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Meet the Real Robeson High School

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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.

How is it really at Robeson High School in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side? A lot of people misjudge Robeson because of what they see on the news. Many people might think all Robeson students don’t know anything and fight every day. But what they don’t know is that many kids in Robeson have great talents and are very smart. I currently attend Robeson and it’s very different than what people say. I interviewed some Robeson students to give a fuller picture of the student body, their views on the school, and the violence that is an issue in Englewood.

Shanika Chavis is a freshman who works after school and likes to “goof off with friends.” She said there are not too many gangs at Robeson. She wants to be a teacher because she likes to help people. She said the school “is interesting because you learn different things and you can use them later on in life.” She thinks gangbanging is “stupid and makes no sense.” There are “wild students” at Robeson but added that “if they were more focused on their work they could be better students.” She thinks the school could change for the better if people were “more focused on the kids instead of their behavior.”

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Frack Attack in Illinois

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Anti-fracking activists in Boulder, Colo., during a recent protest. Photo by Kari Lydersen.

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Eco Youth Reporters program, conducted in conjunction with award-winning journalist Kari Lydersen and Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. The Eco Youth Reporters program is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation:

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. – See more at: https://wethepeoplemedia.org/#sthash.4O2DVbp7.dpuf

The Illinois legislature passed a bill the last week of May that would regulate fracking, the controversial practice for getting natural gas and oil by injecting water and chemicals into shale formations. The bill is being called the strictest package of fracking regulations in the nation. But many people disagree with it. That’s because they think there should be a moratorium or ban on fracking. The bill will become law if Gov. Pat Quinn signs it. Right now there is no fracking in Illinois. But if the bill passes, fracking is expected to start. The bill does have some safeguards but critics say that fracking can never be safe.

Industry, of course, is all for the fracking in Illinois. They say it will bring jobs and needed energy. But concerned activists like Annette McMichael and Beverly Walter disagree with the idea of fracking because they are worried it will cause serious pollution of our drinking water and air. They are backing a proposed bill that would put a moratorium on fracking, which would mean no fracking for the next two years, while more studies are done. That bill was introduced in the state General Assembly by state Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).

McMichael is a member of Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment (SAFE). She has had personal encounters with industry representatives near her home.

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Beyonce is My Role Model

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Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Luke O’Toole Elementary School in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood.

Beyonce Knowles is my role model because she’s independent. I believe that she has worked hard for her own success. Beyonce is known as a singer and actress, and she also has a very popular clothing line, Derrion. One day, I believe I can be just like her and become an actress or own my own clothing line.

Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter was born September 4, 1981, in Houston, Texas. She’s an American singer, song writer, producer and actress. Beyonce started off in a best selling girl group, Destiny’s Child. In 2003, Beyonce went solo and debuted her album “Dangerously In Love.” In 2005, the group Desrtiny’s Child broke up. Beyonce then released her second solo album, “B’Day,” in 2006. Beyonce has released 4 albums, the last two are “I AM Sasha Fierce,” released in 2008, and the fourth one, “4,” released in 2011.

Beyonce won 32 awards from 1997-2011, 16 Billboard Awards, 13 MTV Awards and 3 awards with Destiny’s Child. She starred in 6 movies: “Listing Carmen: A Hip Hop Opera” in 2001, “Austin Powers in Goldmember” in 2006, “Cadillac Records” in 2008, and “Obsessed” in 2009. Beyonce is a very good actress.

I interviewed 2 Beyonce fans, Misty Greene and Dania Lester, and this is what they had to say:
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Hip Hop Star on the Rise

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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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The Many Talents of Tony Erwin

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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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Chicagoans Will Fish, Contamination or Not

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Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Eco Youth Reporters program, conducted in conjunction with award-winning journalist Kari Lydersen, Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, and Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood. The Eco Youth Reporters program is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation:

Contaminated fish, sediment and water can be dangerous to one’s health but that doesn’t keep hungry Chicagoans away from the water at Canal Park and the Canal Port River Walk on Ashland Avenue south of Cermak Avenue in the Pilsen neighborhood.

In years past, factories and slaughterhouses used to dump waste in the Chicago River and the canals which connect to it. That contaminated the water and the fish. Pilsen’s coal plant, Fisk, contributes contamination to the water also. It releases lead, mercury, and other contaminants into the air which fall into the river.

Since President Richard Nixon signed the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act in the early 1970s, factories can’t dump waste right into the river and there are limits on what plants and factories can emit into the air. But there is still a strong possibility of water contamination in the Chicago River because the City of Chicago discharges its sewage into the river, about 1.2 billion gallons every day. The sewage and other industrial waste is only partially treated. Starting in 2014, it will be disinfected to kill viruses and bacteria but right now, that is not done. In 2011, the national group American Rivers named the Chicago River one of the country’s 10 Most Endangered Rivers.

And yet people still fish there. We visited the area where the Chicago River meets the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal at Canal Park on a muggy afternoon in early August. Near a grove of huge trees, I met Scott, a 34-year-old man who asked his last name not be used and who regularly fishes in the shallow, calm water flowing through this spot. I asked him some questions about river contamination and previous factory dumps.

“I’m not for sure if it’s contaminated but I love coming here for the scenery and I love fishing,” said Scott.

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Inside the Teachers Strike

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cialis onlinehttps://wethepeoplemedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Mary-9-10-12-Teachers-Robeson-HS-300×225.jpg” alt=”” width=”400″ height=”300″ /> Teachers at Paul Robeson High School protest on the first day of the Chicago Teachers Union strike Monday, September 10. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Interviewed on the first day of the Chicago Teachers Union’s first strike in a quarter-century, Ron James, a history teacher at Hyde Park Career Academy, said he was out picketing because “We need to be out here.”

“I’m a teacher with a classroom full of kids that don’t have enough books,” James added. “We don’t have enough desks. Our kids are sitting around in chairs sharing books as I’m trying to teach them. I do the best with what I have and you want to cut what I have already. It’s asinine.

“We’re out here fighting not just for ourselves but for our brothers at the police department, the fire department and all other public workers.”

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Winners from the Resident Survey!

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generic cialis2 pic of Ethan Myra King and winners of survery-1″ src=”https://wethepeoplemedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Marys-8-8-12-pic-of-Ethan-Myra-King-and-winners-of-survery-12-768×1024.jpg” alt=”” width=”377″ height=”502″ /> Central Advisory Council President Myra King (center) congratulates Mable L. Carter (left) and Deborah Thigpen (right), winners of the random drawing for the 2012 Resident Survey. We The People Media Executive Director Ethan Michaeli stands in the background. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

The 2012 Resident Survey of Chicago public housing tenants conducted by We The People Media received an unprecedented response – more than 500 residents provided their opinions on a range of issues. Among other findings, residents strongly oppose term limits, a policy which is being tried by a small number of public housing agencies in other part of the country. Residents also showed strong opposition to expanded drug testing but were highly enthusiastic about initiatives that offer training and employment.

The Resident Survey was conducted both on-line and in print from May 7 through June 1. The Central Advisory Council commissioned the survey from We The People Media and Local Advisory Councils in Oakwood Shores, Cabrini-Green Row Houses, Dearborn Homes, Princeton Park, Altgeld Gardens, Lathrop Homes, Trumbull Park, Lowden Homes, Wentworth Gardens, ABLA Homes, West Haven Homes, Washington Park Homes, Scattered Sites and senior buildings throughout the South, West and North sides assisted with distribution and collection of the print version.

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Stray Dogs in Englewood

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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.

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Exploring After-School Programs

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Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with SGA Family Services and Luke O’Toole Elementary School, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood.

I’m a student at Luke O’Toole Elementary School and I participate in two after-school programs called ST Math and Achieve 3000. ST Math was developed in 1998 by the Mind Research Institute, a California-based non-profit education group, according to eschools news. ST Math is a program on the computer in which we work with a penguin character named “JiJi” who knows nothing. We can teach him everything we know. At the same time, we are playing a game and practicing our math.

The ST Math Program was started in 2009 in 14 Chicago Public Schools on the South Side. The schools where the program is active have an average of 89% African American, 11% Hispanic and 4% other students, while 98% of the students get a free or reduced lunch, according to a report written by Dr. Shawn Smith, chief area officer.

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