We The People Media in the News


I was honored recently to guest host “Chicago Newsroom,” the weekly public affairs show hosted by media legend Ken Davis and broadcast over the CAN TV network. My guests were the estimable Chris Robling, vice president at Jayne Thompson Associates and a frequent Republican commentator, and Dave Lundy, principal at  Aileron Communications and a frequent Democratic commentator. We discussed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s tenure so far as well as state politics and the upcoming governor’s race. You can watch the show by clicking on the photo above.

By coincidence, the same day, I was also a guest on “Morning Shift” over WBEZ Chicago Public Radio discussing the arrest of two community leaders on charges of lobbying for Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. You can listen to the show here:



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Meet the Real Robeson High School


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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Bronzeville Residents Aim for Police Substation on 47th Street


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

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We The People Media’s Coverage of the Chicago Mayor’s Race


Dear Friends:

In the next few hours, voters in Chicago will decide on a new mayor as well as the City Council and other citywide offices. Among the issues the successor to Mayor Richard M. Daley will face will be the housing crisis for the city’s poor. Last year, when the Chicago Housing Authority opened its waiting list for the first time in years, more than 200,000 families registered for just 40,000 slots – on the waiting list. The new Mayor will have to decide how to fulfill his predecessor’s pledge to rebuild mixed-income communities on the sites where the infamous high-rises once stood.

Since the beginning of the mayoral race, We The People Media has covered the contest from the perspective of those who see Chicago’s low-income families as an underutilized resource. As you make your decision, we offer you an easy way to read all of our articles and videos. These reports include exclusive interviews and comments with the candidates.

Please don’t hesitate to write to us and let us know what you think – about our reports as well as about the mayor’s race itself!

Click here to read all of our coverage of the Mayor’s race, beginning with our first pieces in December:

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Torture Victim Reflects on Burge Sentence


The 4 ½ -year sentence handed down to former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge recently for federal crimes of lying and obstructing justice did not sit well with a lot of people, including Mark Clements, who is one of those tortured by detectives under Burge’s command.

This protester was among the many encouraging Mayor Daley to take part in jailing former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, and to go after Detectives under his watch accused of torturing murder suspects in their custody in the 1970 and 1980s, during a rally outside City Hall in May 2010. Photo by Mary C. Johns

“It was outrageous,” Clements declared to Residents’ Journal during a phone interview on Jan. 25, a few days after the sentencing. “It was a smack in the face to the African American community concerning what Mr. Burge did.”

Clements, a longtime advocate to jail Burge, was tortured in June 1981, when he was 16 years old.

Burge, 63, was sentenced Jan. 21 to serve 4 ½ years in a federal prison for lying in a federal civil trial about torture committed against more than 100 African American men and women at Area 2 and 3 Police Headquarters in the 1970s and 1980s. The torture victims were murder suspects in police custody. Burge was fired as police commander in 1993.

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Residents’ Journal Reporters Share Results of Youth Surveys


Click on the image to view the third episode of this season’s “RJ TV,” on August 2, 2010.

Watch Residents’ Journal Youth Project Director Quintana Woodridge’s discussion with RJ young adult reporter Jasmine Hunt about participation in the Chicago Youth Voices Network’s “Nuf SAID” project, where Hunt and other youth reporters surveyed their peers across the city of Chicago in March 2010, about issues of education, crime, violence, health and the environment, housing and homelessness, jobs and employment issues.

The two RJ reporters also discussed Hunt’s scheduled interview with 3rd Ward Ald. Pat Dowell regarding pollution, an upcoming article on school violence by another youth reporter, and they also discussed a “Youth Truth” video produced by the Nuf SAID group in July 2010.

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What We Need Now

by  , Youth Reporter from Altgeld Gardens

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program class at People for Community Recovery, a not-for-profit organization based in the Altgeld Gardens public housing development.

Growing up in Altgeld Gardens for 19 years, experiencing everything that goes on out here. I don’t even know where to begin.

There’s a lot of violence—gang violence, too.

But the main thing that concerns me in my neighborhood is there is nothing to do in our neighborhood. There are not many programs to keep the kids occupied and out of trouble.

So how do we help these kids so that they can stay out of trouble?

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