Friday, May 18, 2012

Dr. Cornell West and Tavis Smiley discuss The Rich and the Rest of Us.

Professor Cornel West (right) & Tavis Smiley (2nd from left) unwind at MacArthur’s Restaurant following their presentation at New Mt. Pilgrim Church. With them are Rev. Marshall Hatch, Father Michael Pfleger, attorney Lew Myers, Bishop Ben Cook & Marshall Hatch, Jr. (Photo by Stephen Dunn)

Rev. Walter Jones, founder of Fathers Who Care, greets Professor Cornel West & popular TV talk show host Tavis Smiley at MacArthur’s Restaurant following their lecture at New Mt. Pilgrim M.B. Church. (Photo by Stephen Dunn)

TV talk show host Tavis Smiley is escorted through New Mt. Pilgrim M.B. Church by Rev. Dr. Marshall E. Hatch & First Lady Priscilla Hatch following his lecture with Professor Cornel West. (Photo by Stephen Dunn)

It was a packed house to hear & meet Professor Cornel West & TV talk show host Tavis Smiley at New Mt. Pilgrim M.B. Church on their national lecture tour promoting their book, The Rich and the Rest of Us. (Photo by Stephen Dunn)

Fathers Who Care Go To Springfield

Rep. Camille Lilly greets Rev. Walter Jones & the West Garfield Park Youth Council in the State Capitol on their trip to Springfield.

Rev. Walter Jones, founder of Fathers Who Care, leads the West Garfield Park Youth Council on a trip to Springfield to see the State Capitol and meet legislators.


    The James R. Jordan Boys & Girls Club and Chicago Bulls Family Life Center are hosting the 8th Annual Run For The Roses on June 30, 12:00 Noon to 5:00 PM, at Arlington Park Racetrack. For information and reservations, call Brenda Pruitt at 312/226-2323.

Please Young People - No Sagging & Bagging Pants This Summer!

This week, I - - 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts, introduced a resolution in support of Chicago’s indecent exposure ordinance during the May 9, 2012 Chicago City Council meeting. This resolution is designed to address a social issue confronting many urban neighborhoods in Chicago:  Low-Slung, Saggy Pants on Urban Youth. You’ve probably observed it too – the ‘saggin and baggin’ look.
    Over the years, whenever I drive through the several diverse areas I represent, including the Austin, Hermosa, parts of West Humboldt Park and  the Belmont-Cragin communities on the city’s west and northwest side, I see groups of young men dressed casually, with pants well below their waists, underwear of various hues and designs proudly on display.
    If you pass by almost any neighborhood corner, whether you are walking or driving - - you’ll be ‘exposed’ to this popular and growing phenomenon. While most of those embracing this fashion trend are younger men, it’s true that some adults have also adopted this style of clothing. It is an unfortunate trend that invites negative stereotypes affecting mainly targeted groups of young people of color.  For example, during this difficult economy, it’s hard enough to obtain a job when dressed to the nines. How will we expect young people to successfully compete in the job market if their first impression by potential employers is that of possible gang or other affiliations that greatly reduce their opportunity to be hired? The old adage that the ‘clothes make the man’ are truer than ever.
    As summer is around the corner and the end of the school year approaches, more young people will be on the streets in various communities of Chicago, and it would be refreshing to see more appropriately dressed youth ready to secure a job, further their education or enjoy the best of the city.
    The saggy pants resolution I sponsored at the Council meeting in many ways complements Chicago’s existing indecent exposure ordinance. Many cities and towns throughout the U.S. are enacting or at least considering some type of ‘saggy pants’ laws or bans, including Detroit-Michigan, Atlanta-Georgia, and even closer to home - -  such communities as Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago and local southern suburbs of Lynwood and Sauk Village as well.
As a concerned and community-focused lawmaker representing Chicago’s west and northwest side, I pushed for this resolution that will allow us to hold hearings on this issue in the City Council’s Education Committee. Perhaps sometimes in the future, we will seek to craft an initiative that would ban the wearing of saggy, baggy pants in public places.
    While it may not seem like the most pressing of topics - -the ‘saggy-draggy pants’ debate is one of those issues that we face in our communities which, however unfairly - - add to the perceptions of a culture of violence. And while it is often difficult to legislate clothing behavior, today’s growing fashion ‘faux-pas’ related to drooping and sagging pants is hard to ignore. Also, it is an unfortunate fact that lately, the wearing of pants below the hips is more and more often associated with gang activity and other negative influences, which also impacts school violence, as  well as street violence - - which is a growing problem impacting residents of all ages.
    There are those who feel strongly about this issue, pro and con, but one thing is clear: if those young people who favor this sagging style would generally act in ways which help to promote the common good, then perhaps we would not be considering the passage of this resolution, and a future law prohibiting this style of dress. What we are looking to do is simply encourage folks to exhibit some social manners, basic, common sense and overall respect for other people. I understand the inter-generational differences in styles of dress; however the world today is a vastly different place than it was when I grew up. Today, the wrong attire can cause you a lot of grief if you run across others who don’t like what you have on. It can also cost you even more than that – far too many young people have lost their lives because of the wrong color, tilt of a hat or slope of the baggy pants.
    The bottom line is the fact that some people need to understand - - both young people and adults alike - - is that many of us do not want to see their underwear — and I am one of them.  Personally, I am tired of looking at other people’s underwear in public. What about you?”
Under the proposed resolution, individuals caught wearing their pants more than 3 inches below the hip in public, and in the Chicago schools would be disciplined, and perhaps fined but would not face criminal charges.
What we are looking to do is create a dialogue that would possibly prohibit students from exposing “underwear or body parts in an indecent manner” that disrupts the learning environment. Further, through this resolution, I am also looking to help prepare young people for the future world of work and responsibility. Hard as it may be for young people to accept - - the reality is that clothes we wear affect how we feel, look and act as a person and we are often assessed by how we dress and how we present ourselves. It can even impact the choices you make for the rest of your life. Now that’s something to think about as you or your young person gets ready to face the world tomorrow and the next day, isn’t it?

Need a service or have a question? Contact my ward office at 773-745-2894, or send an email:


Pastor Donald Coleman & First Lady Rosie Coleman of Mt. Carmel Holiness Church, 4800 W. Washington Blvd., greets Bishop Jimmy Clark, Sr. & First Lady Mother Marilyn Clark from Wings of Deliverance Tabernacle, Fort Wayne, Indiana, at the God-Fearing Women’s Conference 2012. (Photo by Marilyn Hampton)

Mt. Carmel Holiness Church Pastor Donald Coleman & First Lady Rosie Coleman welcome Dr. Willie Mae Hankins from Word of Truth Kingdom Church in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by Marilyn Hampton)


Eighty people between the ages of 4 and 85 attended St. Martin’s Embrace the Space program on Sunday, April 29, which featured the mixed-abilities dance company, Dance>Detour in the performance and movement workshop So You Think You Can’t Dance. Mixed-abilities dance companies combine the talents of dancers with and without disabilities to create unique dance forms and new ways of moving. The workshop attracted people from the Austin area, as well as from other neighborhoods in and around Chicago. 
    Dance>Detour demonstrated its belief that there is quality in all types of movement, and anyone can dance regardless of age or physical ability. The dancers got audience members up and moving. Everyone, including those who used walkers, canes, wheelchairs, and leg braces, and those with visual disabilities participated in the fun. Participants watched exciting Dance>Detour performances, participated in warm-up exercises, and created and performed routines of their own.
“This was one of the best workshops we have had the honor to present! The staff and audience were amazing! Thank you for including Dance>Detour in this series!” Alana Hodges Wallace, founder and artistic director said.

“I felt humbled by the gratitude we felt as performers. In fact, I felt the line was wonderfully blurred between audience and the company – we all felt like one on Sunday.”  Melissa L. Sallée, dancer

“Sunday’s So you think you can’t dance program was phenomenal! I nearly wept from pleasure at the performance. And the interaction with the audience was so much fun,”  added Ellen Janiec, audience member.

    The dance workshop was the third in a series of events co-hosted by St. Martin’s Episcopal Church and Bodies of Work (BOW) with funding from The Chicago Community Trust’s Artistic and Cultural Diversity Initiative. Bodies of Work, a network for disability arts and culture, is housed in the Department of  Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  The Initiative was created by the Trust to showcase the talents of diverse and culturally specific artists in venues located in areas of Cook County not traditionally served by arts and cultural programming. Bodies of Work hopes to build on its collaboration with St. Martin’s to maintain a presence in the Austin community and create meaningful programs to present in the neighborhood.
    The series closes on Sunday, May 20 with Carrie Sandahl presenting Images of Disability in Films for Kids, a screening of film clips and an interactive guided discussion with the audience of how Hollywood portrays people with disability in children’s films. Admission is FREE.  The event is wheelchair accessible, sign language interpreted and audio described, and all are welcomed.

    For Embrace the Space program information, disability accommodations or to RSVP, phone 312/996-1967, or email For Information about St. Martin’s Episcopal Church contact Rev. Christopher E. Griffin, Vicar, at 773/378-8111 or visit

Happy 7th Anniversary to Chance Ministries!

Guest speaker Pastor Anthony Reed of New Bread of Life COGIC delivers the message of joy and thanksgiving at the 7th anniversary celebration of Rev. & Mrs. William Martin at Chance Ministries. (Photo by Marilyn Hampton)
Rev. William Martin & First Lady Belinda Martin with guest speaker Rev. Anthony Reed & wife Lucille, pastors and friends celebrating their 7th anniversary at Chance Ministries, 305 N. Cicero Avenue. (Photo by Marilyn Hampton)

News You Can Use from Alderman Chandler

Midwest (TIF) Small Business Improvement Fund Grant
24th Ward Alderman Michael D. Chandler was pleased to be informed by City of Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED) staff that the 24th Ward had a large number of local businesses apply for business improvement and start-up funding under the Midwest TIF Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) program for this funding cycle.
    The SBIF is a grant program that helps start-up and existing businesses access Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues within specific districts to help owners/tenants of commercial and industrial properties repair and remodel their facilities. Program participants receive reimbursing grants to cover up to 75% of the cost of remodeling work, with a maximum grant amount of $150,000. The grant funds do not have to be repaid.
    The program allows for a wide variety of businesses to be eligible for funding. Information on the application process and submission procedures was available on Alderman Chandler’s website:, via email blast, local community newspapers, 24th ward community forums, as well as outreach to community stakeholder groups and organizations.
    “I was pleased to hear about the strong turnout of 24th ward local businesses within the Midwest TIF district that have applied for funding under this important program,” stated Alderman Chandler. I look forward to having as many businesses within the 24th ward as possible benefit from the resources of this program to create, improve and expand their businesses within the 24th ward.”

Stop in at our Constituent Service Office, 1158 South Keeler Avenue, or call 773/533-2400.

New Mt. Vernon Celebrates 54th Anniversary

Pastor Cleve Minter of New Mt. Vernon leads his congregation in celebrating the church’s 54th anniversary. He is joined by guest speaker Rev. Derrick McCollum of Peaceful New Beginnings, Pastor Tommy Morris of Greater Christian Fellowship, and prominent ministers helping mark the occasion. (Photo by Marilyn Hampton)

Good Information, Good Nutrition

Leslie Lewis Elementary makes Great Kids!

Marquise Cooper, 12, a 6th grade student at Leslie Lewis Elementary School, earned certificates for Perfect Attendance and the Scantron Performance Assessment in Math. Marquise is also a youth worker with THE VOICE Newspapers. (Photo by Brad)

Israel Lewis, 12, a 6th grade student at Leslie Lewis Elementary School, displays the certificate he earned for achievement in Reading. Israel is also a youth worker with THE VOICE Newspapers. (Photo by Brad)


Congressman Jackson advises Job Corps students to “grab what is being offered to you because it is a valuable gift. In this time of economic recession, doctors, lawyers, and college graduates cannot find work. You will have high-paying careers when you leave the Job Corps.” (Photo by Brad)
Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., visited the Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center, 3348 South Kedzie Avenue, to officially open the new Material Handling and Distribution Operations Training Course. The program prepares students for careers in shipping and receiving, forklift operation, and inventory control. It is the newest of the nine trade areas taught at the Chicago Job Corps Center.
    As he prepared to cut the ribbon officially dedicating the new course, Jackson declared, “We are standing on hallowed ground because it is here that futures are built and dreams are born.” He said young people are being prepared for success in the working world, even as the nation struggles with a stubborn economic recession and high unemployment.
    Jackson continued his comments in the campus auditorium, advising students to take everything that is being given to them and realize how lucky they are because they are being prepared for high-paying, secure careers. He said doctors, lawyers, and college graduates are unable to find work in today’s economy. “This will not be your plight because you are being prepared for the careers of the future.”
Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center Director Bryan Mason thanks Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., for his unwavering support for the career-training program. (Photo by Brad)     
The Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center is one of 125 vocational career training campuses nationwide operated by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Chicago Job Corps Center offers nine career training courses. In addition to Material Handling and Distribution, students are learning Carpentry, Painting, Bricklaying, Certified Nursing Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, Computer Service Technician, Office Practice, and Graphic Design.
    All training is offered without cost to students and job placement services are provided. The Job Corps is open to men and women ages 16-24. Dormitory housing is available free to students wishing to live on campus. Meals are provided free, also.
    Students without high school diplomas are required to take classes leading to graduation or GED. These, too, are offered free on center. Free childcare services are also available on center and program graduates can attend Chicago City Colleges tuition-free.
    For information on applying for admission to the Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center, call Beth Allen at 773/890-3131. New students are enrolling weekly as space permits and free tours are conducted every Friday morning. No reservations are required.
Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., cuts the ribbon officially dedicating the newest career-training course at the Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center – Material Handling and Distribution Operations. Rep. Jackson has been a consistent supporter of the Job Corps in Congress. (Photo by Brad)