Thursday, March 7, 2013

06 Mar 13

“ and housing is a right ...not just for the rich and white...”

Power to the people, blogspot readers!
This evening, SouthSide’s taking a break from covering the local scene to focus more on the socio-political side of things happening around town. She alongwith hundreds of others walked the line in front of the 46 aldermanic office in the Uptown neighborhood. This grassroots public display of peaceful protesting crossed many dividing lines such as gender, race, income background, neighborhood, ages and non-profit organizations ...all united together for a common cause – to say “NO!” to Alderman James Cappleman’s war on the 99%. Those who attended this gathering aren’t against seeing this neighborhood redevelop economically but it’s the way this particular politician is doing it by eliminating social programs and aide which serve the homeless as well as the poor to working poor in the area.

And that, blogspot readers, is wrong.

“...we’re Uptown ...we won’t back down...”

Though this protest against Alderman Cappleman may have started after allowing an IN farmer to trap and use pigeons as shooting targets according to recent news reports, but it goes way deeper than that. SouthSide was given a flyer during the protest rally that demonstrates the length this politician has gone (and would go) to keep Uptown rapidly moving forward to regentrification. And to make this very clear – what’s about to be said next is public record, blogspot readers, even though he wasn’t available for comments. Alderman Cappleman opposed a senor bulding (the Ruth Shriman Senor Building located at 4040 N. Sheridan) because HE claimed it would [not only] add to crime in the neighborhood but [also] block their sunlight. Another example – HE tried to have Cornerstone Shelter shut down by claiming the building was unsafe as well as fought the proposal for affordable housing at the Wilson Yards by circulating literature and spreading fear and hate falsely claiming that the Wilson Yard was a plan to build another “Cabrini Green” (one of Chicago’s infamous CHA housing projects) in Uptown.

“...that man [Alderman Cappleman] is crazy...”

However, there were two major issues of recent date that has many who came out tonight hot under the collar ...or let’s just say, hot under the soup ladle. Recently, the Salvation Army, a Christian-based non profit organization, was targeted by Alderman Cappleman because of its service feeding the homeless (as well as low income and moderate residents) from a food truck. Captain Nancy Powers, Salvation Army Corp Officer, stated that “We’ve asked Alderman Cappleman for a follow-up meeting concerning the truck situation but we’ve yet to hear back from him. We hope that he’s sincere in his latest statements that he welcomes our services in the Uptown area.” Yet on the other hand, a spokesperson for the alderman, Chief of Staff Tressa Feher, had this to say: “We haven’t heard from Capt. Powers about furthering our meetings. The Alderman will be in his office during the protest but we’re uncertain it he’ll address the rally.” However, to put this demonstration in a different light, co-organizer and volunteer for Rogers Park Food Not Bombs, Peter Hoy, said the organization is an international movement “...that believes food is a fundamental human right...” citing that local chapters of Food Not Bombs would stand in solidarity with the people of Uptown and also promising to “...share meals in the ward to protest the Alderman’s war on the poor...” He also added, “...if they kick out the Salvation Army, we will be there to make sure the meals don’t stop.”

And it doesn’t stop there, blogspot readers, the alderman also wants to close down two of the last transitional living quarters. the Chateau and the Wilson Men’s Club, in this neighborhood. Even though promising not to, he’s in favor of supporting a development plan at the Maryville property that would give a subsidy of up to $32 million in TIF funds to a developer who, according the flyer printed by Northside Action for Justice, is proposing to build an 800 unit, high rent building. Meanwhile, this far northside community is losing hundreds of housing units like the Norman (located 1325 W. Wilson) that could be affordable to low income residents. See, blogspot readers, this fight in saying “NO” to Alderman Cappleman was merely more than just saving needed services for one select group(s) of people. They were trying to save an entire community by fighting this politician and his supporters bent on wiping them away. Yet, you don’t have to take SouthSide’s word on this, you might get a better understanding if you hear it from the people she interviewed during the protest.

“...No soup for you!

People like Lair Scott, fellow organizer and CEO of Queer Fest America, has utilized every Uptown social service including the Salvation Army. On Monday, he marked 5 years of being independent after lifing himself out of chronic homelessness. Meet, Edward who currently resides in the Wilson Men’s Club had this to say when asked how he felt about the turnout for the protest “...[I] think it was great...” while Jeremy who works at a homeless shelter said “...there’s a perception that good things aren’t happening at the shelter I work at...” adding he knows the people who sleep under the viaduct and/or in the shelter. According to him, the shelter has a lot of success helping people for example like one person he mentioned to SouthSide who signed his lease today. “...there are good things happening all of the time...” but when asked about Alderman Cappleman and what he’s doing, he stated “...he wants us to do it his way ...there’s not enough housing in the city...” Then, there was “Marie Antoinette” holding her “Let Them Eat Pigeons” sign throughout the protest ...she was, blogspot readers, quite the attraction of the day. This reviewer when asking “Marie” why this particular costume, she replied “...I saw a parallel with the lack of interest in the poor from the French Revolution...” Besides demonstrating and picketing in front of the Alderman Cappleman’s office, there was also feeding the protesters and others with hot soup and chili, blogspot readers, in which SouthSide spoke briefly with Nells from Food Not Bombs organization (from Rogers Park) for her thoughts about tonight. She answered “...think it went well ...both neighborhoods [Rogers Park and Uptown] are facing regenification...” also adding that it was an “...amazing turnout for a Wednesday night ...I’m really excited...”

After the peaceful demonstation was “officially” over, SouthSide could see seeds of networking and where to take this fight next sprouting amongst the mini gatherings large and small as people shared, discussed and planned with each other. This, blogspot readers, was socio-political activism at work and in action ...even some right in front of the Alderman Cappleman’s windows where a few jeered and taunted those sitting inside. “It’s sad that he [Alderman Cappleman] wants to target the poor and this protest will represent only the beginning of many protests to come.” says Lair Scott in a press release dated Monday. There will be another meeting in which the public is invited to attend the Northside P.O.W.E.R. on Sunday March 10 from 6:30p to 8p at Willye White Field House (located 1610 W. Howard St., in Chicago). The topic of the night will be “...It’s just Common Sense to invest in the Common Good... – 2/3 of corporations in Illinois PAY NO INCOME TAX! If they’d pay their fair share, Illinois would not have to make devastating budget cuts...”

Until next time, support your local scene,

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