The next time your neighbor says in frustration, “ ‘someone should do something about that,’ ” think of our local community organization. Brick-bybrick, these groups have helped lay the foundation for strong communities, sometimes even literally.
Although it may seem like things get done magically, there’s usually a force behind scenes making things magically appear, like new businesses—or disappear, like a reduction in crime. But the wizard behind the curtain could be someone who lives right next door to you or who works on behalf of the community through one of many local organizations.
Creating milestones in education, economic development, quality housing, youth programs, neighborhood beautification, civil rights, and crime, neighborhood organizations on Chicago’s South Side like Chatham Avalon Park Community Council; Park Manor Neighbors Community Council; Chesterfield Community and the Greater Chatham Alliance, have made a real difference for years.
Park Manor Neighbors Community Council (PMNC), the oldest of all four, started in 1948 and was founded by a Caucasian minister when the neighborhood was predominately white. Today, Darlene Tribue, who has been president for 20 years, has a lot of hope for the community. “We’re still struggling, but we have some successes. We’ll never give up on the community and what it continues to stand for and that is integrity, dignity, and justice,” she said.
The first community organization to reduce crime by encouraging residents to get involved with the Community Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) program, the Park Manor Neighbors Community Council is encompassed by the 6th and 20th wards. Right now, members are making plans to start a baseball league and are partnering with Nike. Other initiatives include working with St. Columbanus Church to develop a computer literacy program and holding a health fair.
Keeping residents active and involved, along with working with youth in the area, are two of the biggest challenges community organizations face said Eli Washington, chairman of Chesterfield Community Council (CCC). “One of the biggest challenges is focusing on young people. We’ve lost control. You
have a lot of young people having babies. They don’t have the same training.”While it’s great to be connected to a local organization, having active participants is what helps make a difference, he said.
Frank Sayre started CCC in 1952 and later became the first president in 1955. The organization was originally founded to keep Black people out of the community in the 1950s when Blacks first began migrating into the area. Today, CCC advocates for quality housing and education on behalf of residents, helps prevent crime and promotes the overall well being of the community.
The resources available to residents through community organizations are tremendous while groups like CCC can point directly to achievements like fighting community blight, educating senior citizens about computer literacy and preparing students for standardized tests such as the ACT. CCC, which recently
graduated its 1,000th student from a computer literacy program, reported that 75 percent of its students performed well on the ACT and over the past 10 years, more than a total of $15,000 scholarships have been awarded to students in the area.
Established in 1955, the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council (CAPCC) led by Keith Tate was instrumental in bringing Whitney Young Branch Library to the community and was a driving force behind attracting businesses like Senior Suites of Chatham, Mathers More than a Café and Target into the neighborhood. Working with established businesses like Izola’s Restaurant, Army and Lou’s Restaurant, Tailorite Cleaners and Fletcher’s One Stop Record Shop to fight crime by using cameras promises to benefit residents and businesses alike.
For these groups, collaborative projects make all the difference. For instance, CAPCC and the Chatham Business Association (CBA) joined hands to work with Jewel-Osco and Chatham Foods which led to ensuring Blackowned products like Reggio’s Pizza, Baldwin’s Ice Cream, Grandma Maude’s Red Beans and Rice were all on the shelves at the stores. Other times, members at CAPCC have helped residents keep their jobs by convincing new management at Chatham Foods to maintain 41 employees.
If strong communities are to remain viable, Tate said reaching the next generation is a part of the quation. “Getting young people involved in the community has also been a major challenge for the CAPCC. If you go to any CAPS or community organization meeting, the majority of the attendees are seniors. We’re not reaching the ones to alleviate some of those problems. We have some serious issues with our schools. We have a number of students in our schools being shot and killed. Clearly, we have to reach back,” he stated. He hopes a new community center will help bridge the generational gap. The group has targeted a vacant lot on 83rd and King Drive next door to a local gas station for the center.
Members of Greater Chatham Alliance (GCA) are taking their cause to the streets and are looking for, “No Excuses,” when they get there. Formerly the Wabash, Indiana, and Michigan Block Association, the group changed its name to the GCA in 2008 and was founded in 1983.
GCA plans to launch its, “No Excuses” initiative this Saturday on April 25 at a Block Club Convention at Simeon Career Academy on 83rd and Vincennes at 10 a.m. Carl Lewis, the current president and founder said, it’s going to take more men to be more involved in helping take back the neighborhoods.
“We have to get over fear and apathy. We have to get neighbors to understand that the first line of defense is themselves.”
Four years ago, Chatham women were being held up on their doorsteps. Through tips from the community, three offenders were later apprehended on 82nd and Prairie. The group plans to walk the streets with walkie-talkies and get neighbors involved by becoming crime-stoppers.
GCA is also pushing for a field house at Brown Memorial Park on 85th and St. Lawrence. The future two-story facility could be used to introduce children to physical sciences, oceanography, and anthropology, Lewis said. “In the summer, they can go on field trips that will take them around the world outside of their neighborhood,” he added.
With over 30 Chicago Public School children killed this school year in incidents resulting in violence, ordinary people are doing extraordinary things and serving as a catalyst for change. From the South Suburbs, to Chatham to Englewood, unsung heroes are making a difference at the grass roots level in Chicago’s neighborhoods.
A small foundation doing big things in South Holland, Dolton and in Roseland, Tomorrow’s Youth Foundation works with 120 young people offering academic, athletic and mentorship programs.
Courtland Wilson, the foundation’s executive director said he tries to make sure extraordinary opportunities are available to children in the community. “There is a need for a youth program out here,” said Wilson. “We work with kids to give them an experience they are not exposed to, to prepare them for adulthood.” Pointing to the role sports play in developing teambuilding skills he said, “Some children look up more to their coaches than their fathers…we are here to mentor them and not to play around.”
Wilson, who grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a fatherless home, draws from his own experiences where he looked up to his coach. He uses that experience to help mentor others. While he works full-time, he does not underestimate the role of volunteers and the need for parent involvement. Running the foundation during his free time, he also finds time to volunteer for Habitat For Humanity.
While the foundation works with young adults all year long, last Saturday the Chatham Business Association (CBA) hosted a job fair preparation workshop for local youth at ICE Theaters at 210 W. 87th Street for students between the ages of 16 and 18. Students got help with finding jobs, writing resumes, researching companies and received tips on preparing for interviews. Julian, Hyde Park Career Academy and Harlan, were among the high schools that participated. On April 25, students who came out to the fair, will be eligible to attend a job fair hosted by Chatham Business Association Juniors, a partnership between the Department of College and Careers at Chicago Public Schools.
Working on Chicago’ South Side, Calvin Lane knows about job readiness and prepares young people for life in general. He helps students find employment at Robeson High School where he works as a student advocate on behalf of students challenged by behavioral issues. “At Robeson, most students see they can do more than hanging on the corner or working for McDonalds…what makes my day complete is to see students become college graduates,” he said.
Most of the families he sees live in Englewood and come from foster care or single-family homes. Lane, who came to Robeson as a youth intervention specialist, said, “We deal with the whole student…the home environment has a lot to do with overall behavior and accomplishments of every individual student.” A former activist, he advises students that the only person they have to be better than is the person they were yesterday.
by Lesley R. Chinn
United Parcel Service (UPS) located on 8133 S. Dobson announced plans to close its doors on June 26 and to reassign 130 employees to other full service staffing locations.
Hundreds of residents in the area will have to use alternative sites at Staples on 7530 S. Stony Island and at UPS on 1507 E. 53rd St. where services will be limited.
As a part of the change, Kristen Petrella, a UPS spokesperson said while customers will be able to ship packages from those alternative locations, they will need to go to full service centers in Harvey, Bedford Park or at the downtown station on Jefferson Street in order to pick up packages if UPS attempts to make several home deliveries but are unsuccessful.
Congressman Bobby Rush said he wants the UPS store to remain open but added he’s pleased no jobs will be lost as a result of the closing. The Dobson site is located near his first congressional district office on 79th Street near Langley.
“While I am thankful no jobs reportedly will be lost, I am very disappointed to know my constituents will lose a vital community resource. These are troubling economic times for U.S. businesses. I am working aggressively as a member of Congress to help restore sound fiscal discipline to our nation’s economy.
“UPS must identify and effectively communicate to my constituents, as well as the service area, viable and convenient shipping options available to those who have come to depend upon this location for their shipping needs. We will communicate these concerns to officials at UPS,” Rush said in a released statement.
In response to news about the closing, Park Manor resident Cece Edwards said, “It would be a huge loss on the community. We have customers that live as far as 71st and Halsted who would travel to 81st and Dobson before traveling to Bedford Park.”
The UPS store on Dobson sits in Ald. Michelle Harris’ 8th Ward, not far from her office on 85th and Cottage Grove. “I’m sure once the economy picks back up, [UPS] may reopen the center, but fiscally it’s just not making sense to them,” Harris said.
Posted on 22. Apr, 2009 by admin in Uncategorized
by Lesley R. Chinn
Last Wednesday, in front of the Board of Commissioners, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger supported rolling back last year’s penny sales tax increase by 25 percent. Stroger said he expects the County board to move quickly to approve his proposed ordinance.
If the board votes on the measure in May, it would reduce the sales tax from 1.75 to 1.5 percent. More than $100 million will be generated in new revenue. Stroger said the County would get some additional resources and not have to worry about paying back notes borrowed to pay for last year’s budget. Under the plan, the changes would not be effective until January 2010.
The new federal stimulus funds and negotiations with the state regarding public health care have made the roll-back possible, he said. “It allows us to change the budget that we passed in February,” Stroger stated. In 2007, Stroger supported budgetary cuts of 17 percent to address a record $500 million deficit. The following year, the board agreed to address the need for new revenue by increasing the County’s portion of the sales tax from .75 percent to 1.75 percent. That was the first increase since 1992. The alternative would have been to slash services in order to cut costs.
“In our proposal, when we increased the sales tax by one percent, we stated in our resolution that if we had more than what we needed, we would rebate some of the money,” Stroger explained.
Noting that Cook County only represents a small amount of the sales tax, Stroger said that even if the county took a whole amount off the sales tax, it would still total about 8 percent. “We’re not the majority of the tax at all,” he said.
Stroger said the stimulus funding amount for the county is being negotiated for services such as construction and health care. “If we didn’t know that we were getting stimulus money, we wouldn’t be doing this [rollback]. We’re pretty sure that the government is going to do what it says it’s going to do.”
Since announcing his proposal, Stroger has faced criticism from 4th Ward Ald. Toni Preckwinkle who is expected to run against him next year in the race for Cook County Board President. Preckwinkle questioned Stroger’s judgment in pushing through a one percent increase in the first place and criticized him for proposing the 25 percent rollback after a new county budget had already been passed.
“Some people criticize me when I cross the street…I’m just doing what I said I would do if the [rollback] situation came up,” Stroger said.
Posted on 16. Apr, 2009 by admin in Uncategorized
In an historic election Lewis Towers amassed more than 60 percent of the vote over his opponent last week in the general election, and was elected Mayor of Sauk Village, as the head of the ticket of a political party. This was the first political party affiliated election of its kind held in the Village.
Towers is the first African American to be elected Mayor of Sauk Village. He is a 10-year resident of Sauk Village.
The election victory of Towers and the Citizens for Progress, may not carry the same political historical significance as Barack Obama’s election as President, however, Towers insisted, he was no less thankful and delighted with the results of his election.
“I’m overcome with humility and excitement at the same time,” expressed Towers. “This is my Barack Obama moment, only on a much smaller scale. I plan to work on behalf of the people of Sauk Village and serve them with the highest degree of integrity, honesty and professionalism.”
Married for 35 years and a father of two children, Towers is the Founder/President of Concerned Citizens of Sauk Village, Commissioner of Sauk Village Fire and Police Board, Former Commissioner of Sauk Village Zoning Board, Member of the Sauk Village Parks and Recreation Committee, and a Member of Bloom Township Democratic Organization.
by Dwayne T. Ervin
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. kicked off National Library Week April 12-18 by reading to children at Rainbow PUSH headquarters to support the importance of reading.
Parents and children listened as Keith Feils and Rev. Jackson read to the children. Jackson read, “We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro Baseball,” by Kadir Nelson. The passage he read was about blacks in baseball during the early 1900s who were not allowed to play with whites in Major League baseball.
The 2009 National Library Week theme is, “Worlds Connect @ Your Library.” The week of activities, include the release of the State of the America’s Libraries Report, National Library Workers Day, Top Ten of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2008 and the Third Annual Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Supporting Teen Literature Day.
For Teen Literature Day, teen patients in pediatric hospitals will receive 8,000 young adult novels, audio books and novels.
According to the 2009 State of America’s Libraries report, Americans are turning to their local libraries for services, yet funding for essential resources have declined. According to the report, Americans visited libraries nearly 1.4 billion times and checked out more than 2 billion items in the past year.
Keith Michael Fiels, executive director of American Library Association (ALA) said, “People are also using libraries to find jobs and to get job training. People are finding that they can only apply for jobs online. Libraries have the help people [need] to advance their careers,” he said.
“Literacy is like a light,” said Jackson, who recalled a time when he was in a cab in Los Angeles on his way to the airport. The cab driver was very talkative, he said. “We got to a terminal and the driver kept going…we came around a second time [to the terminal.] Then it occurred to me that he could not read. It was a painful experience to see that,” Jackson said. “Reading is the key to seeing and expanding our world,” he said.
Posted on 16. Apr, 2009 by admin in Uncategorized
by Lesley R. Chinn
Linking youth with options is the key that helps a Markham youth agency survive, even through the toughest financial times.
The Link and Options Center, Inc. recently received a $200,000 grant from Congressman Bobby Rush’s office to house an alternative-toschools suspension program for at-risk students. “If they’re not in school, they’re involved in the criminal justice system and it’s just a cycle,” stated Twin Green, the Link Center’s founder/CEO/President. “Our agency is empowered to providing intervention and prevention programming for students to rise above these circumstances and decide that education, family, and community play a big role in self-sufficiency.”
Although the agency has received federal funding, Green stated that state funding has been a little slow.
It forced her to put her staff on a temporary leave of absence back in December. “That was the first time that Iever had to do anything like that.”
However, by “God’s grace,” Green stated that the agency has been fortunate enough to escape that obstacle because of the support from Markham Mayor David Webb and his administration in addition tocollaborations with other community partners. “We haven’t had to close any of our programs and that’s an accomplishment for a grassroots organization to keep its doors open for 10 years.”
The Center’s 10th year anniversary is August 4, but the agency will celebrate their milestone three months earlier at a fundraiser on May 17 at Sweet Georgia Brown, 4167 W. 183rd St. in Country Club Hills from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $65. For more information, call Natalie Mayfield, the center’s executive assistant at (708) 331-4880.
Based in Markham, the agency offers education and prevention services for “at-risk” youth. Throughmentoring services, opportunities are available for youth to expand their range of choices to empower themselves to achieve positive growth and development, improve their life expectations for future success, and avoid negative behavior.
“It’s an extra outside person that helps them to get them to be the best person that they can be. It’s not that we’re taking away the parents’ role, sometimes with parents’ work schedules— or if there is one parent in the home, a lot of kids don’t get that opportunity to get the tutoring that they need…,” said Damita Cravins, the center’s mentor coordinator.
The agency, which also has a music engineering program where students can produce their own songs, touts an 85 percent success rate of high school graduates attending college and graduating from higher learning institutions.
“The students that we encounter are on the low-end of the grading scale. Once we get these students, we work with them along with their parents, teachers, and counselors to help bring those grades up,” Cravins stated. “We need the parents’ cooperation to help [students] become successful.”
In the mentoring program, students have an opportunity to discuss current topics that impact their lives. Two of the most recent student topics that Cravins spoke of involved the alleged domestic abuse dispute between R&B stars Chris Brown and Rihanna. They also discussed youth gun violence that have impacted more than a reported 31 Chicago Public School students.
“We need to know where [the students’] head is because a lot of times kids have the wrong perception of what’s right and wrong and what’s really acceptable. A lot of kids may think that someone that got shot on their block is what happens all the time. We’re trying to get them out of the mind frame [to understand] that’s not ok. Once we let them know that there are other things going on in the world, that helps them to grow,” she said.
Local Owners Breakdown Bill’s Application to Small Businesses
by Lesley R. Chinn
Support for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) just lost some ground after Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) shifted her vote and recently announced she would not support the measure. Stating that it would eliminate private-ballot unionizing elections if passed, Lincoln also expressed concern that the bill would require workers to publicly declare whether they support a particular union by signing cards.
While Democrats need 60 votes to invoke cloture in order to end a Republican filibuster, the bill easily passed in the House two years ago. Sparking controversy, the legislation continues to draw support and criticism from both sides of the aisle. Designed to amend the National Labor Relations Act, EFCA would make it easier for employees to join or form unions or to assist in labor-related activities. If the bill becomes law, it could shift the balance of power in the workplace and provide an additional option for employees who want to form unions.
A group of local ministers including Rev. James L. Demus III, Rev. Leslie Sanders and Rev. Roosevelt Watkins recently denounced the bill arguing that the legislation would bypass the secret ballot election process and create an environment where employees would be intimidated. While the ministers said they are not against employees exercising their right to form unions at work, they added they are opposed to the process of making votes public.
“Over 140 million U.S. workers will be stripped away [of] their rights to submit private ballots. You should be able to vote privately without people knowing who you’re voting for or who you’re voting against,” Watkins said. “When you vote for or against someone, you often suffer repercussions, intimidations and coercion,” he added.
By votes being public, employees could feel pressured by the process and may feel like they will suffer the, “wrath of unions when they don’t fill out a card,” Demus added.
Also citing opposition in a 2007 news release from the House Committee on Education and Labor, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) said, “ ‘It is beyond me how one can possibly claim that a system whereby everyone – your employer, your union organizer, and your co-workers – know exactly how you vote on the issue of unionization gives an employee ‘free choice’ …
“ ‘It seems pretty clear to me that the only way to ensure that a worker is free to choose is to ensure that there’s a private ballot, so that no one knows how you voted. I cannot fathom how we were about to sit there today and debate a proposal to take away a worker’s democratic right to vote in a secret-ballot election and call it ‘Employee Free Choice,’ ” he said.
Critics also oppose the mandatory arbitration of disputes involving the terms of a first contract and say that it could lead to improper intrusion of government into private business affairs.
In a released statement, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) explained the current law and how the process would change under the act. Responding to whether the act would eliminate the secret ballot process, he said, “The EFCA would allow employees to freely choose to form a union by collecting authorized signatures of a majority of employees…
“This act would not take away their right to a secret ballot; instead, it would establish the principle that majority support for a union is all that is necessary for the formation of a union. Under current law, workers may use the majority sign-up process only if their employer agrees. The majority sign-up method respects the free choice of workers by giving them the freedom to choose a union in a simple, peaceful way.
“The Employee Free Choice Act does not abolish the secret ballot election process; that process would still be available,” he said. “However, [secret ballot] elections would no longer be the only way to create a union when the employer is resistant.”
Durbin said the bill would also address issues in the collective bargaining process so that if an employer and a union are engaged in bargaining for their first contract and are unable to reach an agreement within 90 days, either party may refer the dispute to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).
“This requirement would guarantee that the bargaining process would reach a conclusion in a timely manner,”
Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) chimed in, stating that the option for a secret election would still exist under the act.
“There’s been some confusion with the legislation that has caused some critics to believe that there is a violation of a secret ballot election, when there’s not,” Burris said. “You still have an opportunity for the secret ballot.” A claim that the bill eliminates the secret ballot process is just a “misconception from the other side,” he said.
Erikka Knuti, a spokesperson for Media Matters, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit media watchdog organization said the EFCA does not take away the secret ballot election and attributes confusion over whether the bill eliminates the process based on, “skepticism regarding union organizing and activities.”
“Currently, the option of the secret ballot rests in the hands of the employer. The Employee Free Choice Act
would put that option into the hands of workers. It’s extremely important in governing this issue to make sure that people both get what the current law is and the proposed changes by the Employee Free Choice Act,” she said.
For opponents who argue the bill is unconstitutional, DePaul University historian James Wolfinger disagreed. The legislation basically updates the National Labor Relations Act enacted into law since 1935 and addresses the current process under the NLRA which he said tends, “to get dragged out.”
President Barack Obama supported the measure during his campaign and as a U.S. Senator. Although he did not talk much about the issue in front of general audiences, he stated in a labor federation meeting in April 2008 that he would, “ ‘make it the law of the land,’ ” when he became president, according to a Townhall.com report.
Demus told the Chatham Business Association (CBA) members at their monthly meeting on this past Tuesday at South Central Community Services, 83rd and Ellis that the EFCA, “will shut a business down cold.”
“This particular act is being debated, talked about right now in our United States Senate even as we speak,” he said. “We don’t need this particular act to come into play” said.
Demus invited Gregory Baise, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA), to give CBA members more details about why they shouldn’t support the act. The IMA is a statewide advocacy group representing more than 4,000 manufacturing company members. Baise is also treasurer of the Economic Freedom Alliance, formed last year to educate the public about the need to support a free enterprise system.
“Many of the leaders of the large trade unions have had an agenda for the last several years where they have asked our senators and congressmen to pass a piece of legislation where it would make it easier to organize a union in the workplace,” Baise stated.
“Currently in the workplace, if the employees wish to organize or become part of a union, there is a process set up by the National Labor Relations Board that is followed. If these individuals in the workplace sign a card…that sets off a process that must be followed. The union will have an opportunity to make its case and it is supposed to be done in a fair and truthful manner. Then comes an election where you can go in and pull the curtain and vote yes or no to a union. Then you walk out of the booth and go about your business.” Baise said that it is possible that an employee could be uncomfortable in the workplace or intimidated about joining a union if it was known that they didn’t participate in the card check process. “We feel very strongly about making decisions in the privacy of our minds and homes,” he said.
Concerned about the bill’s passage in the Senate, Baise said, “There have been several Democratic Senators who have concerns about the bill and are unlikely to support it in its current form. At the moment, it seems like the momentum has slowed down.”
Joe Caldwell, vice chairman of the CBA, said unions could force small businesses like his to go out of business. “If a union comes in and negotiates a contract and there is an automatic clause that calls for an increase in wages every year and we have a downturn like we have now, it could be the death man to my company because if I don’t have the funds to do it, I’m still forced by contract [to comply].”
While there is a good argument on both sides, Caldwell said that there should be limitations in the bill in
order to help small businesses especially when they hire more than 75 percent of employees nationwide.
Baise encouraged business leaders to talk with their elected officials about the EFCA and how it would impact
In other CBA news, Henry B. Gray Jr., District 1 EEO Contract Compliance Officer for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), announced that IDOT has contract bids open for May 15. Normally, IDOT has eight contract bid periods a year. To inquire about these and other opportunities, interested applicants can call the Chicago (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) DBE Resource Center at (312) 939-1100.
The Chatham Business Association Juniors will host its second annual employment preparedness workshop and job fair for youth between 16 and 18. The workshop will be held on April 18 from 9 a.m. to noon at ICE Theaters, 210 W. 87th St. (87th and the Dan Ryan). Registration begins at 8 a.m. The workshop will teach students about how to write resumes, complete job applications, appropriate dress for interviews, customer service and preparing for an interview. Students participating in workshops are eligible to attend the job fair on April 25 at the same time and location. For more information, call the CBA at (773) 994-5006. All Students must register for this event at: www.chooseyourfuture.org/calendar. Students must also be registered with www.youthreadychicago.org. Space is limited to 500 attendees.
by Lesley R. Chinn
Three months ago, former Chicago Bulls star Eddy Curry’s ex-girlfriend, Nova Henry and her 10- month-old daughter, Ava, were brutally killed.
For the first time, Henry’s mother spoke about her daughter’s domestic violence troubles and her restraining order against her alleged killer.
Closing out Women’s History Month, Henry attended a campaign fundraiser for Cook County Sheriff candidate Sylvester Baker Jr., held last Saturday at Captain Hard Times Restaurant on 438 E. 79th St. She urged attendees to stand up against domestic violence.
Wearing a black sleeveless dress and pearls, Yolan Henry carried her daughter’s purse as a symbolic gesture. Henry says she must now serve as a voice for her daughter and granddaughter. Both were victims of domestic violence. Atty. Frederick Goings, who is Nova’s exboyfriend, was reportedly charged with their alleged murders. Before her loved ones died, Henry said Nova filed a temporary restraining order against Goings but let it lapse.
“When you file a restraining order, there’s so much red tape, so many hoops you have to jump through, they often don’t follow it,” Yolan Henry stated.
Henry said Goings had a history of domestic violence. She said a state tracking system should be in place to flag past abusers instantly, when a restraining order is initiated.
The tragedy of Nova’s and Ava’s deaths have impacted both the Henry and Curry families, said Henry as she wiped the tears from her eyes after speaking. “A bullet can affect one person or two, but in my family, it has affected many,” she said.
In addition to losing her daughter and granddaughter, Henry said she also suffered a third loss through the court system when her grandson, Noah Henry Curry, was taken away from her. Noah is the son of basketball star Eddy Curry, who now plays for the New York Knicks. Noah lives with Eddy’s mother, Gayle. “I am really at the mercy of the Curry family—-whenever they say I can, is when I can see him. I know he is being well taken care of. I just hope I will be able to see him.”
Yolan Henry recently saw her grandson for an hour at a McDonalds. Henry says she misses him “tremendously.”
Before her death, Nova Henry reportedly signed an agreement which said that if she died the child would go to his father. Yolan Henry said she plans to have the order appealed and hopes that she would be able to raise Noah jointly with the Curry family. She added that she plans to argue her daughter’s abusive attorney-boyfriend coerced her into sign the agreement giving Curry full custody. “All I’m entitled to are grandparents’ visitation rights, even though I have raised my grandson since birth.”
Meanwhile, Baker called for a domestic violence unit in the sheriff’s office to enforce orders of protection. Also joining Henry and Baker were Ronald Holt, whose son, Blair, was killed in 2007 on a CTA bus; and Rev. Dr. Willa Pitts, whose two sons, Kendrick and Carnell, were killed in March.
by Lesley R. Chinn
It’s just one year away and the countdown to the 2010 Census is about to take off in full swing. The Census Bureau launched a massive operation on Monday to verify and update more than 145 million addresses as it prepares to conduct the 2010 Census.
Nationwide, more than 140,000 census workers will participate in the address canvassing operation. Census officials say it is a critical important first step to assure that every household receives a census questionnaire in March 2010. All information is kept confidential.
Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census counts citizens living in the United States every 10 years and participation is required by law. The forms will go in the mail in March of 2010.
The data collected from the Census is used to distribute Congressional seats to states, determines which community gets what services and it lays the groundwork for how $300 billion in federal funds will be distributed to local and state governments annually.
According to Muriel Jackson, spokesman for the Chicago Regional Census Center, getting people counted is an issue in all communities. “The U.S. Census Bureau tries to get 100 percent participation in the Census. For every person that does not get counted in a community, means there’s going to be a net loss for every person that is not going to be counted because they are not getting federal dollars.”
Usually completing the Census form has tons of detailed questions that could take hours to complete. However, Jackson says that with the short format, the Census form should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.
Allaying concerns of residents who may be afraid to report information for one reason or another, Jackson said that there is no reason for apprehension. The Census data is highly confidential, she said. “It is against the law for the Census Bureau or any of its workers to disclose the data to anybody. If the President of the United States wanted to get Census data, we couldn’t provide it.”
The Census data follows growth patterns to determine what the needs are in a community. “Local communities use that data to project how many schools they are going to need, where they need new roads, if the population aging, or if they need new hospitals,” Jackson stated. “It all creates a snapshot that federal agencies use to send money to local communities.”
Sixth Ward Ald. Freddrenna Lyle said Black people have historically been fearful of the government intruding in on their lives. “So people don’t feel comfortable disclosing their personal information to the government.”
Lyle said education is the only way to help people get over that fear. There is a dollar value attached in answering the form, she said. “If we have more people responding truthfully, then we may have been able to get an extra program or an extra person for a summer job because they [the Census Bureau] would have had accurate numbers,” she said.
Participating in the Census also presents a problem for the Village of Robbins, whose population has more than 6,700 people. Mayor Irene Brodie said it is because of a lack of participation that the Village gets less money to fund big-ticket items such as putting salt down on the streets in the winter when it snows. “We need so much. The Census certainly does hurt us if we don’t participate,” she said.