Yes, while very strong and powerful men & women from Chicago or call Chicago their home ignore the plague of violence in the community of #SouthChicago, this brave woman, Rep. Kelly has had enough and is speaking out!
“We’re not going to save every life or change every life around. But people want to have hope, they want to feel that people care about them,” Kelly told MSNBC. “I don’t want it to be just talk. We need to come up with solutions.”
Hope! Yes, hope!
The same hope that Federal Marshals gave to that tiny little black girl in a stark white dress that morning of November 16, 1960 in front of William T. Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans.
Yes, it's that bad in #SouthChicago right-here-right-now where little boys & girls are afraid to walk to and from school in their own community, in their own neighborhoods!
And, yes, we may need the National Guard and Federal Marshals to walk those who are victims being held hostage from education and a free life by teenage death gangs.
One of the federal marshals, Charles Burks, remembers those days: "For a little girl six years old going into a strange school with four strange deputy marshals, a place she had never been before, she showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn't whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier. We were all very proud of her."
Kids on the streets of #SouthChicago are saying if they don't get shot that day then they're lucky. That's they way the look at it #everyday!
Well, instead of just luck, we need to help these kids be safe enough in their everyday environments to get an education and / or just live another day.
It's a civil rights issue! Our kids of #SouthChicago have the right to walk to and from school and be at school without being harassed, bullied, jumped, beat up and shot!
Rep. Robin Kelly, a Democrat from Chicago is asking for ideas for action. She's asking for all of our help because these kids of #SouthChicago are all of our kids when as she blatantly points out, "it costs less to have a kid in college for four years than it does to have them in prison." (the full article on this "emergency summit" is included below in this post but for now..).
I have some ideas Rep. Kelly.
Right off that bat, there is some bad things that have historically went down in #SouthChicago
Camp Douglas, located on the south side of Chicago, became a place of brutal misery to many Confederate prisoners during the Civil War. Rumors of crowded and unhealthy conditions, along with death and disease, were widely circulated in the southern press during the war. The camp soon earned what many people would consider a fitting nickname... “Eighty Acres of Hell”.
The camp received its first prisoners in February 1862, after the Battle of Fort Dickson and soon overcrowding, starvation, scurvy and a complete lack of medical attention made the place into a living hell. The death toll for the camp, during the last three years of the war, has been estimated at as many as 6,129 men, which is slightly less than one-third of the entire prison population at the camp. Most perished from scurvy and smallpox, despite the best intentions of relief workers, who organized a fund to care for the men in 1862. In 1864 alone, 1,156 inmates died at the camp.
Today, the Lake Meadows condominiums are located on the site and a short distance away is a monument to Stephen Douglas that is located on the remains of Okenwald. The burial crypt is located between Lake Park Avenue and the Illinois Central Railroad tracks. The tomb was not completed until 1881 because of the failure to produce backers who would give private funds for its completion. The tomb was eventually funded by the state of Illinois and, as Richard Linberg in his book RETURN TO THE SCENE OF THE CRIME notes... “the monument is the last visible reminder of Chicago’s hidden role in the War Between the States”.
Here's a December 1969 news article regarding Lake Meadows in #SouthChicago right off South Lake Shore Drive near Hyde Park right where Camp Douglas was located:
"12 New Incidents: Lake Meadow Residents Unnerved by Rash of Crimes" - 1969
Residents said the problems at Lake Meadows are a symptom of increasing crime at Chicago Housing Authority buildings a few blocks away. Their reaction typifies the tension between black, middle-class tenants at Lake Meadows and their low-income neighbors.
"I think one of the issues is that Lake Meadows is no longer able to attract the kind of residents they used to," one tenant said. "Now they have people with different values and housing project mentalities who are not respectful of people or property. This is why I think there has been a rash of robberies." http://www.chicagoreporter.com/news/1969/12/12-new-incidents-lake-meadow-residents-unnerved-rash-crimes
All right, that was 1969 and here is recent news article from July 25th 2013 from South Lake Shore Drive by Lake Meadows were Camp Douglas was located:
Rash of robberies reported along Chicago lakefront near Hyde Park, Kenwood
Chicago Police issued a community alert Thursday night after three robberies this month happened along the south lakefront.
Two robberies occurred on the 4300-block of South Lake Shore Drive on July 5 and July 19, and one on the 4700-block of South Lake Shore Drive on July 17.
Two to 13 male offenders reportedly displayed weapons or physically attacked victims and then stole property.
"It's just really alarming that we're still having these robberies around the Hyde Park neighborhood, it just seems like a really great neighborhood where we can be safe, but it really scares me," said Arielle Topps, lakeshore path runner.
Police patrols can be seen along the path, but joggers and cyclists say they know to be aware of their surroundings.
"I usually see a lot of cops riding along this path, so I feel safe," said Imelda Hernandez, lakeshore path runner.
And for some young women, a run on a gorgeous evening can't help but carry a hint of self-defense.
"You have to be aware, period, you have to watch your surroundings, looking back, side while you're running. Who's ever around, know your surroundings," said Genae Davis, lakeshore path runner.
Chicago police say they will increase patrols along the lakeshore path.
Henceforth, one cannot defy the facts and cannot deny that hate, violence and death that has ruled this area of Chicago known as #SouthChicago for decades and centuries!
What needs to happen now before any healing and cleansing can begin for #SouthChicago?!
Native American Indians who are descendants of the tribes of the land of #SouthChicago need to be invited for a Pow-Wow where they can pray, dance, chant, drum & smoke away the negative energy that now inhabits this land that was once a positive energy spot. (to fully comprehend the essence & value of a spot & its energy please see my earlier post today on this blog on Ley Lines Ever notice how you feel a certain somethin' somethin' at a certain spot at a certain time a day? ... the way the sun or moonlight seems to change your mood? ..... #LeyLines http://theneweverydaymedia.blogspot.com/2013/07/ley-lines.html)
5 Years Murder Free Braddock - Pittsburgh, PA
Can Mayor John Fetterman resurrect the gritty metropolis that was once left for dead? By Christine H. O’Toole
Pop. Pop. Pop. To John Fetterman’s experienced ear, the noise ricocheting down Library Street in Braddock sounded like shots from an assault weapon. So he pushed his 4-year-old into the house, dialed 9-1-1, jumped in his truck with a shotgun and sped in pursuit of a man running up the block.
Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock since 2006, isn’t technically a policeman. But he has earned a reputation for blunt, direct action to revive a neglected town.
oh, yeah, he's a white guy! ... but, go ahead, without any gang of you, without weapons and just your bare knuckled hands = try and tell him (to his face) that he's just a "white guy" and what does he know?! and what can he do to help. ..better read this first if you're such a sucker as to question.
“There was a shooting in that area in the past year,” he explained a few weeks after the January incident. “I am the chief law-enforcement officer — I can appoint police in case of emergency. I don’t know if it was brave; it was a split-second decision — but look at the horrible shootings where first responders [arrived] too late.”
The runner Fetterman stopped was unarmed, and the ensuing news reports questioned whether the mayor had overstepped his role. But Fetterman and the people of Braddock are rewriting the rules about how run-down steel towns change their luck — and they have an army of politicians, artists and activists behind them.
This Monongahela River metropolis, positioned 10 miles east of Pittsburgh, was once the symbol of the wealth that industry could bring: a belching steel mill, a clutch of soaring churches, a bustling main street and a population greater than 20,000.
Currently, just 2,300 residents live in the town where redevelopment has continually taken two steps forward and one back. While Braddock works to emerge from bankruptcy, a former borough manager is convicted of embezzling city accounts. Derelict lots are cleared — then the hospital closes. New owners buy a landmark building but can’t get electricity.
In Braddock, spring’s been just around the corner for 30 years.
“People don’t understand how much adversity there is here. It’s extraordinary,” says Fetterman, who came to town in 2001 to run after-school programs for youth. “So many people end up on margins of society for good. [The answer isn’t] just hard work and pull yourself by your bootstraps.”
But hard work does help. Next to the mayor’s home, a sidewalk sandwich board announces that Braddock Community Café — the town’s first eatery in decades — has opened in the Nyia Page Community Center. Refurbished in 2010 with the help of the Levi Strauss & Co., which adopted the gritty aesthetic of Braddock for a national promotion, the former church sports a new stained-glass window.
On the former site of UPMC Braddock, bulldozers are preparing for a new office building with long-term tenants. Some 40 vacant lots have been claimed for new housing. And local food devotees are praising a plan for a forthcoming restaurant from chef Kevin Sousa, whose cutting-edge solo project Salt of the Earth has thrived in revitalized Garfield since opening in 2010.
But Fetterman warns it’s too early to pen Braddock’s happy ending.
“We’re not next in line for boutique hotels and Whole Foods,” he says evenly. “Our issue is abandonment, not gentrification. We define success as holding on for the next eight seconds.”
To call Fetterman the poster child for Braddock’s resurrection would be misleading. At a bulky 6’9”, he’s far from childlike, with a shaved head, beard and tattooed forearms inscribed with the dates of local murders. But the 43-year-old York native has received national media attention for his outspoken belief that art, artists and unconventional ideas can revive a town. Recognition from Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, The New York Times and even “The Colbert Report,” to mention a few, has given him an image that led to outsiders like Levi Strauss supporting Braddock.
But the publicity also gave way to the town becoming the home of a recent movie production, scheduled for an October release. And as the founder of Braddock Redux, a completely volunteer-run nonprofit with green tendencies and a focus on youth and the arts, Fetterman holds some master keys to the area’s redevelopment.
Though resident Jovan Villars, 31, is proud of the strides the town has made in safety and services since his childhood, he recognizes that challenges remain. Today, more than 40 percent of Braddock’s household incomes are below the federal poverty line of $23,050, and the percentage increases for families with children at home. Woodland Hills School District, which serves Braddock and 11 other communities, has struggled with attaining consistent academic success at all district schools. Although the municipality will mark five years without a murder in May — a credit Fetterman says he shares with various law-enforcement partners, including District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. — gunshots still echo.
Young entrepreneurs and artists have been lured by Braddock Redux’s vision: employ art and green initiatives, and recycle empty buildings. A prime example, in size and location, is the Ohringer Building on Braddock Avenue. When Braddock Redux offered free studio space in the 80-year-old structure, 30 artists showed up; foundations then gave grants for a redesign. Now, Braddock Redux owns and pays taxes on the property (though problems with a Duquesne Light transformer have kept upper floors dark). Down the block, a building still emblazoned with the flaking name Unsmoke provides seasonal workspace for other creative types. And the former St. Michael’s convent acts as a hostel for temporary visitors curious to connect with those creative pioneers.
As he sits next door to the community center in his loft lined with black-and-white photos of Braddock, Fetterman admits that maintaining equilibrium between what long-term residents need and new ones want is tricky.
“We need to achieve this balance between the community we have and the community we need to continue to grow in the right direction; that philosophy underpins everything we attempt to do. I’d say we’re right where we need to be.”
Newcomers pitch in to renew community assets. Braddock’s Carnegie Library, built in 1888, is a grand Victorian pile that embodies the town’s steelmaking era; rescued from demolition in the 1970s, it is more than a national historic landmark — it’s the beating heart of the town.
The library’s residency program gives homegrown artists space and stipends to pursue their work, and affords locals the opportunity to learn from them. Deavron Dailey, 34, currently holds the post. “I get energy, inspiration and resources,” he says of the library, “and giving back to kids and adults in the community is an uplifting feeling.”
In 2007, the town partnered with Grow Pittsburgh to convert newly razed lots to an urban farm. Interns from the Braddock Youth Project work there during the summer to produce organic fruits and vegetables. However, the community center, in the former First Presbyterian Church across from the library, makes a statement about Braddock’s brand of renovation.
Fetterman long dreamed of having a community center and eyed the church as a logical spot. But it wasn’t until late 2009, as controversy mounted about the closure of UPMC Braddock, that Fetterman received a call from Levi Strauss. After reading some Fetterman interviews, the jeans company wanted to highlight Braddock in an independent documentary and a national ad campaign, and offered $1 million to renovate the church and provide services.
The space now hosts neighborhood events, like birthday parties and wedding receptions, and houses programs like Head Start and the Western Pennsylvania Police Athletic League’s boxing gym. The nonprofit Mon Valley Initiative helped build 13 new houses and rehab 30 other rentals.
As the muddy bulldozers on-site show, the former UPMC hospital spot is now being redeveloped through a unique contract spearheaded by Trek Development. Woodland Hills School District needed new administrative space to replace its aging building in Churchill. Substitute superintendent Al Johnson and former board vice president (and current project lead) Marilyn Messina talked with Tina Doose, President of Braddock city council, and realized that relocating to Trek’s proposed office building made sense. Working with design firm Rothschild Doyno Collaborative, Trek proposed buying the Churchill site from the district for new senior housing and moving five administrators and 20 staffers to Braddock.
“The fiscal argument was compelling. We’ll save money,” says Johnson. “But this is a great opportunity. Braddock’s future is our future, too.” MedExpress will take space at street level. And a complex of 24 new homes, called The Overlook, completes the redevelopment of the site.
For the record, an old building (not a new one) swayed chef Sousa to open his next restaurant in Braddock. The 1929 Cuda Building will house Magarac (Croatian for “donkey”), which cleverly honors Bunyan-like steelworker champ Joe Magarac.
“It’s a beautiful old box,” says Sousa affectionately of the space. “It’s a great location as a spark for the business district. It’s right near the community center, it’s got a beautiful parking lot and there’s a farm 15 feet away [where we’ll] grow our own produce. It’s a great, great opportunity.”
The McKees Rocks native, 38, says he’s “interested in neighborhoods that have previously not been given credit for diversity and viable business options.” He’s referring to two of his other popular East End spots — Salt (in Garfield) and Union Pig & Chicken in East Liberty. With Magarac, he’s offering something for the whole community, as are the upstart beer aficionados known as the Brew Gentlemen (who will be down the street in the old Harco Electric building).
The space for Magarac, owned by nonprofit Heritage Community Initiatives, will give Sousa enough room for the restaurant, plus a basement cocktail lounge, a casual barbecue eatery modeled on Union Pig & Chicken, and a commercial kitchen that will run a Meals on Wheels program and train the unemployed.
“We’ve been talking to Kevin for a few years,” says Jen Flanagan of Springboard Kitchens, a nonprofit that provides food supplies for the disadvantaged and prepares those with employment barriers for jobs in the food industry. “The opportunity to be exposed to a chef like Kevin is an incredible opportunity for our clients.” Sousa expects to open Magarac near the end of this year, and hopes to move his family from Polish Hill to the Ohringer Building soon after.
City council president Doose, who’s raised three children in Braddock, says the momentum is building. “You know the phrase, ‘it takes a village’? I say, ‘It takes many committed leaders to rebuild a village.’ We are in the process of rebuilding the village of Braddock.” https://www.myworldnews.com/Channel/106-wpxi/Story/65058-braddock-celebrates-5-years-murder-free
But I do believe right in #SouthChicago's backyard there's a community organizer that's kinda, somewhat famous?!. .. #BuyFreshBuyLocal
Demand help from President Obama = hold him accountable!!!
And, beyond Obama = there's Bono, there's Yoko Ono who know about peace, love & respect and have experience & lots & lots of resources & influence. ... ASK! They'll help (unlike JayZ). ASK Harry Belefonte!!! ...
I FEEL YOUR HOPE CHICAGO!!!!
While Congress tangled over gun control legislation earlier this year after the killings in Newtown, gun violence in Chicago went on unabated, taking lives in clips of one, two and three at a time.
“I equate it to when a 747 crashes as opposed to a two-seater,” said Rep. Robin Kelly, a Democrat from Chicago. “In Chicago, every day we have mini-massacres.”
After a particularly bloody Fourth of July weekend, in which 72 people were shot, 12 of them killed, Kelly and a couple of fellow local Democratic members of Congress have convened an “emergency summit” to address the issue of gun violence facing Chicago and so many other cities across the country. The two-day “National Summit on Violence in Urban Communities,” hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus, will begin on Friday at the Chicago State University Convocation Center in Chicago.
Speakers and attendees from all over the city, region and country are expected to attend, including members of law enforcement, the clergy, politicians, community leaders and victims of gun violence. Panelists will discuss what approaches have and have not worked. And organizers hope to glean practical strategies that could be applied in Chicago and in other struggling communities.
“We’re not going to save every life or change every life around. But people want to have hope, they want to feel that people care about them,” Kelly told MSNBC. “I don’t want it to be just talk. We need to come up with solutions.”
This year, the gun violence in Chicago has been relentless: people have been shot on front porches, young men die on street corners, babies have been shot in their parent’s arms.
After the Fourth of July carnage, Kelly and two other black congressmen, Bobby Rush and Danny Davis, convened a meeting to talk about ways to address the rampant gun violence.
“After the Fourth of July, that was just it,” said Kelly, a first-year congresswoman. “We had to do something.”
The trio cobbled together a plan and reached out to other Congressional Black Caucus members to convene the “emergency summit” on gun violence.
“I’m really hoping that we can come out with a plan of action,” said Kelly, who won a special election in April to replace former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. “I’m frustrated by the level of violence and it’s so overwhelming. [But] we can’t become so overwhelmed that we can’t take that first step.”
“We’re seeing television coverage of the disruption in Cairo, but they pale in comparison to the carnage in Chicago,” Rush said while announcing the summit earlier this month.
It’s about what’s missing, too
Residents of neighborhoods most affected by gun violence are dubious of the latest statistical dip in Chicago murders touted by the police. A handful fewer murders has not meant an increased feeling of safety or a better quality of life. Rallies and meetings haven’t sparked a groundswell against those wielding illegal guns. And the high-profile killings that have gripped the nation and drawn the national spotlight haven’t eased the burden of the harsh realities of city life here in Chicago.
“Hadiaya Pendleton is not an abnormality. Matter of fact, the attention that Hadiya Pendleton got makes some people resent it. Like, nobody paid attention to my friend or my loved one who was killed,” said TJ Crawford, of Chicago’s Black Youth Project, a youth advocacy organization.
“That stuff don’t change a thing,” said Jamil Smith, a 21-year-old mentee of Crawford’s. “I don’t think [high-profile killings] raised an eyebrow in the streets. It’s one of those things like, the media pays attention so we’re going to feel something for a second but then it’s somebody else getting killed after that.”
Deputy Superintendent Al Wysinger will be representing the department at the summit along with other police officials, police spokesman Adam Collins said.
“While there have been significantly fewer shootings and significantly fewer murders in Chicago this year as the result of our comprehensive policing strategy and our partnership with the community, there’s more work to be done,” Collins said in a written statement to MSNBC
Congresswoman Kelly, who came into office vowing to fight a war of her own— against illegal guns and the gun lobby–called Chicago’s gun violence issue “multileveled.”
“I think it’s everything,” Kelly said. “There’s somewhat of a culture of violence. I think it’s poverty, a lack of jobs, after school programs, mentoring. Neighbors need to be neighborly, it’s all of that. But even if it’s small changes that we can make, that’s progress.”
Kelly admitted that she’s frustrated with Congress’ stalled national gun control efforts despite polling that shows most Americans support legislation such as expanded background checks.
“On the federal level I’m disappointed. When 90% of America wants universal background checks and we can’t pass it, it’s absolutely ridiculous,” she said.
Missing from the broader gun safety debate are voices from urban America, Kelly said, where the burden of gun violence weighs most heavily.
“We tend to speak a lot about gun safety in terms of Newtown and Arizona and mass killings,” Kelly said, ignoring the “mini-massacres” that are routine in Chicago and other cities.
“I’m going to continue to beat the drum,” she said. “We have our anger and outrage and we need to turn it into action. A month from now we have to be just as passionate.” http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/07/25/gun-violence-in-chicago-black-leaders-convene-emergency-summit/
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