Monday, June 9, 2014

Red Eye: Chatham residents stand up for community in wake of violence

Via The Chicago Neighborhoods
So three of Chatham's future leaders are quoted in this article from the Red Eye. Unfortunately Chatham has been in the news unfortunately for various incidents of gun violence in recent years. The most recent incident occurred on 79th Street and resulted in the death of a CPS special education teacher.

In any event three people you should know in that piece. You should know Jahmal Cole who wrote this great book about Chatham titled The Torch of Decency, Rekindling the Spirit of Civic Organizations. And of course recently he's been hosting events often holding court at the Whitney Young Branch of the public library. He believes the issues of Chatham involves a lack of role models and intends to do "positive loitering" to help Chathamites take back their community.

There's also one of the founders of Fleck's Coffee - Zuli Turner - who says that Chatham isn't a lost cause. Not only does she own the coffeehouse located @ 343 E. 79th St, she also owns and operates a daycare center Young Achievers Academy @ 520 E. 79th St. I'm sure many of us would agree with that sentiment.

Finally Alderman Roderick Sawyer's chief-of-staff Brian Sleet who gave a great real estate advertisement for Chatham:
Brian Sleet, chief of staff for Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), whose ward includes Chatham, said crime is confined to a few blocks. "The majority of Chatham is still a very safe, very positive area," he said.

Challenges for Chatham include lack of food options and transit-oriented development. The neighborhood needs a facelift because it looks the way it did in the 1950s, but the vibrant storefronts are now gone, Sleet said.

"The community is not under siege. It's really a great location. While there are some actual challenges, the majority of Chatham has a lot of good things going on and is moving in the right direction," Sleet said.
 As for Mr. Cole you should check out his new project My Block*My Hood*My City lately he's been visiting city parks - referred to ask 12 Parks in 12 Weeks - as part of this project. Recently he's been to Cole Park which in recent years has also been the site of a few incidents of gun violence.

Also check out this infographic from Red Eye some statistics about Chatham. Also be advised that while the community area is a vast swath of area, the neighborhood itself is much smaller than depicted in the infographic as in general the boundaries are from roughly 75th Street to 87th Street north & south and Cottage Grove to the Dan Ryan east & west.

1 comment:

  1. I'm surprised Mr. Cole thinks Chatham lacks in role models. Given that those stats (map) in Redeye include part of Alderman Michelle Harris' 8th ward, you would think Chatham was a lower middle-class, or low income community. I beg to differ!

    This is the problem with the media when they reach out to certain demographics that have not been a part of this community long enough to give the full discussion. Chatham was always from 78th, or 79th to 87th street, from State to Cottage Grove. Though some folks will say it started at 75th. Harris' ward always was called Avalon. I came in 1964 and there was no East Chatham.

    Chatham has a very big percentage of civil servant employees, active and retired: teachers, policemen, postal workers, firemen, city, state, county and federal employees. Not to mention, professionals like judges, lawyers, doctors, professors, nurses, politicians and on
    and on. Many of these folks are now over 50 years old. While 40 somethings make up the next biggest group in Chatham proper. The 8th ward use to have a middle-class population too.

    But Alderman Harris has allowed her ward to take a lot of unscreened, CHA apartment and homeowner renters in the last few years. She was a good old Daley suck-up. Looks like she works for Rahm too! Naturally, Chatham stats would be down––especially if you toss parts of the 8th wards census stats in with Chatham.

    A lot of the violent crime that takes place in Chatham is by far from outsiders! Violent crime spills over into our defined area from Harris' ward. Or, take for instance, the 87th recent shooting on May 31st: the victim was an Englewood resident. I seriously doubt, but could be
    wrong, that the criminals, who recently shot the schoolteacher on 79th street in late May, are living in Chatham proper. More likely they are from another community.

    Seems to me that article should have focused more on real solutions like our area getting the Obama library at Chicago State which could bring $220 million in revenue if the mayor would push for us––– and how to keep the predators out who victimize Chathamt!

    People in Chatham have always fought for change and have not lost any hope as Mr. Cole suggests. Or the 50 to 80- somethings would be moving out in droves!

    What we are tired of our politicians who don't listen to us, don't fight for us, or care only for their own self-aggrandizement and take our votes for granted. This is what needs to change. We need to vote bad politicians out until the right people are in place! People who are for residents and not for what they can get in fame and fortune!


PLEASE READ FIRST!!!! Comment Moderating and Anonymous Comment Policy

While anonymous comments are not prohibited we do encourage you to help readers identify you so that other commenters may respond to you. Either read the moderating policy for how or leave an identifier (which could be a nickname for example) at the end of the comment.

Also note that this blog is NOT associated with any public or political officials including Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer!