Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cost of Violence in Chicago: $2.5 Billion; A Relative of Victims of

The economic costs of violence in Chicago: $2.5 billion each year
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Syron Smith during a meeting with teens that he mentors.
The State of the Union isn't the only speech President Obama will give this week. On Friday, he'll address the nation from Chicago. The speech will be about gun violence and murder in the nation's third largest city and
across the country.
Last year, Chicago had 506 homicides, the most since 2008. Per capita, that's worse than both New York City and Los Angeles. In January, 42 people were killed, setting a pace that would surpass 2012. In fact, gun violence is actually down across the city overall since the early '90s. But certain neighborhoods on the South and West sides of the city have been decimated by violence -- neighborhoods like Englewood. And it's not just the people who are suffering.
The economy of Englewood has also been devastated. At one time, 63rd Street, a major east-west thoroughfare across the heart of Englewood, was a vibrant economic strip anchored by major department stores like Sears. Today, most major retailers, including the big grocery chains, have abandoned the area. Vacant lots, empty buildings and boarded-up businesses now dot the landscape where thriving enterprises once operated.
It's not just 63rd Street. The same is true of just about any other commercial street in Englewood and many of the residential areas in the South Side as well. One reason is that Englewood has one of the highest homicide rates in the city. It also has one of the highest unemployment rates. Forty percent of the people who live there are unemployed. And for those who do work in Englewood, dealing with violence has now become part of the job.
"One thing that happens when violence is driving people and business out of the city is that it obviously reduces the tax base, which denigrates the ability of the city government to address the violence problem, which generates more violence, which drives out more tax base," Ludwig says.
"So that's a very unfortunate cycle. What you wind up with in some of these very disadvantaged neighborhoods is even bigger concentrations of poverty, and all of that further fuels the risk of violence in the neighborhoods," he says. Ludwig estimates that the total social cost of violence in Chicago is $2.5 billion each year.
Syron Smith is an exception to that rule. The 37-year-old office manager owns a home near Englewood with his wife, Jamika, and their 15-month old daughter, Mariah. Smith may be middle-class now, but he grew up in high rise housing projects -- mostly black, mostly poor -- and definitely violent. "I was born in '75, so I remember at 6 years old , which was '81, asking my mom, 'Why were blacks killing each other?'" says Smith.
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Advice to President Barack Obama for
His State of the Union Address
from a Relative of Victims of Violence
By Kimberly Johnson
A Relative of Multiple Shooting Victims
Blocked image I can recall not so long ago writing numerous letters to influential people in the city of Chicago asking them for help. I saw many of these same influential people who ignored my pleas at Hadiya Pendleton's funeral service. I asked for help for my eighteen year old daughter, Ryann Brown, who was a survivor of gun violence on March 2, 2006. She sustained a gunshot to her brain. The young man she was with, who was shot in the chest, succumbed to his injury. My pleas fell on deaf ears in 2006.
Since that time I have lost count of the number of young people slaughtered in Chicago by other young people that look like them. I have even lost my youngest son, Ricky Brown, to gun violence. My son was murdered in Englewood on March 21, 2012. Right now my fifteen year old nephew lives with two bullets in his body from two separate shootings. I would be remiss if I failed to mention our young people who have been slaughtered by the Chicago Police Department.
I believe your message to America should be that every young life in America is valuable. No matter their circumstance. We, as a country, must get to the root of the self- hatred that causes the violence. We must deal with the real causes and symptoms of gun violence. We repeatedly allow people who have ulterior motives to tell us how to stop violence in our communities instead of us, the people who suffer from violence, telling them how to stop violence in our communities.
Blocked image Yes we have Ceasefire, Black Star Project and numerous other organizations, but they have not impacted or made a difference in stemming this violence and genocide. Think about it! The numbers of the dead and injured are escalating as they do their work.
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Kimberly Johnson is a suppporter of The Black Star Project
Calling All Fathers, Stepfathers, Foster Fathers, Grandfathers, Godfathers, Uncles, Brothers and Male Caregivers!
The Black Star Project's
Million Fathers Club
to see the best
Men's College Basketball (FREE)
DePaul University
Blue Demons
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Rutgers University
Scarlet Knights
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Saturday, February 16, 2013
Allstate Arena
6920 North Mannheim Road
Rosemont, Illinois
Game starts at 12:00 noon
Call Ivory at 773.285.9600 to pick up tickets
Please call 773.285.9600 to RSVP or for more information about this game. Men and women of all races, ethnicities and faith backgrounds may and should attend this event with their children.
Join Black Star Members for a Free Special Showing of SNITCH
on Thursday, February 21, 2013
This is a "members only" event
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In the fast-paced action thriller, Dwayne Johnson stars as a father whose teenage son is wrongly accused of a drug distribution crime and is looking at a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years. Desperate and determined to rescue his son at all costs, he makes a deal with the U.S. attorney to work as an undercover informant and infiltrate a drug cartel on a dangerous mission -- risking everything, including his family and his own life.
Please call Ivory at 773.285.9600 to RSVP or form more information. Members only. Become a member!
Click Here to see a trailer of SNITCH
In New Jersey, there is a Dollar Store owned by African Americans ready to expand across the country and into your community?
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Elizabeth, New Jersey - There's a new dollar store in town, and its owner may be seen yanking up her gates every morning to prepare for a grateful flow of local customers.

The Million $ Dollar Store is a welcome addition to the small businesses on First Street and the owner, Mrs. Niamo, aims to make the most of the residents' warm welcome.

The owner explains, "Our theme is about linking the meaning of dollar store to people's well-being and self-worth. It is the little things that count so much in life and little things add up. We're happy to make people's lives easier in this way."

Million $ Dollar Store (say dollar twice) opened on October 7th. The store is stocked with cleaning supplies, health and personal care items, baby things, kitchen ware, pet supplies, toys, office and school supplies, hair accessories, hardware and party ware in just under 2,000 square feet of space.

Each week the stock expands, often in response to customer requests. Unusual requests include a customer's need for "large sunglasses to cover my eyebrows." There are over 400 pairs of reading glasses and shades for one dollar apiece. Mrs. Niamo wants the store to stay a "real" dollar store and right now has only a few items above that, such as $1.39 for Tide detergent.

The store is easy to find from Routes 1, 9, NJ Turnpike, 278, and Geothels Bridge. People from all across New Jersey and New York should support this great African American business. You should visit MILLION $ DOLLAR STORE at 93 First St., Elizabeth, New Jersey. Please call (908) 242-5657 for more information or email mdollarstore@optimum.net.
For Black History Month,
Saint Sabina Brings in the Top Theorist and Practicioners in the Country to Address Issues in Our Communities
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Please call Saint Sabina for more information at 773.483.4300.
Fathers and Families
Chess Night
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
The Black Star Project
3509 South King Drive
Chicago, Illinois
$3.00 per player (scholarships available)
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Chess has been proven to enhance:
  • creativity
  • problem solving
  • memory
  • critical thinking
  • concentration
  • self esteem
  • intellectual maturity
Please call 773.285.9600 for more information.
There are those who cry, complain and lament the destruction of Black boys in the American education system and, on the other hand, there are those who do something about it.
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The men from Morehouse College
In February 2013, 50 Saturday Universities will open around the country that will focus on best practices for teaching Black boys and young men. We need you to open a Saturday University in your school, church, community or city for Black Boys and young men?
Here is why you need a Saturday University for Black Boys.
  • In Chicago, only 3 out of 100 Black boys will graduate from a 4-year college by age 26
  • Only 4% of U.S. college students are Black males
  • Less than 2% of U.S. teachers are Black males
  • Only 9% of Black young men attending Rochester, N.Y. Public Schools graduate from high school
  • Only about 50% of all Black young men in the U.S. graduatee from high school
  • Only 12% of U.S. black students perform at grade level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress
  • Black students in the U.S. are getting a lesser education than many students in third world countries according to the 2011 International PISA assessment
  • The average 17-year-old American Black student has the reading and math scores of the average 13-year-old American white student
  • Black males are suspended more, expelled more and arrested more in U.S. schools than any other American students according to the U.S. Dept. of Education.
Low educational achievement among Black boys and young men feeds high educational failure, high unemployment, high incarceration, a propensity towards violence and high mortality in Black boys and young men. Please call 773.285.9600 to get a free organizing guide and technical assistance to start a Saturday University in your school, church, community or city.

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