Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) riders who’ve been dreading the May 19 Red Line South Reconstruction project, must now learn the ends and outs of getting to work and to other destinations amidst re-routes and shuttle buses, from now until the projected Oct. 2013 completion date.
During the $425 million renovation project that completely rebuilds the tracks and improve stations on the 10-mile stretch of the Red Line South from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th Street, Red Line service will be re-routed south of Roosevelt Road onto the elevated Green Line tracks to Ashland/63rd Street.
Travel routes and other information can be found on CTA’s website at www.transitchicago.com.
“These informational materials are part of our continuing efforts to make sure CTA customers are well-prepared for the start of the Red Line South reconstruction project,” said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson. “We want to make sure CTA passengers have the tools they need for a smooth commute.”
The project might inconvenience a multitude of CTA riders, but CTA officials feels the finished product is worth the inconvenience and will benefit Red Line riders for decades to come—through faster travel times, increased reliability, spruced-up stations and a variety of other improvements.
“Recognizing that this project will affect thousands of customers each day, CTA has worked to provide multiple, convenient options for people to get around during the construction,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “We want our customers to be well-informed about the myriad travel options we’re offering, so that they can get where they need to go.”
An online trip planner is also available at www.redlinesouth.com.
Using Google Maps to provide information on multiple transit-route options, including travel-time estimates, riders can use an internet-connected device to enter a starting point and destination, choose weekday or weekend travel, and indicate a time of travel.
The CTA is also distributing fliers, targeted to various communities in the project area, with travel options and information on alternative bus and rail service.
Additionally, CTA will deploy “Red Line South Ambassadors” to south Red Line stations to answer customer questions and provide project and travel information.
Ambassadors will wear bright red shirts, and be stationed at the nine affected Red Line stations during afternoon rush hours.
Alternative CTA travel options and discounts include:
• FREE shuttle buses from Red Line stations south of 63rd Street to connect customers with the Garfield Green Line rail station
• FREE entry at Garfield Green Line station for bus shuttle passengers
• Red Line train service running on Green Line tracks from Roosevelt to Ashland/63rd
• Expanded bus service on numerous nearby bus routes
• 50-cent discount on bus rides south of 63rd Street
Built in 1969, the South Red Line tracks are well beyond their expected lifespan, according to information provided by CTA. Despite ongoing repairs and maintenance, between 30-40 percent of the branch includes slow zones in which trains must travel well below the designed speed limit. In some cases, trains that would normally travel up to 55 mph are instead running at 15 mph.
Part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Building a New Chicago infrastructure renewal program, funding for the work is part of more than $1 billion in federal, state and local financial resources announced in late 2011 by Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Emanuel for the Red and Purple lines. The Governor’s Illinois Jobs Now! Capital program is providing more than $700 million of the total investment.
By Deborah Bayliss
Chicago Native son, Brian Sibley, 24, also known as “Kells,’’ is not your typical male model. The former King College Prep High School student stands out because he says, he’s not in the business just for fame and fortune, but because the opportunities he’s afforded as a model, might allow him to positively impact Chicagoland youth.
Sibley was saddened he said, to hear about the death of Hadiya Pendleton and other children who lost their lives to gun violence.
“I could easily continue to live my life in California and act as if Chicago (and the state of it) didn’t exist but I won’t do that,” Sibley said adding that he’d specifically like to work with Little Black Pearl Workshop and Cease Fire and the organization’s Executive Director, Tio Hardiman.
Sibley realized early on, his keen sense for fashion, but couldn’t afford to keep up with the trends. However, a girlfriend at his church that encouraged him to pursue modeling.
“She was already a model and asked me to consider it,” Sibley said. “All I knew about was Tyson Beckford; he was the most famous African American male at that time.”
Sibley found his way to his current home in Los Angeles by way of Detroit.
“I had a cousin who told me that Detroit was the fashion capital of the U.S.,” Sibley said. “I talked to my mom (Karen Wilson). We had family there so we moved there at the end of my freshman year in 2008 but my mother hated it.”
A family friend recognized Sibley was a good kid and he took him to Silver Fox Furs in Detroit.
“I met the owner and he said if you want to model we have a commercial shoot coming up. I showed up for the commercial and still photography shoot,” Sibley said.
Fast forward three or four months, the photo-shoot no longer on his mind, Sibley while playing basketball one day received a frantic telephone call from his mother. She was hysterically telling him about photographs she saw of him in a well-known Detroit magazine.
“My mom was at the beauty shop flipping through a magazine and she didn’t know about the still shots and came across them,” Sibley said. “I see my phone and it was ten missed calls from her. She was yelling in the beauty shop. I told her this is the start of it. When I got back to school, the girls were reacting to seeing me in the “Native Detroiter” magazine.”
Sibley eventually moved to California to join the Navy and continue his pursuit of a modeling career. Recently he competed and won the first-ever, Face of Men’s Fashion Week, LA. As such, he’ll serve as the official brand ambassador for the event in Oct. His duties will include hosting a red carpet event, networking, increasing brand awareness in the menswear community, media interviews and press meetings.
“After competing, I found out May 6 that I won,” Sibley said. “I am enjoying the status. We haven’t done any press as yet. I’m going to judge a men’s wear designer competition June 15 in Hollywood, California. I’m looking forward to everything this ambassadorship entails. On Jan. 1, 2014, I will have my first major modeling contract with Slater Model Management.
Sibley’s mother, referred to her son leaving Chicago and making a name for himself, as “escaping.”
“I wouldn’t call it escaping,” Sibley explained. “I was used to my environment. I will just say I was blessed to see that there was more outside of Chicago. I was going through a lot when I was 17. My mom worked in Milwaukee, Wis. and I was in Chicago and had that big house to myself. I turned to a life of things that I never want to turn back to.”
Sibley said the people with guns don’t know what they’re doing when they destroy lives.
“That’s why I’m in this, so that I can uplift Chicago,” he said. “I want to team up with Mr. Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls), to do outreach. I think he has the influence power and motivation that people want to see. But he’s quiet and soft spoken.”
Sibley said he’s not looking to make a bunch of money and just spend it.
“I want to build full gymnasium for John Smith School, Elementary School in Hyde Park. If it wasn’t for basketball, I wouldn’t have gotten through it. If you don’t learn to buckle down you won’t succeed.”
By Deborah Bayliss
Located in the heart of Bronzeville for more than 71 years, The South Side Community Art Center, the oldest African American Art Center in existence, (SSCAC) is gearing up for its 48th Annual Art Auction & Fundraiser.
The SSCAC is the only remaining center, of 110 total Federal Art Project’s centers that stemmed from the Work Progress Administration (WPA). In the late 1930’s, the WPA was a national program that operated its own projects in cooperation with state and local governments, which provided 10%-30% of the costs
“The auction is our main fundraiser,” said Heather Robinson, SSCAC’s executive director. “It keeps the legacy of the Art Center and African American Art alive. It also keeps the original mission of the Art Center alive and supports the lives and careers of artists.”
Scheduled to take place from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, June 8, the event will be held at the Illinois Institute of Technology, 3211 S. Federal St. and will feature art from established and emerging artists, including such nationally recognized artists as Elizabeth Catlett, Eldzier Cortor, Romare Beardon, Margaret Burroughs, William Carter, David Driskell, Irene Clark and Allen Stringfellow.
In addition to its annual fundraising event, Robinson said the Art Center has survived over the years through community support, donations, corporate and private funding and yearly grants.
Funds raised will support the organization’s mission: to preserve, conserve and promote the legacy and future of African American art and artists, while educating the community on the value of art and culture.
The Auction also gives emerging artists the opportunity to have their works viewed and purchased alongside nationally and internationally established artists.
When asked what the Center means to the community, Robinson said, “It’s a living history of the neighborhood and arts in Chicago and America. It’s an important resource because of that. It’s also a place where people can create and hear lectures right here in the neighborhood.”
Honorary Chairs for the event are Commissioner Michelle Boone, City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell. NBC 5 Chicago’s LeeAnn Trotter will be the evening’s emcee.
SSCAC Board member Diane Dinkins Carr will be honored for her long-term service to the SSCAC, including serving as President of the Board of Directors (1998 – 2011).
Since 1940, SSCAC has been teaching the visual arts and providing art education and programming to Chicago’s metropolitan area youth, adults and seniors. SSCAC helps to fill the void resulting from the reduction of art education programs within the public school system and increased museum and class fees. For the first time, this year’s auction will include art submitted by city high school students and college students.
Tickets for the event are $65 in advance and at the door. For more information, contact SSCAC at 773-373-1026 or visit www.sscac.us.
By Deborah Bayliss
With the prevalence of food deserts in urban communities, access to fresh produce can pose a challenge for South and West Side residents.
To help combat that problem, students in a farm program administered by the Chicago Botanic Garden, beginning the second week of May, will converge in Hyde Park for lessons in composting, planting, harvesting, recipe creation and cooking.
“This is a Chicago Botanic Garden, Green Youth Farm program,” Chicago Botanic Grower, Renelda Gardner said as she tilled soil Friday morning in one of the 70 vegetable beds located in the canopied greenhouse situated against the backdrop of Dyett School, 555 E. 51st St.
“We have a partnership with Dyett,” Gardner said. “We also let them use our garden as a classroom. Students come out here and do various things in the garden and learn various things as part of Dyett’s plant science class. We connect it together and we’re looking forward to doing more things with the school in the future.”
Student’s spring farming efforts are necessary to provide fresh veggies, fruit and honey for an upcoming famer’s market that will start sometime in June, last throughout the summer and into the fall.
Recruited from various high schools throughout the city, students are provided instruction on beekeeping, team leadership, public-speaking, running a farmer’s market and farm stands, and receive a small stipend.
Though registration for this program is closed, anywhere from 20 to 25 students are enrolled.
“We’re teaching agricultural science and it’s something students will take with them because you can plant anywhere,” said Gardner who added, people often chuckle at her last name. “You can get a pot and put you some lettuce in there, or spinach…so this will stay with them forever.”
It’s almost impossible for one to miss the white tent where the farmer’s market stand is set up next to Dyett School and the white canopied “greenhouse” with the neatly ordered growing beds filled with bright green sprouting vegetables. The produce there is growing fast and has already been harvested once.
“This will be the first year we can harvest the asparagus because it takes about three years before you can actually harvest well,” Gardner said. “We also have an herb garden, radish, rhubarb.”
“Gardens like this one are popping up everywhere,” Gardner said.
“The thing I like teaching most is container gardening because that lets people know, no matter the amount space you have you can grow something, such as loose leaf lettuce that you cut and it will come back again.”
Green Youth Farms also sell the students’ food and produce to Open Produce on 55th and Cornell and Z &H Market Café on 47th St.
“We call them and let them know what we have available for harvest and give them a list and they tell us what they need and we harvest it and deliver it to them,” Gardner said.
Though bees are a rare sighting these days, a small swarm of them can be found in the two bee hives at Dyett.
“We harvest fresh honey,” Gardner said. “Students wear bee suits and have learned to handle the bees. It’s cool now so the bees are not that busy but there is fresh honey in the hives.”
Adults who want to learn gardening can take classes offered by the Botanic Gardens.
“There are always classes somewhere but you may have to hunt for them,” Gardner said. “In order to keep these classes going, people have to sign up for them so maybe we need to advertise and promote the programs more.”
People sometimes will show up at the Dyett location with questions about something that’s gone wrong with something they planted or questions about how to get rid of a pest problem. Gardner said those involved with the garden are more than happy to share helpful information.
A wealth of information can also be found on the Chicago Botanic website at chicagobotanic.org.
As for her own, gardening passion, Gardner path seems predetermined.
“People always laugh when they hear my last name and they see what I’m involved in,” said Gardner who fell in love with gardening after a cucumber grew from seed she and her husband planted.
For more information, please visit the Chicago Botanic Garden website at www.chicagobotanic.org.
By Deborah Bayliss
Kira Mangum, a junior at Chicago’s Young Women’s Leadership Charter School (YWLCS) spoke with bright-eyed amazement about the eight-city college tour she was about to embark upon along with other classmates at Chicago’s only all-girls school.
“I want to be a pediatric or neonatal nurse,” said Mangum, an advanced placement student who said she was excited to be leaving April 14 to tour colleges on the East Coast. “I think it’s a great experience for juniors to see that you don’t have to go to colleges in the area you live or are familiar, you can venture out.”
Fifty YWLCS high school juniors and chaperones are currently on the college tour scheduled to return this weekend.
“In many cases, this will be the first trip outside of Chicago for many of our juniors,” said Deniece Fields, YWLCS school director.
The group will visit and tour six colleges of varying sizes, specialties and influences, including College of William & Mary (Williamsburg, VA); Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA); Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD); Hood College (Frederick, MD); University of Delaware (Newark, DE); and Barnard College (New York, NY).
The students will also enjoy a tour of the United Nations, the Bronx, and Times Square.
Administrators at the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School and Fifth Third Bank who sponsored the trip, surprised the teens with a party including balloons, backpacks stuffed with goodies, and a six- foot long “Cake Boss” inspired cake that looks like the bus they are traveling on.
Tours are planned as a way to help acclimate the students into the college application process and to make them aware of what to look for in a college. It also makes them aware of the appropriate questions they should ask college recruiters because some of the girls are the first in their family to attend college.
“We’re so proud to sponsor your field trip,” said Melissa Overton, a vice president at Fifth Third Bank during the event. “I remember how exciting these trips can be.”
Ashley Allen was to say the least, excited about the college visits.
“I plan to study medicine and biology. I’m going on the trip with an open mind.”
Fields and educators at YWLCS know all too well the importance of these trips, especially for empowering and inspiring students who live in communities that constantly struggle with crime.
“Consider Kira Mangum’s experience.” Fields explained, “She lives near 80th & Houston Streets where gun violence is rampant. She can’t leave her home alone and travels at least one hour to get to and from school.”
One hundred percent of the 2013 class has been accepted to college and have been awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships.
A majority of the traveling juniors are from the south and west sides of Chicago and 75% of them will be first generation college students.
Each year, YWLCS, a lottery-based enrollment school, enrolls nearly 350 girls grade 7-12 and prepares them with the tools to graduate high school, continue through post-secondary education, and go on to lead fulfilling and productive lives.
By Deborah Bayliss
Universities on the south sides of Chicago are coming together in an effort to train the next generation of health care leaders in the fight against cancer.
On a project entitled “The Southside Cancer Disparities Initiative,” Chicago State University (CSU) announced last week that the school will partner with the University of Chicago’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“This partnership provides a unique opportunity for Chicago State’s Master of Public Health graduate students to receive an elevated level of hands on experience,” said Dr. Wayne D. Watson, president of Chicago State University via press release. “This new initiative is another example of how Chicago State is meeting the challenge to offer students cutting-edge, innovative education that prepares them to make a difference in the world.”
The universities’ partnership will create and explore opportunities for graduate students interested in biomedical and cancer research.
Students involved in the program will focus on cancer education, training and community engagement.
Supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health, the new venture will work with community-based health organizations to prepare and train staff in cancer disparity issues.
Health organizations also will work on collaborative projects with students who receive mini-grants to conduct community-based participation research that will focus on work with community members.
CSU’s master of Public Health program was approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education in June 2010, as a program within the College of Health and Sciences to focus on minority health and health equity.
The program also addresses the lack of diversity among public health professionals.
Statistics on African American women, who die from breast cancer, is higher than any other group in the U.S., but are even higher in Chicago than the rest of the country, according to the press release.
“Most of CSU’s students represent Chicago’s Southside communities, specifically Roseland, Woodlawn and Englewood,” said Thomas Britt, MD, MPH, principal investigator on the grant and Chair, Health Studies at CSU.” These communities suffer an ongoing shortage of public health professionals and disproportionately high morbidity and mortality rates in cardiovascular, infectious diseases and cancer. Our partnerships will provide an entrée of cancer disparities curriculum to prepare a health professional interested in the understanding and elimination of cancer disparities on Chicago’s Southside.”
By Deborah Bayliss
Underserved communities are expected to see a demand for primary care physicians grow by about 10 percent — the largest expected increase in 12 local communities examined in a study published last week by Health Affairs journal.
The study finds that expansion of insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with an expected increase in demand for primary care physicians, would directly impact some 44 million people who live in areas where the projected increase in demand for primary care providers is greater than 5 percent.
Nationwide, at least 7 million Americans live in areas where demand for additional primary care doctors will jump by more than 10 percent, according to Elbert Huang, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine, and co-author Howard Finegold, an analyst in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
Some of Chicago’s poorest and underserved neighborhoods are expected to see the greatest demand for additional primary care doctors in 2014, as the Affordable Care Act boosts the number of newly insured patients seeking medical services, a new study has found.
“You might be able to dramatically reduce the number of people who are uninsured, but it does not ensure there’s a provider waiting for you once you get that insurance card,” said Huang.
The study, sited in a University of Chicago press release, forecasts that 29 million people will get health insurance for the first time in 2014 under the health care law, resulting in 26 million additional doctor visits per year. That, in turn, will require 7,200 more primary care providers, including doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, at a time when the numbers of these practitioners are falling.
Huang’s report found the expected rise in demand for primary care physicians will hit different parts of the country harder than others.
For Chicago, the report notes that areas expected to see the greatest demand for primary care doctors have fewer providers per 100,000 population, lower median incomes and higher proportions of blacks and Hispanics.
“The places that don’t have enough primary care physicians now are the places where people are under-insured or uninsured,” said Kohar Jones, MD, director of Community Health and Service Learning at Pritzker, in response to the study. “So places that already have shortages of primary care physicians are the places where the changes of the ACA would be most likely to bring more people into the system, driving up demand.”
The Affordable Care Act attempts to expand the primary care workforce by incentivizing doctors or future doctors to choose it as a specialty, such as a funding boost to the National Health Service Corps, a federal program that offers financial assistance to support primary care doctors in medically underserved areas.
In addition, the law calls for an increase in the level of Medicaid reimbursements to doctors who practice primary care, which includes family practice, internal medicine and pediatrics.
Historically, physicians have made up for lower reimbursement rates by shortening individual visits and seeing more patients. In the case of primary care doctors, the number of practices that use nurse practitioners and physician assistants to shoulder some of the responsibilities of treating additional patients may increase, Huang noted.
“Beyond that, there’s no way we can grow enough doctors in that short of time to accommodate this dramatic increase,” he added. “There is a market opportunity to be a primary care service provider; it’s just that we need people to realize that and take advantage of it.”
By Deborah Bayliss
A youth organization calling for a south side hospital to raise its trauma center patient policy to include individuals over age 15 is looking forward to meeting with a key decision maker on the matter following a Jan. 27 protest that led to the arrests of three protestors.
“At first there was no feed-back (from the University of Chicago (U of C) Medical Center, also known as the University of Chicago Medicine, 5841 S. Maryland Ave.),” said FLY (Fearless Leading by the Youth) member, Kiyeria Henderson, 17. “I totally disagree that an adult trauma center is not a priority, she said responding to remarks by Dr. Kenneth Polonsky, dean of the Pritzker School of Medicine who was quoted saying other priorities trumps, an adult-care trauma center.
“I understand that there is youth gang violence on the South Side but some of them are dying after being shot because they have to be taken so far away to receive treatment.”
STOP (Southside Together Organizing for Power, a combination of various organizations who fight for human rights and racial and economic justice), FLY, and SHE (Students for Health Equity), the groups calling for U of C Medical Center to open an adult, trauma-care center, demonstrated Jan. 27 at the University of Chicago’s new $700-million hospital as part of their ongoing quest for an adult trauma-care center for the city’s south side.
The protests in January were staged to call attention to the fact that the South Side is without trauma care centers that treat individuals over 15 years of age for injuries sustained in shootings, stabbings, car accidents and other traumatic incidents.
Alex Goldenberg, a U of C alum and student organizer with STOP, was charged with trespassing during the protest but the charges have since been drooped.
“Following the aftermath of the Jan. 27 protest, they promised to host discussions with one led by Dean Polonsky, who is a key decision maker at the U of C hospital,” said Goldenberg.
The youth groups have been calling for a trauma center since 2010 in a campaign that was started by FLY after the passing of one of its co-founders, Damian Turner.
On August 15th, 2010, Turner, according to information provided on the group’s website, was shot at 61st and Cottage Grove Avenues, two blocks from the U of C Medical Center.
Chicago Fire Department paramedics were required to drive him to the nearest Level 1 trauma center, more than nine miles across the city to Northwestern Memorial Hospital on the northern edge of downtown. Though he was still considered a child by his mother and his community, he was too old to be treated at the U of C Medical Center trauma center. Turner, at age 18, was pronounced dead less than 90 minutes after a bullet ripped into his back.
There once was an adult trauma center at the U of C Hospital that opened in 1986 and closed in 1988.
U of C Medical Center’s response to the Chicago Citizen Newspaper’s query as to why the hospital’s trauma center omits individuals over age 15, is that in 1988, the University of Chicago Medical Center decided not to renew its application with the City of Chicago’s adult trauma network because participating in the network overwhelmed its surgical facilities and delayed life-saving surgeries for many other patients and so a decision was made to concentrate hospital resources in the clinical specialties such as a Level 1 trauma center for children up to age 15, a neonatal intensive care unit, a burn unit and hospital-based emergency chopper response.
U of C Medical Center added that, when the decision was made not to renew its application in 1988, the city had eight trauma centers, including one at Michael Reese Hospital on the south side, which closed its doors in 2008, and Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
U of C Medical Center also cited cost, saying that an adult Level 1 trauma center costs millions of dollars a year to operate and that age 15, is in accordance with the Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Center Code adopted by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
FLY points out on its website that:
• Patients living on the Southeast Side of Chicago face the longest ambulance run times of any residents in the city.
• In 2011, on the Southeast Side of Chicago, there were approximately 120 children aged 17 – 18 in need of trauma care due to gunshot wounds–thirty of those children died.
• In 2011, of children ages 17 – 21, there were over 200 children in need of trauma care on Chicago’s South Side due to gunshot wounds and 72 of those children died.
Goldenberg said the U of C Medical Center is a billion dollar operation and needs to and can do more.
“They’re going to have to do something.” Goldenberg said.
Asked whether the U of C Medical Center plans to meet with the activists group, the response was that the hospital met with representatives of the group in the past and is committed to open conversations with the community.
Goldenberg said a discussion with Dean Polonsky is expected but no date has been set.
The University of Chicago announced construction plans to better connect parts of the campus.
University officials presented initial plans for a new landscaped pathway and common space west of Ellis Avenue during a Feb. 27, public meeting with Ald. Leslie Hairston.
The new Campus West Pedestrian Pathway, to be located where 58th Street now comes to a dead end, is part of an ongoing effort to better connect parts of the campus.
“Through a number of projects, we have worked to create new connections across campus, encouraging the kind of safe movement and informal encounters that bring our scholars and students together,” said Steve Wiesenthal, University Architect and Associate Vice President for Facilities Services. “The new Campus West Pedestrian Pathway will make important connections within our medical campus, and help join our medical campus and the main quadrangles.
The project will cover the area between the entrance to the emergency room at Bernard A. Mitchell Hospital and Ellis Avenue, replacing an existing vehicle cul de sac.
The project will feature new green space, with more welcoming walkways that extend the feel of the main quadrangles and new outdoor seating areas. Large, concrete planters that currently impede pedestrian traffic will be removed. Safety features, including new lighting, will be added.
Ingleside, a building just north of the cul de sac that has reached the end of its functional life, will be removed to open up the pedestrian pathway to Crerar Quadrangle. The lease for the U.S. Post Office, the only current tenant of the building, expires later this year; postal officials have declined offers to relocate the office elsewhere on campus.
Ambulances and other traffic will continue to have access to 58th Street, which will remain open between Maryland Avenue and the emergency room entrance. East of the emergency room entrance, the curbed street will be replaced with pedestrian paving blocks, with vehicle access limited to emergencies and authorized, off-hours loading.
Currently, the only access to the Crerar Quadrangle from 58th Street is through a small private driveway. The new configuration will connect the new common space to the quadrangle and create a new outdoor gathering space with tables and chairs.
Construction on the project is expected to begin July 2013 with an expected June 2014 completion date.
By Deborah Bayliss
A well-known retired army Lt. Gen. feels it’s time for Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to ask for federal assistance to help stop Chicago’s gun violence.
“The Federal government has the capacity to come in and reinforce what is happening with the local government,” said LT. General, Russel L. Honore, U.S . Army (Ret).
Honore, who emerged as a national hero after leading federal troops in the rescue of thousands stranded in New Orleans days after hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in the summer of 2005, made his remarks during a press conference held at the Chicago Military Academy in the Bronzeville neighborhood, Thursday afternoon.
Julieanna Richardson, founder and executive director of The History Makers, a nonprofit organization with the nation’s largest video oral history archive, led the press conference that included community leaders and Military Academy students and administrators.
“These students spent the last hour talking to Gen. Honore about the lack of community centers and parenting classes for parents who have lost their way, the need for role models and mentors to be brought into the schools. I’m just hoping Mayor Rahm Emanuel will listen as he grapples with the issues of bringing order into our schools and our communities. I’m hoping he also will bring leaders and advisers in like a Lt. Gen. Honore because he knows how to do things and he also listens…there has been too little listening.”
Honore said looking at history to see where one comes from, where one needs to go and how one should get there is imperative within the inner city community.
“Some of the solutions these young people came up with are absolutely brilliant,” Honore said. “Investment in our children is an investment in our nation. One student quoted from my book, (Leadership in the New Normal) saying ‘People who are poor are not free.’ When you’re poor you don’t have the freedom to select where your kids go to school or what doctor they go to. What we face today in terms of violence is centered (in) poor communities. But if we don’t fix it in the poor communities, as we see in New Orleans where I’m from in South Louisiana, that violence can spread out into other communities.”
Honore stressed the city’s violence is fixable.
“It’s still a great city but to deal with the issue today, when I hear a student today talking about hearing gun fire in the neighborhood where elderly people are afraid to go out, it’s up to the government to fix it and if the local govern can’t fix it, they need to ask for help from the state and if the state government can’t help, they need to get help from the federal government.”
Honore said federal relief can be used to help stop the gun violence just as it’s used during Tornados and floods.
“Maybe you can handle it,” Honore said of city officials. But, if you need help, get federal help in here and let’s control the streets so our children and the elderly people can be in a safe community.”
This crime Honore said, stems from an inflow of drugs and jobs moving out of this city, creating pockets of poverty and violence.
“We need to reinvest in our inner city and our infrastructure,” Honore said.
When asked about bringing in the National Guard, Honore said, “I think we’re a few steps from using the National Guard. I don’t think we’re using all the resources we have. I’m not quite sure we’re using all the police now and all of law enforcement to include everything that’s available in the county and everything that’s available in the city.”
Honore laid out a strategic approach to stopping the crime, saying a block by block approach works.
“You come in and make the block secure then you expand from that,” Honore said. “If New York can do it, I know Chicago Police can do it but you may also need federal help…Trust me, we can tap this now but it’s going to take a commitment and it’s not going to be popular. People are going to say ‘why are you bringing that to our community’…well do you want law enforcement or do you want people shooting day and night and destroying the lives of innocent young people like the little girl (Hadiya Pendleton) who lost her life a few weeks ago?
By Deborah Bayliss