Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CHA link to Chatham mayhem?

Mary Mitchell's column with a lot of quotes by Alderman Lyle:
That a proud community like Chatham is the stomping grounds of gang members is a curse and a blessing.

Maybe now, people will start paying attention to some of the root causes of ongoing violence.
I can recall visiting Chatham as a teenager.

I lived in public housing and thought Chatham was a neighborhood of "siddity" black folks.

Things were done differently in Chatham.

The candy store wasn't operated out of someone's apartment. No one hung out in hallways or on street corners. Children didn't trample across the grass.

If you were lucky enough to find an apartment in Chatham, you made sure no one did anything to get you put out.

The community had standards, and everyone knew what they were.

Today, people who don't have those same values are infiltrating Chatham.
One piece of news out of this Ald. Lyle says that the basketball rims in Cole Park where two young men were shot had to be removed to prevent another shooting. She also says that keeping them down the entire summer is unfair to the good young people.

Here's more from the Alderman:
The South Side alderman blames the Chicago Housing Authority's "Plan for Transformation" for the influx of unsupervised teens who have moved into her ward.

"I don't have a Boys Club or Girl's Club. No YMCA or YWCA," Lyle said. "CHA has put thousands of people out, and most of them have moved to communities of color.

"They didn't track them. They don't know who came back from the penitentiary and moved in with their mother or their girlfriend," she said.
Mitchell got the Alderman on record with regards to bringing in National Guard troops onto city streets to supplement undermanned police officers.
Although Lyle agrees that the Chicago Police Department is "under-manned," she would oppose bringing in the National Guard to patrol.

"You can't bring some well-meaning young people into the area without training and put them in the community. Police work and military work are two very different things," she said.
What can we do to insure our safety this summer? What can we do to prevent another shooting in our community? What can we do to keep another child from getting shot?


  1. I concur with the Alderman with respect to this perspective. Keep in mind too that some of these folks creating mayhem is also "our" children as well as the "section 8" families. The Alderman, along with our other Black politicians and lawmakers need to make and strengthen existing laws and ordinances, making stonger punishment for being in a gang. Gangbanging is a terrorist activity and it is terrorising the common citizens in Chatham. The seniors on my block are completely scared of these folks walking around in groups in the middle of our street. We have to strengthen the laws for the police to better do their jobs, just like Arizona just did to fight the illegal situation there. Alderman Lyle, sponsor some laws; ordinances and rules to help the police to help us. We now can not uproot these undesirables but we can make it hard for them to walk our community with impunity.

  2. I think we need to be careful before we categorize ALL recipients of subsidized housing. Remember that rich children also commit crimes.

    This is not about POLICE, but about us reaching out to those who appear to frighten us. A lot of these young men are scared themselves- hiding behind a tough exterior to cover up the neglect, hurt and pain they have endured.

    Most of you are willing to do NOTHING but dial 911 and that's saddening. I just started community organizing and before now, I thought something like that was pointless. But it's not. Every bit of help counts.

    If you don't want to be part of the problem, be part of the solution.

  3. I also concur with Alderman Lyle in respect to CHA not properly monitoring or tracking relocated CHA residents. It's no secret that crime in the 6th ward as well as the 5th and 8th wards have seen an uptick in crime as a result of the relocations. The Alderman has been literally begging for years that her ward receive more resources to deal with this issue, but to hardly any avail.

    My nephew and his friend were the two young men shot at Cole Park on Thursday, April 15th. They are both residents of Chatham, both having known each other since they were in kindergarten at Dixon Elementary. They are NOT gang members-- they just wanted to play basketball at their neighborhood park on a warm, spring evening. They belonged to the basketball league at Cole Park. Unfortunately some thugs who had nothing better to do decided to drive by and shoot randomly. They are STILL hospitalized as I write this, almost two weeks later...

    We ALL need to be part of the solution! The Alderman cannot do it by herself, try as she might!!

  4. Ms. Branch,

    I'm sorry for what happened to your nephew and his friend. I would love to be in touch with you. Just follow the link with my picture and name for my e-mail.

    I seriously don't think it's just the relocation of folks from the projects causing this problem. As black folks, we have to be careful in not sounding like folks of other ethnic groups who judge us and write racially charged statements on news websites. It's a case by case basis.

    The Robert Taylor Homes did not deter Deval Patrick from becoming governor or Farrah Gray from becoming a businessman. In fact, you have some folks with really strong family values who come from the projects. And I'm not speaking to you, Ms. Branch, as much as I'm speaking to those who won't help the alderman.

  5. Let me add, my nephew and his friend were labeled as "gang members" in the first breaking news story, from the Chicago Tribune-- but it is untrue. I'm not one of those aunts or family members who are in denial-- His mother, and my family don't "play" that!! He has been raised to do well in school, to be respectful, and to NOT have anything to do with gangs or illicit behavior. His dream is to attend Tennessee State University as a Business Major. He will be the second of his generation to attend college. My daughter, his cousin who is a graduate of Dixon Elementary is currently in her second year of college.

    I suppose that any African-American young man who gets shot is immediately labeled as a gang member... Which is just plain WRONG!! My nephew is a member of Rainbow/PUSH, and had just come off his second HBCU College Tour with Rainbow/PUSH, not two weeks-- when he was shot.

    Let's continue to support the Alderman with this issue of violence in our community. We may not always agree, but we can certainly be a part of the solution.

  6. Thank you Mr. Isaacs for your concern about my nephew and his friend.

    I agree with you regarding not slandering other black folk, in particular those that have relocated from CHA.

    My family is originally from the former Rockwell Gardens, and we have all been blessed to have been raised by parents/grandparents who wanted us to get a good education, and to be the best we could be. We did that, and we are continuing that legacy with our children.

    Of course, not ALL former CHA residents are violent, gang-bangers, or whatever-- However, there is a correlation with the upswing in violence in our ward, and our "sister" wards who we share a boundary with, due to the relocation of former CHA residents, and I don't feel that can be ignored.

    I work for CPS, high school students in particular-- mentoring and exposing them each and every single day. Whatever I can do to assist the Alderman and our community, I will continue to do so, but now with a more urgent goal in mind.

  7. Thank you, Ms. Branch. Of course, you seem like one of the few who really cares about the youth.

    I think a lot of kids are mislabeled, and it's a shame. I wish your nephew and his friend a speedy recovery.

  8. I've read the above comments and agree with both of you and hope Ms. Branch you will continue to participate on the blog.

    The alderman's comment about the lack of social services was what made me start Concerned Citizens of Chatham blog. It is unfortunate that we did not receive any resources to assist transitioning residents butthe situation became more severe with the budget crisis. We have lost a number of services that were being provided by social services agencies. I became angry with the CBO's ,at that time, in our community because there was a sense of arrogance that Chatham "doesn't have those issues". While this attitude was going on many agencies especially thise offering family services, who are not physically located in our neighborhood, were losing from 10-30% of their budgets due to cuts in funding from the state. It is great if you and your family have been able to avoid any major issues but there are families in our neighborhood who have issues and need and want help but can't get it anymore and I believe we need to have a holistic solution to solve this problem.

  9. Worlee, sometimes your comments don't make sense. What is a "holistic solution"?

  10. Mr. or Ms. Anonymous,

    We don't really want to hear your gripe about a previous commentor about whether or not they make sense. What is your take on this column? What is your solution?

  11. First, thanks anonymous for participating in the conversation. I have no problem answering your question. A "holistic solution" is that we need to bring in resources from not one area and put a band-aid on this problem. Making the community a police state or just having church's march is not going to solve it. We need both law enforcement, religious, as well as, social services, political,educational and individual resources all working together to come up with a solution.

    I hope this answers your question.

  12. Thanks for the clarification, Worlee. Levois, climb back into your hole!

  13. Anonymous we appreciate your comments and participation and hope you continue.

    My fellow editorial staff member just was trying to keep this on a positive note. I think you will agree with me that this is a serious issue and we need and want to stay focus because there are people out there who may not comment but are reading this blog looking for solutions.

    So keep the positive comments coming and if we are not addressing issues you feel are important, email us and let us know what those issues are.

  14. Also, I passed by Cole Park yesterday around 5:00 p.m., and the basketball rims are still up. No one was in the park...

  15. Just to clarify Worlee, my family moved out of Rockwell in 1968. We then moved to Avalon Park. Mom still there... I moved to Chatham, and my nephew's mom lives in Chatham. Also, I agree with you, in that Chatham is seen as not needing as many services, but that especially today with the reduction in services city and nation-wide-- these services to help our families, children and elderly population in Chatham are sorely needed.

  16. April thank you for your observation about Cole Park.

  17. Anonymous, please see our posts regarding negativity. Also, note that we request commenters to post some kind of name, as April Branch has kindly done.

    We are open to debating-- not attacking. Just so you know, Levois is the creator of this blog, so that is why he is admonishing you.

    Back to the topic...i would love to see a network formed to help us know what services the area has. One way to do so is have a "summit" to see what we have, and then to note what pieces of the puzzle are missing in our community.

  18. Freddrenna M. LyleApril 29, 2010 at 8:04 AM

    Of the 4 rims in Cole Park, 2 have been removed and 2 are locked preventing the ball from going through the hoop. So effectively all 4 are 'removed'.

  19. Thank you Ald. Lyle for responding, and for correcting me. I should have gotten out of the car to inspect the rims...

    It's a shame that in such a nice neighborhood, and at such a nice park, that we can't even let our children play basketball-- or play at all...

    My nephew has finally been released from the hospital-- two weeks after being shot. He's going to recover, but in the meantime, he will miss the remainder of the school year, and will be homeschooled as he still has a bit of recovery to do.

    I plan to be at your CAPS Meeting on the 5th, and look forward to meeting and working with you.

  20. April, I'm glad your nephew has been released and I do want to speak with you for a moment on Weds.


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