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Showing posts from January, 2015

Stop the presses! I gotta mourn the REAL Ernie Banks!

Ernie Banks was a spectacular ballplayer and special guy.  But, Ernie, with all respect, I'm getting the idea from media response your passing, and the recent passing of Mayor Byrne as well, that Chicago is living in the past. Makes me wonder: have Chicagoans (and/or its media) simply given up on the city's future? Instead of informing, inspiring and mobilizing Chicagoans to solve critical problems like youth violence, media spend so much time these days celebrating fallen heroes and merely mourning murder after murder of innocent teen victims like Hadiya Pendleton . . .

Anyway, so does it feel high up there in firmament of the media-driven Star System that gives Chicagoans such an imperfect idea of how people actually think about the issues of the day? It listens only to you stars, seldom to the people. And it remembers you only in certain idealized, superficial ways. In your case, you were always smiling, always full of love, always boosting baseball, the Cubs and Chicago. T…

Top Ten Reasons why Chicago needs a Comprehensive Chicago Directory of Youth Violence Resources - Part I

Printable version (1800 words)

Here's a question that will either put you to sleep or strike you as a crucial first step in Chicago's long-term goal of making itself a safe city for all Chicagoans, not just some. The idea would be to make Chicago the safest big city in America (as any Chicago mayor would be proud to call it) not just in terms of low crime rates but in terms of low levels of youth violence of all kinds.

The question: In Chicago how great is the need for a searchable, accessible, comprehensive and current directory of resourcesthat all Chicagoans, young and old, can use to reduce violence in their families, neighborhoods citywide and even region-wide? This would be a multimedia, multi-device, neighborhood specific list of resources made specific to all 77 Chicago neighborhoods. It would be made available in versions designed for five audiences:
Young peopleAdults: parents, teachers, community leaders  Donors (foundations, individuals, businesses) and Advertisers (b…

How I CAN'T BREATHE Can Become I CAN BREATHE in Chicago (and elsewhere)

Printable version of this 2500 word post.
Derrick Rose started it all with a tee shirt worn without comment on December 6 during warm ups before a Bulls game with Golden State. Beautiful gesture. Reminded me of Muhammad Ali refusing draft induction with the words "I ain't got nothing against the Viet Cong".

Soon Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg would set Rose's silent protest in the tradition of athletes like Ali who spoke out on racial issues when no one expected them to.

Soon other superstar athletes were following Rose's lead. Why? Because most had grown up on rough neighborhoods. They knew all to well how police treat people there.

If you haven't seen it, here's the disturbing "I can't breathe" video that culminates with Staten Island/New York resident Eric Garner repeatedly saying "I can't breathe" to the police officers who held him on the ground and in a choke hold. Garner died. The video, below, begins with a lengthy …

Pro Football and Youth Violence: What Do They Have in Common? (Papa Bear George Halas had the right idea)

Nothing, you might think, nothing whatsoever. Chicagoans live for pro football. And they run like hell from youth violence. Case closed.

But look again. Look at Chicago's media. Think about how they make money: how they use both pro football and youth violence to create huge audiences of consumers - of sports fans and frightened citizens - which they then deliver to advertisers. That's how they make money. And they don't do it individually. Media do it collectively

But there's more. Ask yourself: what are Chicago's media doing collectively today to empower Chicagoans to solve youth violence and to create safe neighborhoods? All this by contrast with the  nonstop disempowering accounts of dangerous neighborhoods that presently dominates media coverage of youth violence in Chicago.

Not much. Next to  nothing. You see little bits and pieces here and there: the Tribune's commendably citizen participatory New Plan of Chicago. But not even other Tribune Corp medi…