What happens when the village fails? A report was released by the Census data, Chicago’s Black population has fallen as the Hispanic population has risen by .4 percent. Now, billed as the second largest ethnic group at 29.7 percent compared to Black Chicagoans at 29.3 percent—the rise is contributed to more births than immigration.
Although, residents have been plagued with increasing costs at every corner—it doesn’t seem to put a dent into the growing Latino community. Yet, we are hit the hardest in a city that we helped build. A city that was founded by a Black man.
When we look at the benefits and the structure of the Latino community—the number one priority is immigration reform. Illinois has approximately 511,000 undocumented immigrants—predominately of Mexican origin–who reside in Illinois. With 24 percent under the age of 18, long-time residents have not always applied for citizenship because of the governmental red tape that penalizes them or could challenge their residence with threats of being deported. However, the extreme efforts on the part of our local government has made it easier to provide sanctuary and relief to those who have safe passage in our state, county and city.
Why do I bring this up? The common thread that brings together their village is family and a new start. The common thread that brings together our community is family and a new start. Yes, a new start because everyone deserves a second chance including our own U.S. born citizens.
Mayor Emanuel’s new requirement: in order to receive diplomas, Chicago Public School high school graduates must have a plan to pursue college, a trade school or military enlistment. This is not always the case for many who deal with cultural barriers that are systematically against them. The DACA program was a great way of providing passage for undocumented children to receive the same amenities as U.S. citizens but it also did not provide a shield from racial backlash.
Local law enforcement is not allowed to question the immigration status of a suspected undocumented resident or assist ICE on apprehending folks who are here illegally, but on any given day of the week, Black people are pulled over by the police officers on suspicion. Are we protected from the microscope of stereotype profiling and unsolicited arrests? Let us not have a valid ID on our person or drive a luxury vehicle with more than two people in the vehicle—the sirens are lit. This is not “trumpism,” this is “realism” for Black people.
Most of us could care less for the racist rhetoric of ’45’ and turn on the mute button when he crosses our screens.
Who protects our rights on a national platform when mass incarceration rips families apart in our community? When predator lending broke down our communities with the highest foreclosures in U.S. history nearly 10 years ago, who protected us? Our neighborhoods are still undeveloped and canvased by non-residents sitting on vacant lots—hoping to cash in when gentrification comes to our door.
The NAACP has filed a lawsuit against the government to protect the DACA program because 36,000 recipients of African origin and an additional 20,000 of Caribbean origin will be slashed out of the 800,000.
For several decades, African Americans have fought for groups that have struggled, becoming their voice. We led the fight for Civil Rights and the Defender championed many of these causes for integration, labor, better housing, business and racial equality, yet our neighborhoods have suffered.
Major business districts that once were vibrant with Black-owned businesses are riddled with empty storefronts. On the Westside: Madison St., Chicago Ave., Division St., Roosevelt Rd and North Ave. On the Southside: 43rd St., 47th St., 51st St., 71st St. to 95th St. provided residents with engagement with business owners who knew them.
Our population has dwindled because the system has failed thousands of Black residents. Homeowners forced to leave their properties without little or no financial assistance to rebuild, therefore taking their children out of schools that were the heartbeat of our communities. With student enrollment down and monies not being allocated for repairs led way for many being closed—predominately in our communities.
Yes, our students have performed better academically with the highest graduation rate in years, but few African American students are enrolled at the selective schools such as Jones College Prep and Walter Payton College Prep high schools. National Teachers Academy (NTA) will be transformed into a high school after years of Black students and their parents working hard to build great academic results only to be pushed out again by gentrification.
Where is our dream? Where is our 40 acres and a mule? Do you think we forgot? A closed mouth don’t get fed. No, this isn’t “trumpism,” this is “realism.”
We’re in our final stretch of Virgo season and belated birthday shout-outs to House music producer/DJ of “Move Your Body” Marshall Jefferson; Chicago’s own DJ Brian Frazier; and hip-hop veteran Knowledge Beckom on Sept. 19. WVON radio personality Johnny ‘Koolout’ Starks celebrates on Sept.20. Everyone’s favorite “big bro” and youth advocate Marco Halsey; marketing consultant Keoki Allen; and blues musician David Herrero. Saving the best for the last day of Virgo nation; event producer Tameka Stephens and Andre Partee are my birthday twins as we celebrate Sept. 22. Happy Birthday to me! Libra season kicks off with hip hop legend DA Smart; NARAS Regional Director Tera Healy and hotel sales and marketing guru Juan Teague on Sept.23.
Congratulations & Big-ups
The Emmys were on fire Sunday night as the best talent in television and original programming walked away with high honors. History was made as South Sider Lena Waithe became the first African American woman to win for comedy writing. Waithe co-wrote the “Thanksgiving” episode of “Master of None” with Aziz Ansari. Her speech was AMAZING and rocking a gold-leaf, black tuxedo jacket—the Columbia College graduate gave a special shout-out to the LGBTQIA in a moving acceptance speech. Currently, Waithe is in production for the “The Chi,” a Showtime series executive produced by fellow Chicagoans COMMON and Derek Dudley. The show is shot on location, mostly on the Westside in the Pilsen and North Lawndale community.
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