Category: Community Concerns

Police superintendent Jody Weis has recently caught flack for meeting w/ refuted Westside gang leaders in an attempt to reduce the violence on the streets.  The move, or threat as some view it is part of Chicago’s Gang Violence Reduction Initiative.  During the meeting, Weis warned gang leaders like Labar “Bro Man” Spann, an alleged Four Corner Hustlers leader and Jettie “Bo Diddley” Williams, the 50-year-old reputed leader of the Traveling Vice Lords to stop the killings or life for them would become miserable.

To carry out his threat, Weis told the gang leaders to remember the word RICO, and how homes, cars and other assets would be seized while conspiracy cases were brought upon gang leaders.  Many of the gang leaders in attendance said there’s no way I can be held responsible for what someone else does, and even hinted at the fact that they can’t control the young gang members.  After keeping up w/ this story, it’s interesting that gang leaders have really shown their true colors as being powerless (food for thought).

So is group responsibility a good way to quell the violence amongst rival gang members, senseless crimes, and other horrible behavior?

Should gang leaders be held responsible for the actions of the members below them & could this method work?

Share your thoughts…




I know we haven’t updated the blog in quite some time but w/ the school year ending and Tom Dart’s Summer Youth Camps in full swing, it would be impossible to regularly update our site.  Here’s an update on how YSD’s summer went down.

  • Sheriff Tom Dart’s Youth Camp (two-weeks) w/ campers from Robbins, Chicago Heights, & Ford Heights was a huge success.  It ran from July 12th-23rd and the youth enjoyed two weeks of fun, excitement, and learned various new things.  Our campers also managed to make new friends heading into the new school year.
  • The second  youth camp during the summer was also a big hit.  The youth went swimming, skating, witnessed a minor league baseball game, and created arts & crafts, while learning new things during the 1st week of August.


Expungement Summit

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, June 5th 2010

Dorothy Brown, the Clerk of the Circuit of Cook County and a host of others will be hosting a “Expungement Summit” on Saturday June 5, 2010.  This event is for adults & juveniles, and will have volunteer attorneys on site to help w/ expungement and sealing applications. Information on employment, job training, health care and other services for ex-offenders will be available.  The expungement process is when a “record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from the state of Federal repository.” 

There’s a process one has to undergo and a fee but in the end it can make all the difference.  This summit will give you great information on this topic and available resources in your community.


Dwight D. Eisenhower High School

12700 Sacramento Ave., Blue Island, IL


June 5, 2010

Registration begins at 8:30 am and the doors close at 6 pm.

Contact info:

For more information, you can call 312-603-5696 or visit

Also, please read up on the information provided in the expungement packet which can be found at the site above.  It will tell you what information to bring, the expungement process, and help you to find if you qualify for expungement.


The Black Star Project has created a mentor program called “The Warrior, Scholar, & Healer” and are looking for 50 young males ages 13-18 years old.  If you’re looking to give back to your community, get service hours for school, or volunteer opportunities to place on your resume, this is something for you.

I currently mentor youth on a daily basis and let me be the first to say there’s great reward in helping others.  Not only do you get to meet a wide range of people, but you can also have a lasting impact on someone’s life.  Here’s a little bit about the opportunity:

 The Warrior, Scholar, Healer Mentor Program meets four times a month; has a one mentor to 4 youth ratio; works on the issues of respecting elders; teaches youth to value education; teaches youth to honoring parents, young women and girls; teaches youth to be leaders and not followers; connects youth to positive male role models; travels to other parts of the city on field trips; brings in guest speakers; practices self-discipline; and more.

Youth must live between 2200 South and 5500 South in Chicago to participate in this program.

Here’s the contact info: Call Comella or Chris at 773.285.9600.  The Black Star Warrior, Scholar, Healer Mentor Program will be based at 3509 South King Drive, Suite 2B in Chicago, Illinois.


After students voiced their opinions about the foods they eat on a daily basis at school, change immediately followed.  Two months from today (or June), students will see no pop tarts or fatty doughnuts but more vegetables  and whole grains.  These changes are being made to battle childhood obesity & help students to live healthier lifestyles as they develop.  These new changes will also help to further promote Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move Campaign”, which focuses on battling childhood obesity.

In 2007, according to the Illinois Youth Risk Behavior Survey :

  • 13% of high schoolers were obese. 
  • 34% drank a can, bottle, or glass of soda or pop (not including diet soda or diet pop) at least one time per day during the 7 days before the survey.
  • 10% always offered fruits or unfried vegetables in vending machines and school stores

I suggest if you haven’t started, you should definitely try to eat more healthy foods.  Exercising and eating healthy promote live & make you feel better physically on a daily basis.  I remember in high school, many people ate pizza and potato chips (ex. Flamin Hots, nachos w/ cheese, etc) every day & as they got older couldn’t do the same things they used to do b/c they were out of shape.  Good move CPS!!!


Many times adults and youth feel as though local government doesn’t provide enough or equal opportunity of resources in certain communities versus others.  I definitely see the disparity but I can’t place all the blame on one group (ex. government).  Now is the time for us to step up.  With that said, we have to fill out our U.S. Census 2010 Packets.  It’s only used as a counter for people in the area and nothing more.

Benefits to filling out Census Info:

  • The govn’t has 400 billion dollars to spend and alot of it goes
  • Your community receives funding to help improve your schools
  • Resources for hospitals
  • Provides job training programs in your community
  • Can enhance public transportation
  • Less money may be needed for sales taxes if we get money from federal govn’t.

Have your parents filled out their census forms?


“Nearly a third of all students aged 12 – 18 reported having been bullied at school in 2007, some almost daily.”

That’s a statement I’ve heard plenty of times growing up from friends, peers and even sometimes students when I’m presenting our Stop The Bullying Workshop.  Thats not the reality though and many times we need that wake up call.  A few years ago, that wake up call was the shooting at Northern Illinois or Virginia Tech.  Who can forget the Columbine Massacre yrs ago though (when teens who were getting bullied took it upon themselves and brought guns into the school killing more than 12 students, some killed for no reason).  As of late, the scene and actions were all too familiar as a Massachusetts girl (15 yrs old) hung herself after months of bullying and harassment at school.  She was found dead by her younger sister.

This all began over a group of kids being displeased w/ the fact that Phoebe was dating a certain guy.  That caused a domino affect of verbal & physical abuse, and assault.  The plan was to humiliate Phoebe and it did work, but now 9 teenagers are charged w/ bullying charges and one promising young lady is dead.  Smarten up people!!!  Bullying just doesn’t impact the victim(s) and those bullying others.  Families, futures, and many other things are impacted as well.

Charges the group of teens are facing:

  1. Statutory rape charges (could result in penalties of up to life in prison. Since the legal age to consent w/ sex is 16 in Massachusetts)
  2. Violation-of-civil-rights charge (could result in 10 years in prison)
  3. Criminal harassment up to 2 1/2 years
  4. Conviction for disturbance of school assembly up to one month

All this due to students bullying others.  Let’s prevent news like this from making the headlines.  SmartenUp People


Have you ever made your information private b/c you didn’t want everyone on your facebook page? How about get the latest facebook app to see who’s been on your page in past months? Oh yeah, and there’s the whole name change so only true friends will be able to find you on the social networking site!

If so, it’s probably for good reason, especially if you are currently looking for a job, internship, or career.  A recent study by Microsoft found that 70 percent of recruiters and hiring managers in the United States have rejected an applicant based on information they found online. WOW  The survey also found that 79 percent of U.S. hiring managers have used the Internet to better assess applicants.

This means watch what you post, from wall postings and messages to pictures that you post of yourself or friends tag you in.  They can be the difference between a phone call for a future job and another job search w/ no call back.  One hiring manager even suggested that, “we would Google their name, look at LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter,” according to the CNN article.  Also don’t think once you’ve been hired, that its ok to upload inappropriate photos and/or comments b/c that too may cost you your job. 

Once you start working, not only do you represent your family but also your employer and that brand.  Think before you post!!!