WBEZ | Center on Halsted http://www.wbez.org/tags/center-halsted Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Irresistible Revolution: A Discussion of the Contemporary LGBT Movement with Urvashi Vaid http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/irresistible-revolution-discussion-contemporary-lgbt-movement-urvashi-vaid <p><p>The Ellen Stone Belic Institute for Women and Gender in the Arts is pleased to co-present this program with the Center on Halsted, Community Media Workshop, and Windy City Times newspaper. <strong>Urvashi Vaid</strong>, one of the most influential and insightful social justice leaders will discuss her new book, <em>Irresistible Revolution Confronting Race, Class and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics</em>.</p><div>From one of the nation&#39;s best-known social justice leaders and community activists comes a strategic and informed argument about the pitfalls of limited political vision, and the benefits of an agenda that encompasses, yet moves beyond, equality. <em>Irresistible Revolution</em> is an optimistic book intended for a broad audience, while challenging LGBT rights advocates in the U.S. to aspire beyond the narrow framework of equality. It outlines a more substantive politics with race, class, and gender at its foundation, and suggests that such a politics will produce greater and more meaningful change for a larger number of people.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Urvashi Vaid is a community organizer and attorney who has been a leader in the LGBT and social justice movement for thirty years. Currently the Director of the Engaging Traditions Project at Columbia Law School&#39;s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Vaid is a former staff attorney with the ACLU National Prison Project, and a former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. She lives in New York City with her partner of 25 years, the humorist Kate Clinton.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ISWG-webstory_1.jpg" title="" /></div></div><p>Recorded live Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at the Center on Halsted.</p></p> Wed, 03 Apr 2013 13:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/irresistible-revolution-discussion-contemporary-lgbt-movement-urvashi-vaid 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