Friday, April 16, 2010

Heaven can you Hear me?

Poems 4/14/10


How many times have i experienced you?
On top of me at five,
In my ear gate through the years,
Faded whips on my skin,
A learned mentality.
On the television, the radio, in my own house.
But at all times dark and concealed,
Eventually fading to black.
For some,
we neva see the light.


Slow to move (a crawl).
Spontaneous actions on my part.
Picking up speed
When others assumed that I had reached my Mark.
I view the land (my surroundings).
I exhale the breath of doubt that has consumed me.
Relief visits.
I'm finally here (at this point, a point,
but not the end).
No worries about the next phase.
The excitement and joy of a child overwhelms me.
Intensity and optimism allowing me to a line
myself and take off.
A blind sight after the turn.
The turn of many lingering events.
Vision is restored to see a road of infinity.
I race along and i finally rise.
Oh My God, Oh My God, leaves my mouth forever!
O sh**!
I realize that i will continue to have some sort of fear in life.
Surprisingly there is beauty in what i fear.
Such beauty,
beauty in the experience,
beauty in the sight which becomes a blurred piece of artwork.
I must now search for beauty and peace elsewhere.
I search the clouds which are full and spacious,
I search the peoples surrounding me who are unknown and mysterious.
I search myself as I've been doing all along, and in this moment,
I am beauty in the form of a bird in flight,
soaring through my experiences such as this,
To reach my destiny.

- Lyrique

This Week's Poems

They Wear The Crown
Doreen Ambrose

They wear Obama regalia
on their chests, necks, backs and crowns
Young men with hues ranging frombright golden
to mahogany brown
Some that weren't even able to vote in the '08 election
Due to prior commitments
But they show their support and echo the World's sentiments
As they hang in doorways
Of neighborhood businesses
Thinking of more ways to earn a saw buck
Because they've run afoul of the law
And haven't had any luck
Selling CD's, DVD's and well you know--
I'm not here to judge or expose
This is just a poem, you know, it's only prose...
Anyway, they sit on stoops in the summer's sun
Talking 'bout swagger
And conquests with pants saggin'
Passing time and braggin'
At times oblivious to the world going on around them
Unable to grasp for grants
for higher education or training
Because of the stipulations on the books pertaining
to people who spend time far far away from home
Okay, again, I digress, like I said this is only  a poem...
But if they only took the time to find out about
Offender reentry programs
Maybe, they wouldn't contribute
to the recidivism rate
Because they'd have options as to their fate
And soon they'd become model citizen's and emulate
Our intelligent, courageous and outspoken head of state
But until then they hang in doorways and sit on stoops
Wearing Obama regalia
On their chests, necks, backs, and crowns

Black History Month Rap

In winter, it's my favorite event.
Black history month is a good time to be spent.
With your family and all of your friends.
The discussion you have will never end.
Black History month is in February.
It's for blacks who struggled in the early centuries.
Yes our ancestors truly did strive.
They were strong and had pride that's why they survived.
It goes from Malcolm X, Martin Luther King.
I truly am happy "The King" had a dream.
Don't forget Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou.
Who's powerful poems filled us with hope
that one day we would all be free.
Instead of blistering our hands picking cotton seeds.
They never listened, to them, we were as quiet as a mouse.
Now we have a black president in the White House.
Well, now, we all know that the freedom bells ring.
Finally we can rejoice and sing.
This is a miracle; yes it is true.
And aren't you happy it wasn't you?
Who got whipped thoroughly day and night.
You couldn't talk back, you could not fight.
All they could do was what the master said.
They didn't care if you cried, they didn't care if you bled.
I really think we should all pray my friend
that all of this slavery won't happen again.

-Nia Pearl Minor

What Legacy
        are you Leaving?

What will they say when you are gone away?
Will they have to make up a lie?
Will they pretend to cry?
Will they really feel the lost
and want to bring you back at any cost?
How many people have you blessed?
How many compliments and praises given out,
or were they degrading shouts?
Did you enjoy life and experience the ride,
or did you just exist and hide?
Hide from love, hide from
happiness, or hide from growth.
Did you contribute to a better environment?
Did you participate in government?
Did you help a friend?
If you had extra, did you lend?
Fathers did you teach your son’s how to catch a ball,
or were you too busy flirting at the mall?
Did you buy your lady flowers,
or come in late and run to the showers?
Women did you make nutritional dinners,
or go to bingo every night hoping to be a winner?
Did you raise your own child,
or dropped them off at grandma’s and go be wild?
Did you put on nice lingerie and sweet perfume,
or flannel pajamas and just assumed (that he will still be attracted)?
Do you even care?  Are you aware,
that every day you leave an impression-
making someone feel an expression!

Renetta Gunn
    Your Yes I Can Representative


(Photo by Dennis Lyles)

    The photo above shows just a few of the outstanding 2010 juniors and seniors at Austin Business & Entrepreneurship Academy (ABEA), located on the Austin High School campus, 231 North Pine Avenue. They are living up to the school’s motto: No Excuses – Just Results!
    Steffen Canino, senior (back row, 4th from left) says, “ABEA is an elite school that provides endless opportunities. Being prepared is an important attribute that is driven home to us every day. The school has strict rules and regulations, and they have assisted me with staying focused to receive my high school diploma. I’m looking forward to college and have been accepted at Northern Illinois University this fall.”
    Marcus Wells, a junior (front row, center), plans to attend Lewis University in the fall of 2011. He says, “I chose ABEA because they offered a business curriculum. I have found the teachers and staff to be supportive and they help to provide a positive learning environment that I enjoy.”
    Marquita Dunbar, a senior (front row, 2nd from right) says, “Attending ABEA has helped me to mature in many ways and I think seriously about my future. I have been accepted to the University of Indiana and will be majoring in Biology while taking Pre-med courses. Because of my counselor’s help this year, I plan to become one of the best pediatricians in the world and open my own practice.”
    Ms Knazze, Administrator and Disciplinarian, is especially proud of the students she selected to be pictured here and is responsible for coining the phrase, At ABEA – We Mean Business! She feels that the students take school seriously, set realistic goals, and work diligently daily in all of their classes.
    Ms Murphy, Team Leader/Business Teacher, says, “I am convinced that these students will achieve whatever it is they desire.”
    Ms Sewell, Dean of Students, congratulates these ABEA junior students on a productive school year and wishes the seniors success in all of their future endeavors.
    ABEA is graduating its first class on June 14 at Dominican University.


Members of City Year assigned to Howe School of Excellence, with Principal Keisha Campbell, Kimberly Peterson of Susan G. Koman For The Cure, and Ald. Emma Mitts, with the check for $1,337.46 raised by the students to fight breast cancer. (Photo by Brad)

Moved by the plight of a teacher at Julia Ward Howe School of Excellence battling breast cancer, the students swung into action and launched a Penny War to raise money for the Susan G. Koman For The Cure Foundation. At an April 8 assembly, the proud Howe students participated in the presentation of an oversized check for $1,337.46 to Kimberly Peterson of the Susan G. Koman Foundation.
    The Penny War, pitting grade level against grade level in a friendly competition to see who could raise the most money, was coordinated by Bennett Van Hoff and his colleagues from City Year Chicago who work with the students at Howe on a variety of projects. Howe School is located at 720 North Lorel Avenue.
    Although it is clear everyone is a winner in this fight against cancer, Ms Tomlinson’s 3rd grade class and Ms Smith’s 6th grade class actually raised the most money during the campaign.

 Kimberly Peterson of the Susan G. Koman Foundation accepts the check for the money raised by the Howe School students, telling them, “You are contributing to the end of breast cancer – you are part of the cure. Thank you on behalf of all women. You are wonderful!” (Photo by Brad)
 Keisha Campbell, Principal of Howe School of Excellence, tells students that although they are young, they have just achieved a very adult goal in raising money to find a cure for breast cancer. “I am so proud of you,” she declares. (Photo by Brad)


West Side residents ages 14-24 who have not yet applied for the Youth Ready Chicago summer jobs program can do so at THE VOICE Newspapers booth at the EDUCATION & JOB TRAINING EXPO on Saturday, April 24, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, at Christ The King College Prep High School, 5088 West Jackson Boulevard.
    High school students applying must bring their school IDs. They can also obtain information about college financial aid, course offerings available at Malcolm X College, and free career training and job placement at the Paul Simon Job Corps Center. The U.S. Army will be on-site introducing people ages 18-41 to educational and employment training programs they provide.
    For information on applying for Youth Ready Chicago summer jobs or the EDUCATION & JOB TRAINING EXPO being presented by Representative LaShawn K. Ford and THE VOICE Newspapers, call Brian Moore at 773/413-0079.


The Austin Branch Library, 5615 West Race Avenue, is presenting a free Spring Jazz Concert, Shoutin’ At The Library, on Wednesday, April 28, at 6:00 PM. For information, call 312/746-5038.

SISTERHOUSE: A New Direction

By Glenance Green

    SISTERHOUSE began as a vision. In 1982, School Sister of Notre Dame Anne Mayer cultivated that vision on her mission to proclaim the good news. Sister Anne, along with Margaret Traxler and Gladys Schmitt, had spent years volunteering at Cook County Jail and Dwight Correctional Center, and from their experience were able to identify the community necessity for a safe haven for women being released from prison.
    These resilient women knew how important it is to enable people to reach the fullness of their potential. Their experiences with the recently released inmates made them aware that in order to really have a monumental impact on women’s lives, they needed to provide a positive and nurturing environment. The slogan of SISTERHOUSE is: Recovery is Possible!
    Committed to this goal, they responded to the varying needs of the West Side community of Austin as the parish convent at Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church became available. Recognizing that there was more work to be done in the community, SISTERHOUSE developed a mission to provide focused, long-term services to women seeking recovery from substance abuse. In 1983, SISTERHOUSE celebrated its first anniversary with an open house, which became an annual celebration of recovery.
    Today, SISTERHOUSE is a faith-oriented recovery home for women located on the West Side of Chicago in the community of Austin. SISTERHOUSE provides housing and support services for women seeking to restore their lives from the perils of substance abuse.

For information on SISTERHOUSE services for women, to contribute or volunteer, call 773/626-0525.


Congressman Danny K. Davis (IL-7) reminds graduating high school seniors that 6:00 PM, Friday, April 23, is the deadline for submitting applications for Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Education and Cheerios Brand Health Initiative Scholarships, and the Wal-Mart Strive For Excellence Scholarships.
    To request a CBC Spouses Scholarship application, contact Congressman Danny K. Davis’ office at 773/533-7520 or visit the CBCF website: Choose CBC Spouses and print out an application. Fill out and return the application to Congressman Danny K. Davis at 3333 West Arthington Street, Chicago, Illinois 60624. Incomplete applications will not be considered and will be returned.


The LaFollette Park Community Baseball Program is currently holding open registration for kids ages 5-18 for a full season of play. LaFollette Park, 1333 North Laramie Avenue, is also holding try-outs for its travel league for kids ages 9-10, 11-12, 13-15, and 16-18. Don’t miss out on a wonderful season of baseball fun. See Coach James at the park or call 773/355-7749 or 773/287-0541.
    The LaFollette Park baseball program also needs volunteer baseball coaches and referees. Call Coach James to apply at 773/355-7749 or 773/287-0541.


On Saturday, April 17, individuals, block clubs, churches, and community organizations are making a difference by volunteering to clean up their neighborhoods as part of Mayor Daley’s Spring Clean & Green Day.
    Persons and groups wishing to beautify their neighborhoods by cleaning up and recycling accumulated litter and trash may register by call 3-1-1. Rakes, shovels, and trash bags are available from Streets & Sanitation. Paint and brushes are also available for covering graffiti.


The Austin Branch Library, 5615 West Race Avenue, is offering a workshop entitled, Money Smart: To Your Credit, Saturday, April 24, at 2:00 PM. This event is free and open to the public. It teaches the purpose of a credit report and how it is used. It also identifies ways to build and repair personal credit histories. For information, call 312/746-5038.


Galewood Community Church, 1776 North Narragansett Avenue, is holding a Spring Rummage Sale at the church, beginning with a Pre-Sale on Thursday, April 22, 7-9 PM, followed by sales on Friday, April 23, 9:30 AM-1:00 PM, and Saturday, April 24, 9:30 AM-1:00 PM. Admission is free and the public is cordially invited to attend and shop.
    Donations of items are welcome. Drop off your contributions on Sunday, April 18, 12 Noon-4:00 PM, or Monday thru Wednesday, April 19-21, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM & 6:00-7:00 PM. The church will provide a tax letter upon request.


Deon James & Gwen Carroll are organizing the 2nd Precinct of the 37th Ward into a Mean Clean Green Machine on Saturday, April 17, 9:00-10:00 AM. They are inviting everyone to join them at 4800 West Concord Place. All cleaning supplies are provided, as are coffee and donuts. For details, call 773/378-6834 or 630/303-6141.


    The Illinois Warrior Summit – the largest event ever held in Chicago to assist military veterans making the transition back to home and family – is being staged Saturday, April 24, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM, at the University of Illinois at Chicago Forum, 725 West Roosevelt Road.
    The Illinois Warrior Summit, hosted by the Student Veterans of America and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is open to all veterans and their families, as well as active duty service members. There is no admission charge and all services are being provided free of charge.
    Approximately 100 government and service organizations will be present providing information on employment, veterans benefits, health care, and community resources to assist veterans. More than 50 Chicago area employers who are actively recruiting to hire veterans are expected to attend, as well as representatives from 20 colleges and universities.
    The Department of Veterans Affairs will offer enrollment for VA health care and information on other VA benefits, including compensation and pension. Medical Center staff will be on-site to provide veterans who enroll for VA health care with the option to receive a comprehensive physical examination. Other veterans can receive free health screenings.
    Workshops will be conducted throughout the day providing information on resume-building, preparing for job interviews, the GI Bill, obtaining VA home loans and VA health benefits. On-site enrollment for unemployment benefits will also be available.
    This event offers free refreshments, massages, and raffle prizes. A kids Corner provides an array of free fun activities for veterans’ children. There will be entertainment throughout the day, including live rock bands.
    Program organizers expect over 2,000 veterans and family members to attend. “An event of this magnitude has never been done before," says Rob Malnik, Illinois State Director for the Student Veterans of America. “This is a great opportunity to welcome home all of the troops that served our country and get them the benefits and job opportunities they deserve.”
For information, log onto or contact Rob Malnik at 773/414-5888, or OEF/OIF Program Manager Valerie Creedon at Jesse Brown VAMC at 312/569-6516, or Ivy Lloyd at Hines VAMC: 708/202-2076.

Monday, April 12, 2010

POEMS 4/07/10

My Special Valentine

He’s beautiful beyond comprehension.
He’s rich in mercy.
He’s the only true and loving God.
He’s my refuge and my fortress.
He loves me with an everlasting love.
The cattle on a thousand hills are his.
He’s kind, considerate and compassionate.
He allows his holy spirit to dwell in my heart.
He promised never to leave me no forsake me and I have found him to be a man of his word.
He brought me out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay and he has placed my feet upon a rock and established my going.
His name is Jesus.

-Ida Barnes

We strike poses in the bedroom
In the kitchen
In the church house
We are his bold enough to strut down
Life’s runway/staggering at times with
Uncertainty to our positions/striking smiles/
Hands posed in the air/lights flashing/cameras
Snapping/capturing a moment
of faked perfection.
Even when cast down
we manage to pivot point
Ourselves back to greatness
we are super models
Wearing the fashion of strength
the print of resilience
The fabric of survival
We are the ones courageous enough
to sport imperfections
Daring enough to strip fate named
whenever she needs a makeover
We are the ones denied the chance
to grace the covers of their Fine magazines
Yet we still rise
The divas we are
All made up/decked out in the glitter dust and stilettos/lathered down
In fragrance/emitting the sweet smell
of zero tolerance attitudes                  
-Cynthia Walker

Ricky had a spot in the alley
A place where the junkie inside
Could be free
There he could drag a joint
As slowly as he pleased or shoot
up until it made him weak in the knees
Ricky didn’t care how he got his dope
As long as he had hands to steal there
Was hope
His old lady’s purse was always stacked
With money
He didn’t care about their have nots
So long as he could get his honey
His mama prayed for him to get saved
She couldn’t understand it
The other kids were well behaved
His kids got tired of him shaming them
So altogether they stopped claiming him
Little did they know Ricky really tried
But he just couldn’t control the beast that
Raged inside
He messed around
and stole from the wrong person
Who ever it was decided to teach him a lesson
Ricky knew that his soul was precious and learned
As a child to always call on Jesus.
That’s exactly who he called when the pipe came
Smashing down into his head
His mother knew her prayers had been answered
When they told her he was dead.
-Cynthia Walker

Flashing Blue Lites

Flashing Blue Lites atop street poles
    Line the streets in our neighborhoods
There intended purpose is to deter crime
Yet bullets still shatter the stillness Of the nite
There’s no peace Even during the day lite
In our neighborhoods
Burglaries, robberies, assaults And murders
Are but a way of life In our neighborhoods
Supt. Jody Weiss Comes up with a solution to the crimes
That takes place in our neighborhoods
“The community has to hold those responsible for the crimes, accountable “
He be talking about dropping a dime
On the hoodlums responsible for the crime
Don’t he realize that would only cause an alarming Increase in crime?
Blue lites flashing atop street poles
Line the streets in our neighborhoods
Bullets shatter the stillness of the nite
Mothers mourn the lost of their children
Children are left orphaned
Fathers lay dying in the streets
People are blinded by The crimes that takes place in our neighborhoods
And the world watches and yawns
And flips the channel from CNN to channel 9
Cause after all  ain’t none of that Happening in Their neighborhoods
Blue lites flashing atop street poles Line the streets in our …..Neighborhoods

Patrice Morrison   04/06/09

Where It All Started
The north branch is where it al started.
It was so good until I didn’t want to depart it.

I was inspired from hearing from the young
and the old who were not cold but bold.

Poetry is a gift and lifts spirits high all the way up
like the sky and can causes others to fly.

Poetry here at North Austin needs to expand
because of the demand to share and compare.

Poetry is a light that is bright and cause others to do right
 and that is awesome in God’s sight.

We yearn to learn and to help our community
all to bring unity!

Given by God to:
Frances Loretta Freeman #14
on August 26, 2009

By David Hundley

What is a memory?

A faded thought or a picture of the past
That our mind just sought.

Do you remember back when you were five years old and used to play?
This is a  memory, from yesterday.

Memories remind us about how life was.
Whether good or bad, just because.

In the deepest part of our mind,
There is something that we usually find.
This is called our memories.

Memories, some are good and some bad,
Some make you happy, while others sad,
And then there are some that
just make us plain mad.

Do You See It?
OMG this is a chance of lifetime
It’s just waiting for me
Hoping I have the guts to pursue
Everyone is walking right by it
I don’t believe it... It’s just sitting there
I’m coming, don’t move!
This is too good to be true
Who would’ve knew
Opportunity is all around
Waiting to be found
Some people seem to see
All that they can be
Some people don’t have a clue
But if they only knew that the sky is the limit
And all you to do is go get it
So stop waiting for a knock at the door
And dream a little more
Stop making excuses and procrastinating
And prepare for a fascinating…opportunity

By Renetta Gunn-Stevens

Just the Way You Are

Mama, can I wear make up?

Why baby , you're beautiful already.

All my friends wear it and it looks pretty to.

You’re only thirteen and that won’t do.
Look in the mirror tell me what do you see.
You got to see beauty because you look like me.
I see beauty and I see me, but I want color and vibrancy.
Your skin is brown and your hair is black.
Your teeth are white and your clothes are bright.
You sing like an angel and tell jokes like a pro.
If that’s not color, then I don’t know.
Smile a little bit and stand up straight
Believe me sweetie your pretty and make up can wait.
Give it some time and keep reaching for the stars.
No matter what anyone say, you’re perfect
            just the way you are.

By Renetta Gunn-Stevens


 Ald. Emma Mitts accepts the Co-chairmanship of the Austin Coalition on Underage Drinking, saying a problem for youth in our community is a problem for everyone. “As adults, we are responsible for guiding and protecting our children,” she says. “This is an opportunity for all of us to step up and lead.”  (Photo by Brad)

The Austin Community Coalition on Underage Drinking, a federally-mandated and state -funded campaign to reduce consumption of alcohol by children and adolescents, held a Town Meeting March 24 at the Columbus Park Refectory. The purpose of the event was to inform adults and young people of the extent of the problem and the risks involved with underage drinking.
    Alderman Emma Mitts was named Co-chairperson of the Coalition at the Town Meeting. She succeeds former 29th Ward Alderman Isaac Carothers, who served since the formation of the Coalition three years ago.
    The Coalition comprises members from all segments of the community, including business, health care, law enforcement, civic organizations, clergy, education, elected officials, youth, and the media. The Coalition is coordinated by The Prevention Partnership, Inc., a locally based, acclaimed leader in substance abuse education, violence reduction, and HIV/AIDS awareness.
    Most recently, the Austin Community Coalition on Underage Drinking has been conducting training sessions with high school and elementary school students, educating them about the dangers of underage drinking and encouraging them to develop social marketing initiatives to convince their peers not to drink alcohol.
    Main speaker at the Town Meeting was Jeffrey Bates, Student Advocate, Admissions Counselor, and Coach at Prosser High School.

 Larry C. Williams, State Farm Insurance agent & Co-chairperson of the Austin Community Coalition on Underage Drinking, introduces his new Co-chairperson, Ald. Emma Mitts. (Photo by Brad)
Participants in the Austin Underage Drinking Coalition Town Meeting include 25th district police officers, youth, business people and community residents (Photo by Brad) 
 Adam Bates of Prevention Partnership explains the mission of the Coalition on Underage Drinking and moderates a panel discussion. (Photo by Jason Torres)
 A panel comprised of various segments of the community expresses themselves on aspects of the underage drinking problem and how to solve it. (Photo by Jason Torres)
 Jeffrey Bates of Prosser High School draws from his own youth experiences & career working with teenagers to put the campaign against underage drinking into perspective. (Photo by Jason Torres)
For information on the Coalition and to join its efforts, call 773/378-4195.


In response to rising rates of student suspensions, expulsions, and arrests in schools, Parents Organized to Win, Educate and Renew-Policy Action Council (POWER-PAC) created the Parent-to-Parent Guide: Restorative Justice in Chicago Public Schools. POWER-PAC introduced the Guide at workshops held at Sankofa Safe Child Initiative, 4041 West Roosevelt Road, and Power House Charter School, 931 South Homan Avenue.
    The Guide makes parents aware of their rights and informs them of actions they can take when their children are suspended, expelled, or punished in unfair or inappropriate manners. In the Guide, POWER-PAC recommends an approach known as Restorative Justice, offering the offending student a chance to “repair the harm” he or she has caused.
    The trainings were hosted by: Community Organizing & Family Issues, the Dvorak Parent Team, Family Focus Lawndale, the Penn Parent Team, and POWER-PAC, with support from the Steans Family Foundation.

West Side parent Telezia Rodgers leads a discipline workshop at Power House Charter School.
West Side parents discuss the new Handbook on School Discipline at a workshop at Power House Charter School.


    THE VOICE Newspapers, with Computer Specialist Brian Moore and assistance from Concern Organization Who Cares, has registered 75 teenagers online in one week for Youth Ready Chicago – the City’s summer employment program. They will continue to help young people sign up until the June 4 deadline.
    Brad Cummings, Associate Editor for THE VOICE, says, “The City’s summer jobs program has a miserable record of failing to hire West Side teens in past years. We are going to track all the applications we submit, present their applications to West Side aldermen, and demand reports by ward from the Department of Family and Support Services on how many West Siders were actually hired. If we don’t receive this information or if we find out West Side youth are not being hired in appropriate numbers, we will urge the citizens to campaign against all City officials in next year’s election,” Cummings threatens. “Politicians must stop taking the West Side for granted and citizens must start voting their self-interest!”
    Parents and teens requesting help in applying say they are not obtaining similar assistance from their schools, libraries, or elected officials. Many youths say they have applied each year and never been hired or even contacted by the City, according to Brian Moore, who supervised a VOICE-sponsored AfterSchool Matters program at the newspapers several summers ago.
    Persons wishing assistance in registering for Youth Ready Chicago summer jobs should call 773/413-0079 or 773/889-0880 for information.

 Brian Moore, Computer Specialist for THE VOICE Newspapers, helps teenagers register for the City’s summer jobs program at Concern Organization Who Cares. In one week, he signed up 75 young people. The deadline is June 4. (Photo by Brad)

To apply for summer jobs:Click Here 
(You must be between age 14 and 24)