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‘Turnaround’ schools and discrimination

District 299 characterizes the filing of a discrimination complaint as “playing the race card.”  For an alternate view, check Black Agenda Report:

“Public-private partnerships between Chicago’s City Hall, where two men named Richard Daley have ruled more than 40 of the last 55 years, and a gaggle of corporate bagmen from the Gates, Bradley, Walton and other foundations have honed a disastrous ‘education reform’ agenda that is now national policy. In Chicago, where dozens of neighborhood public schools have been shuttered and hundreds of experienced, predominantly black teachers fired in mid-career and replaced by underqualified, underpaid, uncertified and ovewhelmingly white newbie instructors, resistance is brewing and spreading….”

Resegregating New Orleans

The rebuilding of New Orleans “often bears an alarming resemblance to a segregation re-enactment,” writes Lizzy Ratner in the Nation.   Read the rest of this entry »

UN hearing on racism in Chicago

Doudou Diene, Special Rapporteur on Racism for the UN Human Rights Commission, holds a public hearing on racial discrimination in Chicago at noon on Friday, May 23, at the University of Chicago International House, 1414 E, 59th.

His fact-finding mission was mandated after a Chicago delegation presented a report on racism here (pdf) to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva in February.

A reception for Diene will be held at the Depaul University Law School, 1 E. Jackson, Friday at 4 p.m.  More information at jcua.org.  (More on Diene’s visit to eight U.S. cities at US Human Rights Network.  Also see last December’s Newstip on the Chicago report.)

CRS, Herbert, Wright

Today New York Times columnist Bob Herbert writes that Rev. Jeremiah Wright is bad news for racial reconciliation in America (and for the presidential candidacy of Wright’s most prominent parishioner). 

 Tomorrow Herbert speaks at the 125th anniversary luncheon of the Community Renewal Society, the local civil rights project founded and supported by Wright’s denomination, the United Church of Christ — Wednesday, April 30, 12 noon at the Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbus.  Herbert will give the keynote, speaking on “Poverty Beyond the Bush Years.”

PS – Monroe Anderson has a different view of Wright’s reemergence.

Jobs: spatial and racial mismatch

Chicago area job growth is concentrated in municipalities with the lowest African American populations and the least affordable housing, according to a new Chicago Reporter analysis.  The black unemployment rate in the Chicago area is five times the rate for whites.

“Distance from job opportunities hinders the employment prospects of African Americans by imposing commuting costs, and by hampering knowledge of employment opportunities,” according to researchers cited by the Reporter.

It’s worth recalling last year’s report from Good Jobs First-Illinois showing how state economic development subsidies favor affluent outlying suburbs which have low unemployment, contributing to sprawl and penalizing transit-dependent workers.

These analyses underline the importance of “smart growth” being promoted by local nonprofits.  The Center for Neighborhood Technology advocates for transit-oriented development, including affordable housing near transit, and Metropolitan Planning Council  works to facilitate employer-assisted housing near job sites.

Stories that build bridges

Storyteller and CMW associate Susan O’Halloran will receive the Saint Katharine Drexel Racial Justice Award from the Archdiocese of Chicago on Friday, which is the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination — and the eve of an annual multicultural storytelling festival she helps organize, where this year nine local high school students will be honored for building cultural bridges.

The awards shine spotlights on a few of the many people carrying on King’s message of racial justice and reconciliation.

One of O’Halloran’s stories, captured on her CD “Dividing Lines,” tells of her own small teenage rebellion against her South Side Irish family, barricaded in their home while King led an open housing march a few blocks away. She had already joined a citywide interracial youth group, invited by a nun in her high school; the CD tells of “the education of a Chicago white girl” in humorous vignettes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Black pastors back Wright

“As leaders within our community, African American pastors stand united in our support of Dr. [Jeremiah] Wright and the points he made in his message,” said two leaders of the Gamaliel Foundation in a statement today.

“Unfortunately, the interest in characterizing the style of Dr. Wright’s message has not been matched by a willingness to converse either about the substance of his message (all of it, rather than ten-second sound bites) or the passion that gives rise to the remarks,” said Rev. Dr. Kevin M. Turman and Rev. Dr. John Welch, leaders of the Gamliel Foundation, a national network of grassroots faith-based community organizations based in Chicago.

It was under Gamaliel’s auspices that Sen. Barack Obama worked as a community organizer for the Developing Communities Project in Roseland in the mid 1980s.

Read the rest of this entry »

Report to UN on racism in Chicago

Local community activists will travel to Geneva next week (February 17 to 23) to testify on offically-sanctioned human rights violations in Chicago before the UN’s International Committee on Racial Discrimination.  

Members of the Developing Government Accountability Project will raise issues including police torture, public housing, and transportation policy.  (See the recent Newstip on the group’s report on racism and human rights in Chicago.)



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  • Telling people’s stories, an ethnic media success September 2, 2015
        By Stephen Franklin Community Media Workshop   A 3-year-old child died on a plane from Chicago to Poland. This, Magdalena Pantelis instantly knew, was a story her readers would care about. But she needed more detail to write about it for the Polish Daily News, the nation’s oldest daily newspaper in Polish, founded Jan. […]
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