his lawyers are promising to help with erasing criminal records. This effort is called Operation Clean Slate and is sponsored by the Million Man March-Metropolitan Area Planning Committee and the Chicago chapter of Men Against Destruction-Defending Against Drugs and Social-Disorder (MAD DADS) and can be reached at (773) 287-1960.

I interviewed lawyer Rose E. Joshua, who wanted to spread the word of this program throughout the city. If turnout is heavy enough, Joshua said they may take the idea to the state legislature and get more done for people who made silly mistakes in their youth. Those records often kill their chances for finding gainful employment.

Joshua wants people who have served their time and been clear of any criminal acts for a number of years to be able to just write no on the employment application.

CAPS March

Also on Aug. 5, 25 neighborhood marches for the Community Alternative Policing Strategies (CAPS) were held throughout the city. Mayor Richard M. Daley led the one in his neighborhood. These marches involve people taking to the streets to tell the gangs that they will call the police in the event a crime is committed. They also get to know the police in their neighborhoods one on one.

Danny Davis Meeting

On Aug. 12, I met U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7) at a meeting at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Davis said he will host meetings throughout the city.

Davis tried to address all the complaints made by the participants. There were questions on health care for children and for seniors. There was the usual concern of what is being done about the gangs. The meeting lasted for 3 hours and many other issues were discussed.

Also attending the meeting was Michael A. Robbins, director of the Handgun Epidemic Lowering Plan (HELP). Robbins spoke for all of those who have lost a loved one through gun violence, such as myself.

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Stop the Violence

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The new year started a bit before midnight. The noise was deafening. The gunshots continued until 5 a.m. I heard single shots. I heard sounds that reminded me of cannons. I heard machine gun fire and that type of sound that Uzis make. I heard sounds that I had no idea what weapon, or weapons, made it. The boys in the ‘hood, my neighborhood, are well stocked with guns and rifles. The war could go on for a while.

On the South Side, in the Robert Taylor Homes, the bullets started to fly right after the holidays. This time, the parents themselves began to go to the school to pick their children up and escort them home. The Chicago Public Schools hired parents to start escorting kids to school and the CHA Tenant Patrols also are getting involved. Read more »

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Stop the Violence II

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In the quest to write about the violence in the streets and in the housing complexes of Chicago, I still find myself writing again about police brutality. Police brutality is nothing new, of course, but now anyone can find evidence of it in the media.

Ald. Robert Shaw (9) said recently, “We are sitting on a power keg.” He announced that he and other aldermen are planning to bring the problem of police brutality against minorities to President Bill Clinton’s attention.

The Chicago Police Department is understaffed and under court order; they are not allowed at this time to do any hiring at all, according to news reports. The courts put a moratorium on hiring new police officers because the Police Union and the City are fighting a legal battle over testing and promotion procedures. The city wants to maximize diversity in the department and wants the freedom to hire minorities on the force. The Police Union wants all hiring and promotions to be based on tests – tests on which minorities often score lower than white officers. Read more »

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Stop the Violence

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The violence in Chicago is escalating at a speed that boggles the mind. Reports would have you to believe that it is not so. They give you percentages and dialogue which is hard to believe. They say that gun crimes are especially down. But there are over 200 million guns on the street and it is easy to get for anyone who wants one. Violence is violence and the violent people do not always use a gun. There are a lot of different organizations being formed to help to stop the violence. I checked out a few. Read more »

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The Magnificent Maya Angelou

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Hosted by the CADRE office at ABLA, I joined residents from that development and we left the complex at 6:30 p.m. We arrived at the New Rosemont Theater at 8 p.m. on June 9. The event was the last night of the series of women’s lectures hosted by Janet Davies, entertainment reporter for ABC Channel 7 News. Tonight was an evening with Maya Angelou, the world-renowned poet. The series was called “Unique Lives And Experiences,” North America’s foremost women’s lecture tour. The series had featured Laura Bacall, author of “My Life, My Career,” Mary Tyler Moore, in a lecture entitled “Thoroughly Modern Mary,” Linda Ellerbee and Sara Ferguson, the Duchess Of York. But tonight was Maya’s night. Read more »

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