WBEZ | Boystown http://www.wbez.org/tags/boystown Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Are there enough cops for Pride, Market Days? http://www.wbez.org/news/are-there-enough-cops-pride-market-days-107902 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5879594086_819c447e82_z.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 414px;" title="Chicago Police patrol a Lakeview alley after the parade. (Flickr/nathanmac87)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F98738729" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Updated 12:00 a.m.</em></p><p>Given the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, many are expecting a record turnout for the Annual Gay Pride Parade this Sunday in Chicago&rsquo;s Lakeview neighborhood. Prediction: There&rsquo;s going to be a lot of revelry (there always is), but in the run up to the event, there are questions about how much street crime could occur over the weekend, and what&rsquo;s being done to prevent it.</p><p>And those questions are raised as a handful of stabbings tainted last weekend&rsquo;s Pride Fest, a street festival that once ran in tandem with the Annual Gay Pride Parade. In one case, a person was found stabbed early Sunday morning just north of the fest area. <a href="http://wgntv.com/2013/06/24/3-injured-in-separte-stabbing-attacks-in-lakeview/">Also, two people were attacked</a> at the Belmont Red Line &ldquo;L&rdquo; station while trying to detain an alleged cellphone thief.</p><p>The following Monday, many <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/06/24/stanley-cup-2013-thousands-of-fans-fill-streets-of-chicago/">took to the neighborhood&#39;s streets</a> to celebrate the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup. Several storefronts had their windows broken.</p><p>A neighborhood blog <a href="http://crimeinboystown.blogspot.com/">crimeinboystown</a> noted the incidents, though the sourcing (unnamed witnesses and local scanner broadcasts) is sketchy.</p><p>Still, the numbers suggest the area&rsquo;s become a magnet for thefts and robberies and, at times, aggravated battery with a weapon as well.</p><p>Earlier this year, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-02-07/crunching-lakeviews-crime-numbers-police-start">we looked at the crime stats </a>in Lakeview &mdash; just as Chicago police had rolled out the &ldquo;Entertainment Detail,&rdquo; a re-organized patrol designed to watch the city&rsquo;s nightspots during weekends and nights. Our analysis suggested decreases in some Wrigleyville/Boystown crimes, but sharp increases in robberies &mdash; <a href="http://wbezdata.tumblr.com/post/44257873024/cta-sun-times-get-in-data-fight">due in part to smartphone thefts</a>.</p><p>While a lot of ire has been raised in recent years about aggravated batteries in the area (<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/divided-boystown-88832">particularly stabbings</a>), none of the incidents resulted in a homicide during the event. And the community ranks among those with the least homicides in the city, averaging 0-3 annually.</p><p><strong>What goes into security planning</strong></p><p>When interviewed in February, Cmdr. Elias Voulgaris said the focus of the Entertainment was on violent crimes, he said, particularly muggings. He added that violent crime could be cut by clamping down on public drinking and urination.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5879483658_8874026b5a_z.jpg" style="float: left; height: 234px; width: 350px;" title="Chicago Police stand watch over the 2011 gay pride parade. (Flickr/nathanmac87)" />&quot;It all comes down to quality of life issues. [People] have to respect the residents and cut down on public drinking, urination and damage to property,&quot; he said.</p><p>The city <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2013/02/15/tighter_parade_restrictions_could_l.php">recently doubled the fines</a> from $500 to $1,000 for drinking within 200 feet of a parade route.</p><p>Hank Zemola is the CEO of Chicago Special Events Management, which has run many of the city&rsquo;s events since 1988.</p><p>When asked about the crime incidents following Pride Fest, he said they had worked with the city, aldermen and community members to make sure the neighborhood is adequately patrolled by Chicago police officers and private security, many of which, are off-duty police officers.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of forethought and development and historic information that goes into how they&rsquo;re deployed,&rdquo; he said referring to policing plans during and after events.</p><p>Zemola&rsquo;s company is hired on behalf of neighborhood and business groups. His events roster includes Lincoln Park Arts &amp; Music Festival, Northalsted Market Days, Taste of Greektown and Oktoberfest, to name a few.</p><p>When asked about whether the city and the groups had enough police to adequately provide security for events, he said they did and that events were staffed according to expected crowd size.</p><p><strong>So, how big are the Lakeview crowds?</strong></p><p>Zemola and others are required to submit crowd estimates of an event such as a street fair to get the necessary permits. For parades, such as the upcoming Annual Gay Pride Parade, organizers have to submit the number of participants and a route.</p><p>The Chicago Pride Parade is now on its 43rd year, and has been organized every year by Chicago resident&nbsp;Richard Pfeiffer.</p><p>Pfeiffer said the estimates were done by the Chicago Police Department.</p><p>He said it was the police that came up with the 850,000 number from 2012. &quot;The police are primarily in charge of crowd control [for parades],&quot; he said.</p><p>Regardless, he&#39;s still expecting a big turnout because of the recent High Court ruling and how Illinois lawmakers punted on passing same-sex marriage before the legislative session ended.</p><p>&quot;Well, I think you&#39;re going to have more people here, because two things happened in the last month. Illinois state did not pass same-sex marriage and there was a little disappointment at that point and a little anger by some people. But now with DOMA there&#39;s more of an up feeling,&quot; Pfeiffer said.</p><p>&quot;So the parade like all years will be a little bit political, a little bit social.&quot;</p><p>But the Pride Parade is not the only big draw for Lakeview.</p><p>Let&rsquo;s look at Market Days. The high-profile street fest takes place in August and is touted as one of the largest in the Midwest. According to the festival&rsquo;s sponsors, the Northalsted Business Alliance, the event is <a href="http://www.northalsted.com/pages/northalsted_market_days_/29.php">expected to attract over 100,000 people</a> over two days. On <a href="http://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1169982">the vendor registration site</a>, the estimate is 150,000 people. These numbers would seem to gel with media accounts from previous years.</p><p>But they don&rsquo;t seem to gel with the crowd estimates given to the city. The crowd estimate for the 2013 Market Days was listed as 35,000, which was also the estimate for the previous year.</p><p>So which number is right?</p><p>Zemola said the events require proof of insurance before they&rsquo;re approved. Insurance companies use them to determine policy prices. To ensure those estimates are correct, the insurers will send auditors to count the crowd.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re marketing numbers,&rdquo; Zemola said.</p><p>At times, special event organizers have to dole out additional funds to the city if more police are required to monitor an event. Zemola strongly denied that planners intentionally underestimate numbers in order to avoid higher security costs.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no police cost by numbers,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no reason to low-ball and there&rsquo;s certainly no reason to high-ball.&rdquo;</p><p>According to Zemola, they plan to hire 36 off duty police officers during Market Days in addition to Chicago Police. He said that after events, organizers will pay for private security to patrol the streets for those staying to patron the neighborhood&rsquo;s bars.</p><p>Zemola said the marketing numbers can help attract people to an event as well as much-needed sponsors. He said that even the Pride Parade, which had crowd estimates of 850,000 last year probably had closer to 250,000 people.</p><p>&ldquo;Those are crazy numbers,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Think of the population and physical space. It would be impossible to have those many people lined up and down the streets.&rdquo;</p><p>On Friday, the mayor&#39;s office&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/press_room/press_releases/2013/june_2013/statement_from_mayorrahmemanuelontodaysrallyandparade.html">issued a release stating</a>&nbsp;that over 2 million people attended the Blackhawks victory parade and rally downtown.</p><p>(Consider: The city&rsquo;s population is estimated to be at 2.7 million people. A figure of 850,000 would indicate a crowd equal to nearly a third of the city&rsquo;s population descended on a single neighborhood for single parade and a figure of 2 million would be more than 2/3rds the city&#39;s population.)</p><p>When asked about the disparity in the Market Days crowd numbers, the event sponsors say the numbers aren&rsquo;t reflective of those in the area.</p><p>&ldquo;The crowd numbers used in advertising materials reflect what we estimate is the total number of visitors over the course of the weekend to the neighborhood,&rdquo; said Jennifer Gordon, spokesperson for the Northalsted Business Alliance, the group that sponsored Pride Fest and Market Days. The group hired Zemola&rsquo;s company to plan and execute both events.</p><p>&ldquo;[The estimate] includes people who shop, dine and visit service providers on the street outside of regular festival hours and those that visit the area businesses outside the footprint of the festival,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Sponsors value the benefit of being recognized beyond the borders of the festival by attracting the eyes of those visiting the neighborhood.&rdquo;</p><p>Regardless of the numbers, the crowds for special events are still large, and almost always result in some type of crime. Whether that crime, regardless of level, is acceptable to residents or attendees remains to be seen.</p><p>In 2008, four people were shot at the Taste of Chicago. One of those victims <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/national_world&amp;id=6245977">died from his injuries</a>. Since then, the event has been scaled back and beset by <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/14/taste-of-chicago-struggle_n_1673401.html">financial problems and dwindling attendance.</a></p><p>Zemola said it&rsquo;s getting expensive for Chicago to put on events, especially as the <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-06/entertainment/chi-chicago-street-festivals-20120405_1_street-festival-biggest-festivals-fee-exemptions">city cuts back on subsidies and services</a>, but is happy to tout the events as tourism draws.</p><table border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width: 620px;"><tbody><tr><td colspan="4"><strong>2012 Pride weekend crime in Lakeview&nbsp;</strong><br /><em><strong>Source</strong>: Crime data from <a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/2012-Pride-Crimes/9a82-shru">data.cityofchicago.org</a>.&nbsp;</em><hr /><em><strong>Methodology</strong>:&nbsp;</em><em>Crimes reflect incidents during the weekend of pride (<strong>Friday</strong>, June 22, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. - <strong>Monday</strong>, June 25, 2012 at 6:00 a.m.) The times and dates were chosen to reflect increased tourism and bar-crowds to the neighborhood during the whole weekend, particularly in the late to morning hours.&nbsp;</em><hr /><em><strong>Map</strong>: There were 133 total crimes for Lakeview during Pride weekend. The map displays ones to public safety and excludes burglaries, trespasses, fraud and others. The full list of crimes can be found <a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/2012-Pride-Crimes/9a82-shru">here</a>.</em></td></tr><tr><td style="background-color: rgb(208, 166, 121);">Route staging area</td><td style="background-color: rgb(123, 161, 191);"><strong>--- Pride route ---</strong></td><td colspan="2" style="background-color: rgb(129, 161, 115);">Parade disbanding area</td></tr><tr><td style="background-color: rgb(204, 0, 51);">Batteries and assaults</td><td style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">Thefts and robberies</td><td style="background-color: rgb(102, 102, 255);">Damage to property</td><td style="background-color: rgb(255, 0, 0); border-color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><strong>Sexual Assault</strong></td></tr><tr><td colspan="4"><iframe frameborder="0" height="750" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/INTERACTIVE+DATA+PUBLISHING/2013+Projects/June/PrideCrime/PrideMap.html" width="620"></iframe></td></tr></tbody></table><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/150602157/Chicago-Pride-Parade-2013-Permit" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Pride Parade 2013 Permit on Scribd">Chicago Pride Parade 2013 Permit</a> by <a href="http://www.scribd.com/WBEZ915" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.773584905660377" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_24918" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/150602157/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-2bdchnto7p12idhpk4g9&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/150602191/NorthHalsted-Market-Days-Permit" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View NorthHalsted Market Days Permit on Scribd">NorthHalsted Market Days Permit</a> by <a href="http://www.scribd.com/WBEZ915" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.772922022279349" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_2142" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/150602191/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-23rp7zdosl4abtc5nrlx&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/150602071/Chicago-Pride-Fest-Permit" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Pride Fest Permit on Scribd">Chicago Pride Fest Permit</a> by <a href="http://www.scribd.com/WBEZ915" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.772922022279349" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_95603" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/150602071/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-uppcrznuwc1jaurqaz8&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Elliott Ramos is a data reporter and Web producer for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://www.twitter.com/ChicagoEl">@ChicagoEl</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 28 Jun 2013 14:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/are-there-enough-cops-pride-market-days-107902 New sculptures pop up in Lakeview, Chicago http://www.wbez.org/sections/art/new-sculptures-pop-lakeview-chicago-107769 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ActionShot.jpg" title="Chicago artist Ron Gard and a crane operator place a new sculpture, titled A Night in Tunisia, on the corner of Elaine Place and Roscoe Street. (WBEZ/Elliott Ramos)" /></p><p>Toward the end of last year, Lakeview lost <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/missing-lakeview-one-goat-two-giraffes-103794">three animal friends</a> that had been a part of the neighborhood for nearly thirty years.</p><p>Now, the city is making its first attempt to fill the empty art shoes left on the corner of Elaine Place and Roscoe Street as part of a broader effort to expand public art in Chicago.</p><p>On Tuesday, a silver-haired man stood next to one of the empty podiums on Elaine Place. Rigged to his truck was a large metal sculpture. Between the glances at his cellphone and a hurried conversation with his friend, it was clear that he was waiting for something.</p><p>&ldquo;The crane&rsquo;s late,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>That man is <a href="http://chicagosculptureexhibit.com/ron-gard/">Ron Gard</a>, a longtime resident of Chicago and a Bucktown-based sculptor. Gard stood by his truck, waiting for the crane that would hoist the turquoise metal hulk to it&rsquo;s new home once occupied by a chrome giraffe, one of a celebrated pair created by Chicago artist John Kearney.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/GARDPose.jpeg" style="float: right;" title="Artist Ron Gard is an artist from Bucktown who is participating in the program. (WBEZ/ Simran Khosla)" />Those giraffes, along with their shiny sister, a nanny goat, were removed near the end of last year. The sculptures were an integral part of the neighborhood, dressed up like school mascots on holidays and special events. The sculptures gained so much notoriety that some residents created <a href="http://www.twitter.com/ElaineGiraffes/">Twitter feeds</a> and Four Square check-ins for the pieces.</p><p>&ldquo;They were so sad to see [the Kearney pieces] go,&rdquo; said Gard. &quot;But now, people are happy just to see that something is coming back.&rdquo;</p><p>Gard&rsquo;s work, titled <em>A Night in Tunisia</em>, is part of the <a href="http://chicagosculptureexhibit.com/">Chicago Sculpture Exhibi</a>t. That effort is also responsible for new sculptures on Broadway and Roscoe Street as well as Newport and Halsted.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a great program and it offers the artist the opportunity to expose their work and have an opportunity for someone to fall in love with it and maybe buy it,&quot; said Gard.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Daley.jpeg" style="float: left;" title="Former Alderman Vi Daley, left, is the founder of the Chicago Sculpture Exhibit. (WBEZ/ Elliott Ramos)" />The Chicago Sculpture Exhibit was founded 12 years ago by former 43rd Ward Alderman Vi Daley. The sculptures in Lakeview are part of 24 new pieces public art that the CSE will be installing this summer.&nbsp;Almost every piece is by a local Chicago artist selected by a jury in an annual &ldquo;Call for Artists&rdquo;.</p><p>The crane finally rumbles onto Elaine Place. Gard and the crane driver began the tedious task of placing the sculpture on the concrete podium as curious passersby stop to observe the scene.</p><p>Among the onlookers: Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and CSE founder Daley.</p><p>&ldquo;Vi and I have known each other before I was Alderman and she&rsquo;s been a big help in my first term and one of the things I liked most about her ward was her public art,&rdquo; said Tunney. &ldquo;She clued me in on the program and how it&rsquo;s really corporate sponsors, working with the city&rsquo;s Department of Cultural Affairs, bringing sculptures to the neighborhood.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Branches%20-%20Ray%20Katz.jpeg" style="float: right;" title="Artist Ray Katz' sculpture Branches was installed on the corner of Newport and Halsted. (WBEZ/ Simran Khosla)" />The Chicago Sculpture Exhibit began in Lincoln Park in 2001. The program expanded to Lakeview and until last year consisted of only eight public art pieces. Now, the program is exploding three-fold into five wards with 24 sculptures.</p><p>&ldquo;The art seems to get better every year, we have new artists coming in all the time too which is very exciting,&rdquo; said Daley. &ldquo;We wanted to make sure the sculptures would be in the community versus everything being down at Navy Pier&rdquo;</p><p>Tunney hopes the program will expand to more neighborhoods.</p><p>&ldquo;Last year they worked in the first ward with Alderman [Proco Joe] Moreno,&rdquo; said Tunney. &ldquo;And we did I think five installs in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area, and we did one project up in Edgewater at Granville and Broadway.&rdquo;</p><p>The CSE is publicly and privately funded, not unlike Millenium Park. The aldermen of each participating ward recruit corporate sponsors, such the Northalsted Business Alliance, Chicago Cubs, Chicago Apartment Finders. According to Tunney, the installations cost their corporate sponsors $3,500 per a year.</p><p>The giraffes that once occupied the corner of Elaine Place and Roscoe Street were privately owned by Milton Zale, who sold a chunk of nearby property to Chicago Apartment Finders. The sculptures weren&rsquo;t included in the sale. Zale told <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130308/lakeview/returning-elaine-place-giraffe-statues-will-cost-90000">DNAinfo</a> it would cost $90,000 to return the sculptures. The removal sparked controversy among tourists and residents of the area, many of whom, thought the sculptures were publically owned pieces of art.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Tunney.jpeg" style="float: left;" title="Ald. Tom Tunney of the 44th Ward was on hand for the installation. (WBEZ/ Elliott Ramos)" />Jon Pound is the executive director of <a href="http://www.cpag.net/home/">Chicago Public Art Group</a>. His group has been producing large-scale art projects in the city for the last 40 years and advocates for the increased visibility of art in public spaces.</p><p>&ldquo;The public part of it has always been an evolving form, because it&rsquo;s sometimes done on private property and sometimes on public property,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Public art serves as a form of identity for a space, a place, a neighborhood or a group of people perhaps. They in turn feel ownership of the piece even if the work is owned by another entity.&rdquo;</p><p>In this case, that ownership took the form of residents dressing the giraffes in rainbow boas and festive hats during the annual Gay Pride Parade, which is only 11 days away.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;ll be interesting to see the neighborhoods reaction but I think they&rsquo;ll appreciate the fact that there is art,&rdquo; said Tunney. &ldquo;And hopefully someday we&rsquo;ll get a giraffe back or two.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><table border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width: 620px;"><tbody><tr><td><strong>Map: Chicago&#39;s Public Art</strong></td></tr><tr><td><em>Sculptures around Chicago are both privately and publically owned. The map below indicates the public art by catagory. (Source: City of Chicago, Chicago Sculpture Exhibit, Chicago Sculpture International)</em></td></tr><tr><td><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CSEmapkey.jpg" title="" /></div></div></div></td></tr><tr><td><iframe frameborder="0" height="755" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/INTERACTIVE+DATA+PUBLISHING/2013+Projects/June/Sculptures/ChicagoSculpturesMAP.html" width="620"></iframe></td></tr></tbody></table><p><a name="map"></a></p><p><em>Simran Khosla is a WBEZ intern. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/simkhosla">@simkhosla</a>. Email her at <a href="mailto:skhosla@wbez.org">skhosla@wbez.org</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 19 Jun 2013 10:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/art/new-sculptures-pop-lakeview-chicago-107769 Construction begins on Midwest’s first affordable housing for LGBTQ seniors http://www.wbez.org/news/construction-begins-midwest%E2%80%99s-first-affordable-housing-lgbtq-seniors-107501 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/photo (1)(1).JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Construction vehicles knocked down walls at a building in Lakeview Monday to prepare for what will soon become the region&rsquo;s first LGBTQ-friendly senior affordable housing development.</p><p>The $26 million dollar development will occupy a part of the old 23rd district Town Hall police station on Halsted and Addison streets, as well as the now-vacant space next to it. The building will be home to 79 studio and one-bedroom apartments, as well as a space for community programming run by <a href="http://www.centeronhalsted.org/" target="_blank">The Center on Halsted</a>.</p><p>The development has been in the works for a while. By Lakeview Ald. Tom Tunney&rsquo;s count, he&rsquo;s been working on the issue for at least 10 years. Tunney, one of the first openly gay Chicago aldermen, says the work won&rsquo;t stop once the center opens.</p><p>&ldquo;The selection process is going to be interesting because the demand is gonna be amazing,&rdquo; Tunney said. &ldquo;And getting it open and learning in general how to integrate the community center with the housing component, I think there&rsquo;s gonna be a few challenges there.&rdquo;</p><p>Some Chicagoans have already voiced interest in living in the building. Tom Genley said the senior center would be a safe zone, and thus he was eyeing one of the apartments.</p><p>&ldquo;Here, because I can be me, an out gay man. Here, because I do not have to hide my true self,&rdquo; Genley said. &ldquo;Here, because the closet is for clothes.&rdquo;</p><p>But alongside the celebration and hard-hat photo-ops was an air of disappointment over the Illinois House of Representatives&rsquo; decision not to call a vote on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. During her remarks about the housing project, Representative Sara Feigenholtz called the last weekend of the legislative session one where a lot of &ldquo;broken dreams happened.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We just didn&rsquo;t quite get it done yet,&rdquo; Feigenholtz said. &ldquo;But we&rsquo;re gonna go back and we&rsquo;re gonna get it done.&rdquo;</p><p>Democratic state Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago decided not to call a House floor vote on the bill that would&#39;ve made Illinois the 13th state to allow gay marriage. Harris said he didn&#39;t have the votes but also vowed to bring back the issue.</p><p>The Center on Halsted has been working with <a href="http://www.heartlandalliance.org/" target="_blank">The Heartland Alliance</a>, a local anti-poverty organization, state and city officials on the financing and construction for the affordable housing development.&nbsp; All 79 units will be subsidized, and will cost no more than 30 percent of a given resident&rsquo;s income. Construction on the building is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2014.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer/Reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 03 Jun 2013 16:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/construction-begins-midwest%E2%80%99s-first-affordable-housing-lgbtq-seniors-107501 Waiting is hardest part for those watching Illinois’ same-sex marriage vote http://www.wbez.org/news/waiting-hardest-part-those-watching-illinois%E2%80%99-same-sex-marriage-vote-107359 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/amanda and maggie.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>For months, members of the Illinois State House have been waiting to call same-sex marriage for a vote. Sponsors say they don&rsquo;t quite have the votes needed to pass the bill yet. But all that waiting has consequences.</p><p>Imagine what Chicago&rsquo;s Boystown neighborhood would be like if same-sex marriage is approved in Illinois.</p><p>Imagining is Chuck Hyde&rsquo;s job. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been kind of on-the-ready,&rdquo; Hyde said.</p><p>Hyde manages the bar Sidetrack in the heart of Boystown on Halsted Street.</p><p>&ldquo;We decorate big. Our events are big. It&rsquo;s a fun bar. And it can hold a lot of people,&rdquo; he said. &quot;More than 1,200 people, actually.&quot;</p><p>I caught up with Hyde just as construction crews were wrapping up a renovation of the interior of the bar. It has several rooms, a few bars and an outdoor patio; the kind of place Hyde is hoping people will come to to celebrate bachelor or bachelorette parties. Or wedding receptions.</p><p>Hyde was hoping construction would be done in time so he could host a celebration in case the state legislature voted in favor of same-sex marriage.</p><p>Instead &ndash; he&rsquo;s been waiting.</p><p>&ldquo;There were a number of weeks back that we thought it might be very close and we were kind of waiting by the phone. Literally, the vote&rsquo;s going up, the vote&rsquo;s not going up,&rdquo; Hyde said. &ldquo;And if it was going to happen, we were ready. We had ordered champagne, we had glassware ready. We were ready for the balloons. We had posters. We had all kinds of things. We had some signs and we were going to let the world know that we were thrilled and throwing a party. And ready to celebrate.&rdquo;</p><p>Hyde said the champagne is still in a cooler, waiting.</p><p>He said he was underprepared when same-sex civil unions passed in Illinois two years ago. The demand for a party when that passed was bigger than he anticipated.</p><p>So he&rsquo;s trying not to leave anything to chance this time around.</p><p>That means, though, he&rsquo;s been on edge for more than three months. The Illinois State Senate approved same-sex marriage in February. Since then, it&rsquo;s lingered in the House of Representatives. Supporters say they&rsquo;ve been waiting to call it for a vote because they don&rsquo;t have the necessary 60 yes votes.</p><p>As wedding season arrives, those in the wedding business have had a lot of uncertainty about what their summer will look like.</p><p>&ldquo;All of the wedding industry is following it very, very closely,&rdquo; said Beth Bernstein, a Chicago wedding planner who operates SQN Events.</p><p>Bernstein said she helped plan a midnight civil union ceremony for six couples who wanted to file as soon as possible two years ago.</p><p>But since civil unions passed, things have plateaued.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think it provided the lasting effect of the business that we thought we may see,&rdquo; Bernstein said.</p><p>She&rsquo;s seeing many couples waiting for word from Springfield before planning their wedding.</p><p>But for Amanda Marquez and Maggie Moran, waiting is not appealing.</p><p>Their Logan Square apartment has neatly organized shelves lined with books and tv show dvds.</p><p>Close by is a small pile of purple, green and blue origami paper stars.</p><p>&ldquo;So this is going to make us look really bad, really tacky,&rdquo; joked Moran. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re actually using the rainbow (as the colors of the wedding). But we&rsquo;re not going for the whole rainbow effect. So we&rsquo;re doing like half of the tables are warm colors and then the other half of the tables are cool colors.&rdquo;</p><p>Moran and Marquez are having a civil union ceremony on June 22nd. If the proposed bill passes, they could apply to have that civil union turned into a marriage.</p><p>Marquez said she doesn&rsquo;t want to wait on the government for other things, like buying a house or having kids, so why wait for the legislature.</p><p>&ldquo;Not knowing exactly when, you know, how things will go in Springfield, when it will happen, we just moved forward,&rdquo; Marquez said.</p><p>Moran said it will be heart-wrenching if same-sex marriage fails in Springfield. But she said it would be more heart-wrenching not committing to Marquez. She said that&rsquo;s too much to put on one vote.</p><br /><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://www.twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold.</a></em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 24 May 2013 14:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/waiting-hardest-part-those-watching-illinois%E2%80%99-same-sex-marriage-vote-107359 'The Drop' all-ages dance party to raise funds for 'What's the T?' remount http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/drop-all-ages-dance-party-raise-funds-whats-t-remount-106397 <p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TheQu.jpg" style="width: 387px; height: 290px;" title="(The Qu)" /></div><p><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Last summer&rsquo;s &ldquo;Where&rsquo;s the T?&rdquo; was an event. It&rsquo;s rare in the Chicago queer community that everyone is talking about one thing (if so, it&rsquo;s often in a bad way), but the play was that kind of phenomenon. It brought us together, for a brief yet beatific moment. It was like going to church.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">For those who didn&rsquo;t catch one of its many sold-out shows, &ldquo;What&rsquo;s the T?&rdquo; was a play developed to highlight the intersections of racism, classism and sexism in Boystown -- through the lens of youth experiences. The play followed a youth who was kicked out of his house for being trans and came to Boystown for the resources and solace it promised, finding the neighborhood as prone to oppression and gentrification as it is to providing respite. </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">To develop &ldquo;What&rsquo;s the T?&rdquo;, lead writer Sara K. worked with youth to &ldquo;develop characters and storylines,&rdquo; bringing lived experience into the theatre space. In devising workshops held throughout the year, K. said that the writers and youth would work together to &ldquo;rip apart scenes or build on them in beautiful ways.&rdquo; It wasn&rsquo;t just that the stories included in &ldquo;What&rsquo;s the T?&rdquo; were true. For an audience that experiences these issues every day, the stories needed to feel real.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">For AboutFace Education Associate Nic Kay, that dialogue has a crucial impact on the youth AboutFace works with. In our email correspondence, Kay told me,</span></b></p><blockquote><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&ldquo;I often talk with queer and trans-identified young people about the discrimination they face or current events and often I find that they have been made to feel that their thoughts don&rsquo;t matter. Through the work AFYT does with young people I believe we encourage them to think critically about their chooses, current events and the TQBLG community. AFYT provides a safe space for young people to become strong leaders who can talk/perform about their lives and the things around them.&rdquo;</span></b></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">According to Sara K., who also serves as the AboutFace Education Director, the weaving together of youth and adult perspectives fostered an &ldquo;interesting dynamic&rdquo; between the company and the community. AboutFace attempted to speak to business owners on North Halsted, hoping to bring their viewpoints into the dialogue. Youth performers went from shop to shop, asking to interview business leaders and shop managers. Sara K. said, &ldquo;No one would talk to us. Everybody was scared.&rdquo; </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Because of that, there weren&rsquo;t a lot of adult voices in the play, and there were few white characters. One, Bernard, particularly stood out -- as a representation of suburban privilege. For Sara K., it was important to &ldquo;know what that character was coming from,&rdquo; as the character could have been a stereotype of a mean white person. K. stated, &ldquo;We all participate and inherit many systems of oppression. It&rsquo;s not taught to us to think critically about them. We wanted to start the conversation at that level.&rdquo; </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">According to Sara K., &ldquo;What&rsquo;s the T?&rdquo; is &ldquo;an effort to get people to think critically about their behavior and to think critically about their identity in the community.&rdquo;</span></b></p><br /><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Nic Kay agreed:</span></b></p><blockquote><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&ldquo;After &lsquo;What&rsquo;s The T?&rsquo;, a lot of people in the queer and trans community were left asking...questions of each other like: &lsquo;How do we move forward as a community to rectify these issues of ageism, racism and discrimination in the TQBLG community? How do we create spaces for TQBLG people of all ages to congregate and learn form each other? How can we be allies to each other?&rsquo;&rdquo;</span></b></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">In order to further ask those questions, AboutFace is raising funds to put on &ldquo;What&rsquo;s the T?&rdquo; again this summer to &ldquo;show this project is worth it.&rdquo; After last summer, Sara K. said that AboutFace was getting requests from all over the community to do a &ldquo;remount,&rdquo; which will take place in the second floor loft of Victory Gardens.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">According to K., last summer&rsquo;s final show &nbsp;was cancelled due to a power outage. Their last show was a back-to-back staging, and a storm knocked out their power three-quarters of the way into the first performance. However, the cast played through the darkness, never skipping a beat. Sara K. called it a &ldquo;beautiful moment of radical, celebratory energy.&rdquo; </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Kicking off the celebration with a party, AboutFace will be throwing an all-ages queer dance event at Bottom Lounge. Called &ldquo;The Drop,&rdquo; the party was co-organized by AboutFace&rsquo;s Youth Task Force and the Chances Dances DJ collective. </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When I spoke to Justin Mitchell (who performs under the name DJ Swaguerilla) of Chances, Mitchell told me that the youth were adamant the space not be ageist. As Chances is a 21+ space, I asked Mitchell if that was a challenge for their organizers. Mitchell paused for a moment to reflect and then affirmed my question, &ldquo;Absolutely. Creating an inclusive space is always a challenge. Creating an all-ages inclusive space is even moreso.&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">For Sara K., creating spaces for youth is important as gentrification and security in Boystown are slowly &ldquo;[pushing] them out of the neighborhood,&rdquo; while &ldquo;the organizations that serve them [experience] a similar policing.&rdquo; K. said that &ldquo;youth have the same needs adults do.&rdquo; They need &ldquo;community, culture and an amazing dance party.&rdquo; In the process of bringing this event to fruition, it was especially &ldquo;important for not to think about it as us giving them this space.&rdquo; It was about working together to build it.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&ldquo;The Drop&rdquo; will take place on April 20 at 6:30 P.M. and runs until 10:30, featuring dances and performances from Chicago queer artists like Shea Coulea. According to K., it might sound early to adult attendees, but it&rsquo;s &ldquo;not that unusual for youth to have a rocking dance party early in the evening.&rdquo; For the adults who want to support youth, K. said, &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re an ally, you&rsquo;ll step up and come kiki with them at 6:30. Just being there will show you care.&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3357583445031196" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bottom Lounge is located at 1375 W. Lake. and suggested donations are $10. All proceeds will be put toward <a href="http://www.facebook.com/afyteducation?fref=ts">AboutFace Theatre</a> and the &ldquo;<a href="http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/About-Face-Theatre-presents-Whats-The-T/38359.html">What&rsquo;s the T</a>?&rdquo; remount. For more information, you can visit AboutFace&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.aboutfacetheatre.com/">website</a> or find the <a href="http://www.facebook.com/events/142004692640938/?fref=ts">event</a> on Facebook.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><em><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ life in Chicago. You can follow them on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang">Facebook</a>, <a href="http://achatwithnicolang.tumblr.com">Tumblr</a> or <a href="http://www.twitter.com/nico_lang">Twitter</a> @Nico_Lang.</span></b></em></p></p> Fri, 29 Mar 2013 15:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/drop-all-ages-dance-party-raise-funds-whats-t-remount-106397 Chicago Pride may run two weekends http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-pride-may-run-two-weekends-105385 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/pride_flickr_tonyb_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Pride is now going to run two weekends.</p><p>Well, sort of.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s annual Gay Pride Parade consisted of the parade that recently underwent a route change to accommodate record-high crowds and Pride Fest, a two-day precursor to the parade.</p><p>The parade itself attracted large crowds, with estimates of 850,000 last year.</p><p>However, Pride Fest, a relatively new addition to the Gay Pride Parade organized by the Northalsted Business Alliance, acted more so as a holding area for the spillover crowds that patronized the area&rsquo;s bars, which during Pride weekend have lines wrapping around a city block with near-hour wait times.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a pretty intense weekend when you have the festival and the parade. We looked at it, a lot of people have said in past years: &lsquo;Why don&rsquo;t we do it another weekend?&rsquo;&nbsp; When you have a festival on Friday it shuts down a major thoroughfare on a weekday,&rdquo; said Jen Gordon, spokesperson for the alliance.</p><p>The alliance is seeking to have Pride Fest on the Saturday and Sunday before pride, June 22 and 23.</p><p>It&rsquo;s not official. In order to have a parade or special event (outdoor festival) an organization or person must first obtain a permit from the city &mdash; and the organization is still awaiting approval from the city.</p><p>&ldquo;We met with East Lakeview neighbors last night and this is what we&rsquo;d like to go forward with it.&nbsp; Obviously the Pride Festival covers two different wards and in touch with Aldermen Cappleman&rsquo;s and Tunney&rsquo;s office,&rdquo; Gordon said.</p><p>The Chicago Annual Pride Parde has a route that starts in Uptown, Alderman James Cappleman&#39;s 46th ward and Lakeview, Ald. Tom Tunney&#39;s 44th ward.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re still getting input from residents,&quot; said Sean Kotwa, co-chair for the alliance.</p><p>When asked if this would cure the problem of crowds or exacerbate it, giving bar-goers the opportunity to drink and party more on two weekends instead of one, Gordon said they believe it would split up the crowds somewhat, especially for tourists coming in from others states.</p><p>&ldquo;A lot of the people are coming to Pride Fest for the entertainment line up, a lot more activity than the bars on the strip,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>&ldquo;We want to focus on the idea of celebrating pride and celebrating equality that whole week.&rdquo;</p><p>The North Halsted Business Alliance, which organizes Pride Fest &mdash;but not the parade &mdash; is still awaiting permit approval from the city.</p><p>Comment from Tunney&#39;s office was not immediately available.</p></p> Wed, 06 Feb 2013 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-pride-may-run-two-weekends-105385 Young, gay and black in Auburn Gresham http://www.wbez.org/content/young-gay-and-black-auburn-gresham <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-12/TERRENCE CHAPPELL 008.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/33597616?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="601" frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no"></iframe></p><p>The trip on public transportation from Auburn Gresham on the South Side to North Side Boystown can be long and tedious. But as Terrence Chappell rides from 79th Street to Belmont and back home again, he uses the time to think.</p><p>Chappell is a nightlife and society columnist for <a href="http://chicago.gopride.com/index.cfm">ChicagoPride.com</a>. He travels this route frequently – between his apartment in Auburn Gresham and the gay nightlife in Boystown. But in both places, he feels misunderstood.</p><p>In Auburn Gresham, he says, there are no bars that he would hang out at more than once. And in Boystown, he can sometimes feel like an outsider because of the stereotypes he hears from people about the South Side.</p><p>A few months back, a woman, upon learning where he was from, asked him, “Are you from one of those ghetto families?” Chappell laughs as he recounts the story now. But it’s not the first time someone has had a notion about Auburn Gresham, where he grew up and still lives.</p><p>“People are very scared of what they don’t know about,” he says.</p><p>All this week we're spending time in Auburn Gresham, getting to know a few of the people who live, work, and play there. Our series <em>Auburn Gresham, Chicago</em> continues today with Terrence Chappell and his mother Marilyn talking about what it's like to be young, gay, and black there.</p><p>Auburn Gresham, Chicago<em> received support from the Chicago Community Trust's Local Reporting Initiative.</em></p></p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/young-gay-and-black-auburn-gresham The Paper Machete Radio Magazine 7/16/11: The Solid Gold Duets show http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-20/paper-machete-radio-magazine-71611-solid-gold-duets-show-89408 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-20/tim and brendan.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-20/tim and brendan.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 333px;" title="Tim Sniffen and Brendan Dowling (Photo by Matt Klingler)"></p><div><p>In this week's episode, <em>The Paper Machete</em> celebrates the power of two. <a href="http://www.tangelopie.com/">Tim Sniffen</a> and <a href="http://www.improvisedshakespeare.com/">Brendan Dowling</a> discuss the realm of the Bachmann's (that would be Marcus and Michele). <a href="http://historygirls.tumblr.com/">The History Girls</a> become Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller who talk about teacher pensions. And <a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/2010/09/14/coya-paz-on-boycotting-target/">Coya Paz</a> and <a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/2011/06/23/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine-issue-date-61111-podcast/">Ricky Gamboa</a> take down the campaign to take back Boystown. On your way out, you'll hear Will Phalen with music. As usual, if you can hear us, this magazine is LIVE. Download it <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=450280345">here</a>, or listen below.</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483570-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/thepapermachete-2011-07-16-machete-radio-mag.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>This Saturday's line-up thus far includes&nbsp;Spencer Ham (<a href="http://chicago.ioimprov.com/performers/173" target="_blank" title="http://chicago.ioimprov.com/performers/173">iO</a>, <a href="http://www.jellyvision.com/" target="_blank" title="http://www.jellyvision.com/">Jellyvision</a>),&nbsp;<a href="http://coreyandmo.blogspot.com/">Corey Rittmaster and Monique Madrid</a>,&nbsp;Fred Sasaki&nbsp;(<a href="http://www.the2ndhand.com/web69/ohio.html" target="_blank" title="http://www.the2ndhand.com/web69/ohio.html">writer</a>),&nbsp;Tim Paul aka&nbsp;"<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuwDvh5DaP8">The Homosexualist</a>" and&nbsp;<a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/249911/a-twist-of-water-at-route-66-theatre-company-theater-review">Julienne Bilker</a> who writes about theater for TimeOut Chicago.</p></div></p> Wed, 20 Jul 2011 14:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-20/paper-machete-radio-magazine-71611-solid-gold-duets-show-89408 Crime puts Boystown service agency under spotlight http://www.wbez.org/story/crime-puts-boystown-service-agency-under-spotlight-89060 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-12/forweb.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>It’s been just over one week since a video depicting a brutal street attack in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood went viral.&nbsp;That violent incident was just one of several so far this summer in the popular gay entertainment district known as Boystown.&nbsp;But it’s taken the lid off an emotional debate that community’s having about who’s responsible for crime.&nbsp;Some are pointing fingers at Boystown’s Center on Halsted — a social service agency — and particularly its young clientele.</p><p>The attack happened just before midnight two Sundays ago.&nbsp;It was a regular weekend night, with people teeming outside Boystown’s clubs and bars on Halsted Street.&nbsp;The video captures a crowd punching, beating, and jeering at a young African American man.&nbsp;He was also stabbed multiple times.</p><p>Late last week, Chicago Police announced an arrest.&nbsp;A man from Hammond, Indiana.&nbsp;Others are likely to follow.&nbsp;But before anything was known about the attackers, rumblings began, mostly online, that gay youth from other neighborhoods were committing these crimes.&nbsp;Those rumors got a full airing last week during an explosive community policing, or CAPS, meeting.</p><p>SPEAKER: I was one of those kids. I grew up in the neighborhood. So don’t attack the kids. You are to blame.</p><p>Almost six hundred people packed that meeting hall in Lakeview.</p><p>SPEAKER: When I grew up here, gays were getting beat up on, my friends were beating up gay people. Now you own the community, and what do you do? You turn it on kids that are troubled because their parents can’t afford to feed them so they throw them out on the street. Not on your doorstep? Not on your doorstep?</p><p>AUDIENCE: (Booing)</p><p>SPEAKER: You guys better wake up. Wake up now. Wake up.</p><p>Several gay youths also spoke.</p><p>Many said their sexual orientations got them kicked out of their own families and communities.</p><p>So they went to Boystown for acceptance… but even there, they felt despised.</p><p>SPEAKER: I have been looked at as an individual who is stared down upon because I am dirty, because have no place to sleep, because there are no shelters. Because there are no shelters in Lakeview ...</p><p>AUDIENCE MEMBER: Not on my doorstep, buddy…</p><p>Catch that?&nbsp;One audience member said, “Not on my doorstep, buddy.”&nbsp;And that’s been the complaint from some… that when the Center on Halsted closes at 10pm, its youth go out onto the streets to loiter, squat, roam, and commit crimes.</p><p>When it opened four years ago, the Center was meant to be a safe haven for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people of all ages.&nbsp;That’s worked. The Center says it’s at capacity — 1000 people go there every day for everything from meals, job skills training, gym activities, or to use the Internet.</p><p>But some Boystown residents wonder if the youth program is doing more harm than good.</p><p>ambi: street noise</p><p>CUNNINGHAM: Want to go this way or this way?</p><p>GREG: Let’s go that way.</p><p>A team of six or so Boystown residents were out on Halsted after midnight this last Saturday.&nbsp;It’s an ad-hoc group of men… they do this every week… sweep the side streets and alleys to call in crimes and suspicious activities they see to police.</p><p>SCOTT WHITE: Yeah, they’re literally just west of Halsted…</p><p>They report anything from assaults to relatively minor things… like this group smoking weed on the sidewalk.</p><p>SCOTT WHITE: Yeah, anywhere from ten to fifteen.</p><p>Greg Rohner is one of these self-appointed vigilantes.&nbsp;He’s lived around Halsted since 1998 – before the Center was built.&nbsp;He says he started doing the walks a couple of years ago after he stopped a sexual assault in progress outside his apartment.</p><p>YOUSEF: Do you have any reason to believe that some of the crime is attributed to people affiliated with the Center?</p><p>ROHNER: I hate to say it but… yeah. &nbsp;I’ve been very involved in CAPS, and I’ve been involved in CAPS all year long. And I was in a CAPS meeting a couple of months ago, and we had somebody that was familiar with people that get services from the Center, and they had a list of the recent arrests, and one person on there was somebody that had been receiving services at the Center.</p><p>YOUSEF: Do you think it would be better for them to simply not offer services so that they don’t basically eject all these people onto the streets at 10pm?</p><p>ROHNER: I would hate to see that happen. But on the other hand, the problem isn’t getting any better. And when you’ve got people that have no place to go when the Center closes, they’re on the street. And we can’t all take them in. We get them from everywhere, and we do our best here to give them services because their neighborhoods don’t give them services. There’s only so much that we can do, you know?</p><p>I asked another one of these crime watchers, John Cunningham, about his take on the Center.</p><p>Cunningham says he also doesn’t think closing it, or its youth program, would accomplish anything.</p><p>CUNNINGHAM: While that might have been the initial cause of what started things escalating things many years back, I don’t think that that is the current reason. Word got out that it’s a fun, safe neighborhood, and then things escalated, and then unfortunately, so did the criminal element, too.</p><p>In other words, the genie’s out of the bottle.</p><p>Young gay people across the city know about Boystown now, and they’ll keep coming, regardless of whether the Center on Halsted is there.&nbsp;Still, some people affiliated with Center say, every time crime flares up, they’ll still have to be on the defensive.&nbsp;Modesto Tico Valle is CEO of the Center.</p><p>VALLE: We are part of the solution. We are not the problem.</p><p>Chicago police have affirmed that the Center was not the problem in the videotaped assault.&nbsp;They say don’t believe the man they arrested or other suspects were affiliated with the Center.&nbsp;Valle agrees with people who say there should be a homeless shelter, or something that takes in youth after hours, but&nbsp;he says it would be a travesty to suspend the Center’s youth programming until it there are 24-hour services, as some Boystown residents have demanded.</p><p>VALLE: These young people come here for mental health, for job readiness, for case management. We in some cases are t heir lifeline. Take that away from them, and we have ourselves a larger problem.</p><p>Valle says the Center’s critics are just a small, but vocal group and that, as a whole, the Boystown community supports the center and its youth.&nbsp;Yes, the recent meeting aired some ugly comments and accusations.&nbsp;But many more members come forward to offer kind words, donations, and time.</p></p> Tue, 12 Jul 2011 21:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/crime-puts-boystown-service-agency-under-spotlight-89060 A divided Boystown http://www.wbez.org/story/divided-boystown-88832 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-07/box.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" height="400" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-07/box.jpg" title="(John Gress, Flickr/Michael Lehet, middle)" width="600" /></p><p>A stabbing captured on video has been the unlikely spark for a fiery debate on race and class in Chicago&rsquo;s premier gay neighborhood.</p><p>The video captured a large group of black youth getting into an altercation with a 25-year-old victim.&nbsp; The scuffle in the late hours of Sunday, July 3rd, resulted in a stabbing of the victim &ndash; the second that day - and the third within a three-week period in the North Side neighborhood.</p><p>The stabbing incidents, which resulted in no fatalities and two arrests, have become tipping points for a community increasingly on edge about crime in recent months.</p><p>In early June, <a href="http://neighborhoods.redeyechicago.com/lakeview/crime-report/2651103/4-people-sprayed-robbed-in-early-hours/">a series of robberies</a> involving the pepper-spraying of victims caused the Chicago Police Department to issue an alert, with bars posting warnings at entrances.</p><p>An analysis of crime data by WBEZ shows that Boystown has been the location of dozens of assaults, robberies and batteries since April.</p><div class="dipity_embed" style="width: 600px;"><iframe height="400" src="http://www.dipity.com/wbez/BT/?mode=embed&amp;z=0&amp;bgcolor=%23f1091f&amp;bgimg=/images/black_grad_up.png#tl" style="border: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204);" width="600"></iframe><p style="margin: 0pt; font-family: Arial,sans; font-size: 13px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.dipity.com/wbez/BT/">Boystown marred by violence</a> on <a href="http://www.dipity.com/">Dipity</a>.</p><p>One of the first major incidents to call public attention to violence in the community took place very early on the morning of June 18<sup>th</sup> in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven.</p><p>A couple, who lives in Lakeview, was attacked around 3 a.m. Citing safety issues they wished to remain anonymous, but the boyfriend of the victim agreed to be interviewed.</p><p>&ldquo;Some stranger wanted to start a fight. He bumped into the two of us as were leaving Burrito Palace,&rdquo; said the boyfriend. The restaurant is located on Cornelia and Halsted.</p><p>The stranger then followed them to a nearby 7-Eleven where police say he stabbed the victim. The suspect in question, Anthony Bledsoe, was later charged with aggravated battery.</p><p>The victim&rsquo;s boyfriend recently moved to Lakeview, but is a Chicago native from the South Side.&nbsp; He said prior to the incident, three of his friends were mugged.&nbsp; &ldquo;It&rsquo;s almost like gang violence,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>A few weeks later, a stabbling incident on July 3rd was captured on video by resident Rob Sall, who, with his partner John Cunningham, has sought to address the violent crimes that were brought directly to his doorstep.</p><p>The Chicago Police Department announced on Friday morning that a suspect was arrested in connection with the incident.&nbsp; The suspect, Darren Hayes, 24, of Hammond, IN., turned himself in to police after the investigation began to close in on him.&nbsp;</p><p>The police charged him with four counts of aggravated battery.&nbsp; Two knives were recovered by police, and are said to be the weapons used in the case.</p><p>The father of the victim told ABC 7 in an interview that the victim had suffered a punctured lung as well as wounds to the chest, back and arms.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s one thing when people are getting mugged, it&rsquo;s another when they are getting stabbed,&rdquo; said Sall.&nbsp;</p><p>The couple lives on the 3300 north block of Halsted Street in Boystown, the location of the stabbing.&nbsp; North Halsted is also the site of many of Boystown&rsquo;s popular gay bars, and the couple&rsquo;s block has become a hangout at times for groups of lesbian, gay and transgendered teens.</p>Those groups have become a lightning rod &ndash; and some say scapegoat &ndash; for the spat of violent crimes.</div><p>The extent and duration of those violent crimes and the unsettling nature of the video have anger spilling from Facebook forums into heated townhall meetings.</p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>The young homeless of Boystown</strong></span></p><p>At the center of the attention are homeless youth in the neighborhood, many of whom are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered minorities from Chicago&rsquo;s West and South Sides.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-07/centerCrop.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 368px; margin: 7px; float: left;" title="(Flickr/Michael Lehet)" /> LGBT black and Hispanic youth, like many others, flock to Boystown because of its gay-friendly reputation, its nightlife and its support network.</p><p>But many of these youth have been the target of blame by residents who accuse them of loitering along Halsted Street, drinking in public, smoking marijuana, blaring loud music, urinating in public, and vandalizing - as well as engaging in occasional verbal or push-and-shove altercations.</p><p>Some websites such as <a href="http://gis.chicagopolice.org">gis.chicagopolice.org</a> or <a href="http://everyblock.com">everyblock.com</a>, which utilizes the same data from gis.chicagopolice.org, list a slew of offenses at all hours of the night.</p><p>But a common element in a number of the reported stabbing incidents in this predominantly white upper-middle class neighborhood is that many of them were carried out by black men - either individually or in large groups.</p><p>Residents have been quick to say their concerns are limited only to crime and don&#39;t involve race, but some feel that the loitering and behavior of youth may be leading to the more violent crimes.</p><p>Rhaisa Williams is a Ph.D student at Northwestern University who has researched the dynamic in Boystown and argues that race and class divides do play a role in the tension between some residents and youth.</p><p>&quot;[B]lack queer youth who do not live nor are employed in Boystown, but come there to &quot;hang out&quot; &mdash;which is synonymous to loitering in the discourse&mdash; become figures of an inappropriate embodiment that that is antithetical to middle class stability and consumption,&quot; she writes.</p><p>And with so many strong-armed robberies and assaults - and few arrests - many residents have focused their anger on the Center on Halsted, a local social services organization that serves the LGBT community.</p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>A Center of controversy</strong></span></p><p>The Center, located at Waveland Avenue and Halsted, opened its doors in 2007 with a mission &ldquo;to provide a safe and nurturing environment,&quot; according to the organization&#39;s website.</p><p>A former worker at the Whole Foods grocery story that sits adjacent to the Center, however, created a Facebook page originally named &ldquo;Citizens Demanding Center on Halsted &lsquo;Youth Program&rsquo; Shutdown,&rdquo; that later changed to &ldquo;Center on Halsted FAIL.&rdquo; (Click on right image for original page).<a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-11/centerfail.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-11/centerfail.jpg" style="width: 315px; height: 402px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 5px; float: right;" title="" /></a></p><p>&quot;I had to call in police for shoplifting on many of the kids I&#39;d see loitering all day in front of and inside the [Center on Halsted],&quot; said the former Whole Foods employee.&nbsp; &quot;I&#39;d say at least half of them were white. Maybe more. Again, not a racial issue.&rdquo;</p><p>The page as of Friday afternoon had 42 &ldquo;likes.&rdquo;</p><p>Another Facebook page, &ldquo;Take Back Boystown,&rdquo; is a different story. With over 3,400 fans, it has served as an organizing forum for concerned residents and, at times, has featured posts by those using pseudonyms with racial overtones, though they have later been purged by moderators.</p><p>Tyler Roberts, 34, frequents the &quot;Take Back Boystown&quot; Facebook page and says it occasionally contains racist remarks.&nbsp; He also insists that the Center on Halsted shouldn&#39;t be singled out for the actions of others.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;I don&#39;t believe for a second that [closing down the Center on Halsted] would solve any problems,&quot; Roberts says. &quot;I do however believe they should be holding the youth that frequent the Center accountable for their actions.&quot;</p><p>Many youth also believe the Center is being unfairly singled out, and note that it&#39;s one of the few organizations providing services to transient LGBT youth.</p><p>&quot;All we have is the center,&quot; said a 28-year old Center member and health educator who goes by the name Peanut Butter.&nbsp; &quot;If they take away the center, they&rsquo;re going to have a bigger problem.&quot;</p><p>Kloe Jones, 23, who is transgendered, came to Chicago from St. Louis. &ldquo;Where I&rsquo;m from, we don&rsquo;t have this. We don&rsquo;t have Boystown. We don&rsquo;t have a Center on Halsted.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of people coming from the South and West Side,&quot; said Jones. &quot;It is a predominantly white neighborhood, but this is all we have.&nbsp; There have been muggings and robbings up here, and [white residents] look at the African Americans who come to the Center, as if somehow it&rsquo;s their fault. There are kids, who are messy, who do things on purpose, but some of us actually do need these resources,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>When asked if there was any connection between the transient youth who occasionally get cited for loitering or other infractions on Halsted Street and the string of muggings in recent months, police have repeatedly said they have yet to find any correlation.</p><p>&quot;There is no connection,&quot; said Chicago Police Sgt. Debra DeYoung.</p><hr /><p><strong>&#39;If they want to talk about the youth? Let&#39;s put everything on the table.&#39;</strong><br /><em>--Peanut Butter, 28</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483549-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-july/2011-07-07/center-halsted-edit.mp3">&nbsp;</audio><hr /><p>Peanut Butter and other minority LGBT youths, however, report being frequently approached by white men in the area for sexual favors or drugs, creating dangers and a double standard.</p><p>&ldquo;They take advantage of the young ones, saying &lsquo;You sleep with me, I&rsquo;ll pay you some money.&rsquo; If they want to talk about the youth, let&rsquo;s put everything on the table,&rdquo; said Peanut Butter.</p><p>Koko, 17, is another North Sider who frequents the Center and is concerned about sexual exploitation.</p><p>&ldquo;Some of them have to prostitute,&rdquo; she said.&nbsp; &quot;They&rsquo;re trying to get their money and find a place to stay, and see if they could stay with the person they could sleep with at the moment.&quot;</p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Tension brews, nerves frayed</strong></span></p><p>On July 2nd, Rob Sall and nearly 60 others participated in a &ldquo;positive loitering&rdquo; session.&nbsp; This was the third summer for the event, with the Commander Kathleen Boehmer from the Chicago Police Department&#39;s 23<sup>rd</sup> District and a number of police officers also participating.</p><p>&ldquo;We would divide in groups of 6-12 people, canvas the neighborhood. Police would issue citations for violations, prostitution -- citing people for small infractions, confiscated knives, violation of parole,&rdquo; said Sall.</p><p>At 11:30p.m. that evening, a group called GenderJUST began protesting the event, claiming purpose of the event was to drive out LGBT youth from Boystown.&nbsp; The protest was covered in detail by the <a href="http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=32608">Windy City Times</a>. Sam Finkelstein, the organizer of the &ldquo;counter-protest,&rdquo; was arrested later for disorderly conduct.</p><p>A few hours later, around 2 a.m., a 27-year-old Lakeview resident was stabbed on Wilton Ave. and Addison &mdash;one block west of the Chicago Police Department&rsquo;s 23<sup>rd</sup> precinct headquarters.</p><p>That stabbing was eclipsed by the infamous video-taped stabbing, some 21 hours later.</p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Fight heard round Chicago</strong></span></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" height="244" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-11/600widejuly3.jpg" title="Police shut down Halsted after the stabbing incident on July 3. (WBEZ/Elliott Ramos)" width="600" /></p><p>On July 3, Sunday at 11:45 p.m., the much-publicized fight broke out after what some say was a verbal altercation among two groups of young people near the intersection of Halsted and Aldine.</p><p>In response to the fight, the police shut down much of Halsted, but left the sidewalks open.&nbsp; The bars were letting out, leaving patrons guessing what had happened.</p><p><iframe align="left" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="287" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ZYrbwNT6Oxo" width="350"></iframe>Media reports at the time were scarce.&nbsp;</p><p>The Fourth of July holiday weekend in Chicago saw six murders and 28 violent assaults, two of which were in Boystown. Most news outlets such as the <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/6348068-417/six-dead-28-wounded-in-holiday-weekend-violence.html">Sun-Times</a>, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-neighbors-shooting-20110705,0,1882247.story">Tribune</a>, <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/07/04/5-dead-23-wounded-in-holiday-weekend-violence/">CBS 2</a> and <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&amp;id=8232221">ABC 7</a> covered the holiday violence in a single, citywide roundup.</p><p>But when the video was posted online, the incident garnered widespread attention on major television newscasts and social networking sites despite having no fatalities.</p><p>And the video wasn&#39;t the only one to surface from the weekend.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The video, on the left, was uploaded to YouTube the same day of the incident at Halsted and Aldine. This attack occurred on Addison and Wilton earlier that day --one block from the area&#39;s police station.</p><p>In response, Ald. Tom Tunney (44) on Wednesday called for an &ldquo;entertainment detail&rdquo; to be formed to assist in beat officers.&nbsp; He said it&rsquo;s unrealistic to expect beat officers to cover areas where there are high concentrations of entertainment and hospitality venues.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size: 16px;">Heated exchanges in a hot</span> <span style="font-size: 16px;">auditorium</span></strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="338" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/26122475?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ff0000" width="601"></iframe></p><p>Outside the Inter-American Elementary Magnet School Wednesday evening, the mood seemed peaceful. An hour before a scheduled Chicago Alternative Police Strategy (CAPS) community meeting, several residents sat on steps and mingled with their Lakeview neighbors.</p><p>Teenagers in yellow shirts gathered, prepping for their planned demonstration as members of GenderJUST.&nbsp; The same group that had protested a peace loitering event a few weeks prior.</p><p>Just four days after the video-taped beating of a black youth shocked the neighborhood, the community was gathering for a discussion about how to address violence.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>GenderJUST gave a few brief speeches lasting only 20 minutes, before they broke into song and made their way into the auditorium.&nbsp;</p><p>Nearly 600 attendees filed into the auditorim in an orderly fashion. Some spilled out onto the floor and into the hall. A handful attempted to reach the balcony of the auditorium, which led to a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-07-07/boystown-residents-alderman-tunney-open-balcony-88828">brief and light-hearted exchange </a>with Tunney and a constituent.</p><p>Cmdr. Boehmer and Sgt. Beth Giltmier were both in attendance, as was Ald. James Cappleman<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span>(46).&nbsp;</p><p>Behind a series of mics at the center of the auditorium floor, stood a long and ever growing line of people waiting to comment. The line and the temperature in the room seemed to grow in tandem, with many using their placards to fan themselves.</p><p>As the mic was turned over to the crowd, the first boos came out within moments.</p><p>One woman asked: &quot;What is CPD doing to examine the role of race in this violence? How are Boystown and its residents welcoming diversity?&quot;</p><p>One man angrily accused the gay community of being elitist:<em> </em></p><p>&quot;These kids have slept in cars, have eaten out of garbage cans, have been molested. I was one of those kids. I grew up in this neighborhood.&nbsp;&nbsp; Don&rsquo;t attack the kids.&nbsp; You are to blame!&nbsp; This community was not always a gay community. When I grew up here, gays were getting beat up. My friends were beating up gay people. Now you own the community. And what do you do? You turn it on kids who are troubled because their parents can&rsquo;t afford to feed them. So they throw them out on the street. Not on your doorstep! Not on your doorstep! You guys better wake up now!&hellip;All of you guys need to make a difference and stop blaming these damn kids.&quot;</p><p>Many residents called for an increased police presence in the neighborhood, with some directly attacking Cmdr. Boehmer and Ald. Tunney as they stood mere feet away.</p><p>Another speaker suggested that the city install collegiate-like alert boxes along the street.</p><p>Such requests aren&#39;t new.&nbsp; Northwestern University scholar Raisa Williams notes that calls for increased police presence have been a common theme in discussions about neighborhood tensions over the years.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Boystown property owners reason that they need heightened levels of policing and surveillance to control black youth&#39;s actions, which are seen as one of the main disturbances in the maintenance of Boystown,&quot; Williams writes.</p><p>One after the other, residents came forth to admonish police, aldermen, teens, gangs -- and themselves.&nbsp; Pleas to limit the soliloquies fell on deaf ears.</p><p>But at the end of the night, the boyfriend of the June 18th victim took to the mic.</p><p>&ldquo;Us working together as a community &ndash;this is how we&rsquo;re going to get past this.&nbsp; We don&rsquo;t need to hate each other. We don&rsquo;t need to point fingers.&nbsp; We need to come together, sit together like civilized adults, respectable youth and people of the future.&rdquo;</p><p><em>--Landon Cassman and Meghan Power contributed to this report.</em></p><p><em>Email Elliott Ramos at: <a href="mailto:eramos@wbez.org">eramos@wbez.org</a></em></p></p> Fri, 08 Jul 2011 19:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/divided-boystown-88832