Stop The Violence

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Located at 2650 and 2710 Ogden Ave. on Chicago’s West Side, the Odgen Courts development is mostly occupied by single parent households, headed by women. The apartments are in deplorable conditions. Mice, lead poisoning and dirty water are only a few of the problems we face daily. And many of us suffer from depression, asthma and other ailments. There are shootings, fights and other conflicts constantly.

One of the most violent acts that has happened here at Ogden Courts between residents was a fight between four women, including the former LAC president, Latresha Green. Also involved was her twin sister, Lakisha, and her mother, Debra. The three of them jumped on a young lady. There were two eye witnesses. One was the young lady’s seven-year-old son.

The terrible fight started over cupcakes. The residents had started having church services on Saturday afternoons, from 11 am to 1 pm. There would be food for us after the meetings were over. A minister always presided over the meetings. She was going to help us get religion and our records erased. Everything was going along fine until one afternoon on the April 15.

After the meeting was over, the minister told the victim, Juanita Tyler, that she could have the cupcakes left over after the service because she had come in late and hadn’t gotten a chance to eat anything. I learned later when I interviewed Tyler that Lakisha Green had called her a “b—-” and told her that the cupcakes belonged to her and that she shouldn’t have taken them.

Ogden Courts resident Juanita Tyler, shown here after being assaulted by LAC President Latresha Gree, sister Lakisha Green and mother Debra Green. Photo by Cenabeth Cross

The fight took place two days later when Tyler was getting off the elevator. Debra Green, Latresha and Lakisha’s mother, hit her on the arm with a two by four board. Tyler’s son appeared and told her to run into the apartment. By the time she reached her door, the Green women had caught up with her and the three of them attacked her at the same time. The son went and got a friend of the victim, a resident named Malykah Franklin.

Franklin told me that when she arrived, the mother was twisting Tyler’s arm, Lakisha was pulling her hair out while Latresha Green, LAC President of Ogden Courts, was beating her in the face. When the fight was over, Tyler had a broken arm, two knocked out teeth and a large patch of her hair pulled out from the root. Both of her eyes were black. She said that she didn’t know that her arm was broken until the next day when she had to go to see the doctor because of the pain.

“I went to the hospital and my arm was put in a cast. I then called the police and they gave me a police report, where the Greens were charged with simple battery. I was only able to find one of my teeth,” Tyler said. “A lady from CHA named Ruby Holly came to see me and a man named Dwayne Bailey [CHA Chief of Operations] and another called Terry Peterson [CHA CEO] have called me.”

The vicious attack between the ladies happened at the very polling place where Latresha Green first became president.

I have to admit that even I had problems with Green.

My troubles started when I wrote about the hole in my ceiling and she got into trouble because Vice President Rose Jenkins told a bigwig at CHA about the hole. CHA got on Green’s case, and she has been on mine every since.

Things may be better soon. The Greens gave themselves up, went to court, and they have all moved out. We can talk to the new president, Rose Jenkins. She seems to care about the residents. For example, on August 21, we had a block party. We have them every year but the food and the real goodies never trickle down to the children. This year it was different.

On that same day, President Jenkins had the Lawndale Christian Health Center come out to the development to test the children for lead poisoning. We’ve had workshops on sexually transmitted diseases for women and after-school tutoring for children sponsored by the tenant patrol and management.

Also, we just found out that we can get Section 8 vouchers. This information is being given to us by our new LAC president. Before, management and Green kept this information to themselves. Some of Green’s friends were taken care of and moved out.

We have been living in hell. The people that are supposed to help us shouldn’t be the ones that hurt us.

Problems Remain
Problems remain unresolved at Odgen Courts. Latasha Allen wants to know when they will get rid of the mice. She has young babies and when the mice smell them, they want to nibble on the babies.

“Why would they stop us from having a cat when the building is infested with mice?” Allen said.

Residents can have cats, as I found out, but there is a payment of $100 to keep one, a fee many residents cannot afford.

Pearl Nesbit, a senior citizen who formerly lived in Ogden Courts, had me take pictures of her apartment. The bathroom and kitchen walls were chock full of mold. Pearl died before anything could be done about it. She complained about the mice as well.

I find dead mice on a regular basis. I guess I don’t feed them well enough.

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