Friday, April 30, 2010

WEST SIDE VOICES: Letters to the Editor


    I would like to take the opportunity to respond to some of the comments that have been made in response to the call made by State Rep. John Fritchey and myself for Governor Quinn to work with Mayor Daley and Chicago Police Superintendent Weis to deploy the Illinois National Guard in an effort to combat the crime and violence that plagues our city streets. Lost in all of the media reports was the brave presence at the press conference of Willie Williams, Sr., who lost his own son to gun violence 4 years ago. The Williams family and 113 families throughout Chicago just this year grieve the loss of family members. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! As we approach the warmer summer months, I look forward to joining the efforts of Governor Quinn and Mayor Daley to come up with a plan for safer communities.
    Crime decreases property values, discourages people from establishing businesses, and hurts existing businesses, breeding violence. We recognize the need for greater educational and job opportunities, especially for workers in construction, road building, and other trades. I authored legislation which was signed into law that creates a microloan program for those who were formerly incarcerated to start their own businesses. I ask others to join me to pass additional legislation that I wrote that will attempt to increase the chance that formerly incarcerated will have a chance to be interviewed for jobs, and a plan to reduce the unemployment rate in these affected areas through the African-American Employment Plan Act. We must work for these changes in society at the same time we work to decrease the crime and violence.
    We have heard from many, many people who want a different strategy in dealing with crime. They would welcome a National Guard presence that is respectful and would work with the community to increase safety in our most violence-prone neighborhoods.
    We are not talking about tanks in the streets, bayonets fixed, or AK-47s on every corner. The National Guard has worked in similar roles in communities throughout the world and this would be no different. The Illinois National Guard is already committed to improving our communities, including the hosting of YOUTH EXPO in June at the Armory on the South Side. We are asking for the Guard to help at another level, as an auxiliary to the Chicago Police Department.
    The Chicago Police Department is working hard, but the Mayor and the Police Superintendent have said that help is needed. We think that deploying the Guard is a good option that that should be used to save lives. If there are other options that can be shown to achieve the same goal, we should look closely at those options. But, for the sake of the Williams family and hundreds of families throughout Chicago, we do not have the option of doing nothing. As the father to a beautiful six-year-old daughter, an uncle to elementary school nephews and nieces, and as a son to a senior citizen mom who has worked all of her life, all living in Austin, I am pleading for help for our communities.

La Shawn K. Ford
State Representative-8th District
5104 West Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60651

I want to correct an article in THE GARFIELD-LAWNDALE VOICE (Vol. 6 #15, April 21) regarding the struggle to get Black men & women hired as workers and subcontractors on the Marshall High School construction site.
    I and members of the coalition participating in the struggle sincerely appreciate the exposure your people gave us. It is so important for the community to know what we are doing and why we are doing it.
    After reading the article several times, it became clear to me that I owe Alderman Smith of the 28th Ward an apology and an explanation regarding that article. The quotes attributed to Luster Jackson were not stated by me. The interview was with a Rev. Stinson and others. Rev Stinson, who came into our midst to assist us of his own volition has used me to attempt to damage Alderman Smith politically. He cannot honestly say he has heard me speak disparagingly of Ald. Smith.
    On the contrary, I spoke to Rev. Stinson and our group of the hard work of the Alderman in bringing Black subcontractors and white general contractors and developers together. I do not know why the quotes in the article were attributed to me. Perhaps it was designed to damage Alderman Smith politically and hurt our struggle for jobs and justice at the same time. I hereby declare that none of the quotes in that article were by me.
    It is clear to me that the Reverend who allegedly quoted me has begun the Aldermanic political campaign.

Luster Jackson, President
Concerned Citizens of East Garfield Park

Editor’s Note: In this article, we attributed statements to a Rev. Dwayne Hightower. The quotes are by a man presenting a business card bearing the name of Mr. Hightower, but we have since learned that Dwayne Hightower is a staff member of the City of Chicago Public Building Commission. We have spoken with Mr. Hightower who assures us he was not at the Marshall High School construction site and did not make the statements attributed to him in the article. We regret this error and apologize for any confusion it has caused.


    Celebrate this Mother’s Day by doing something you have never done by making a commitment to yourself and to your family to be a better parent to your children than your parents were to you be talking to your teenaged sons and daughters about responsible sex and abstinence.
    Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are not just about being the “Greatest Mom or Dad.” It’s about teaching your kids how to be responsible parents, too.
    The social and economic hardships felt by single parent households throughout this country are devastating to urban communities – where a sense of hopelessness and a lack of self-worth are prevalent among teenage mothers faced with the challenge of raising their children alone.
    All too often, grandparents are forced to assume the role of parenting their grandchildren. And, when the children grow up, they internalize feelings of abandonment from both teenage parents – which puts them at risk for continuing the cycle of having sex at an early age.
    As mothers and fathers, you responsibilities don’t stop with providing food, clothing, shelter, and a twelfth-grade education to your children, but they include teaching your children about responsible sex and abstinence – and how they can be the “World’s Greatest Mom or Dad!”

William J. Booker
Illinois Council on
Responsible Fatherhood Chicago

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