WBEZ | diaspora http://www.wbez.org/tags/diaspora Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Financial burden of Ebola falls to African diaspora http://www.wbez.org/news/financial-burden-ebola-falls-african-diaspora-111031 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Ebola shipping.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Members of Chicago&rsquo;s West African diaspora say they are struggling under the pressure of supporting large extended families in Ebola-stricken countries, where the public health crisis has taken a <a href="http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2014/10/08/ebola-new-world-bank-group-study-forecasts-billions-in-economic-loss-if-epidemic-lasts-longer-spreads-in-west-africa">serious economic toll</a>. Some have turned to neighbors, government assistance programs and faith organizations for help -- not just to send back to their motherland, but to sustain their families in the U.S. during this period.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, to take care of five persons in America, at the same time to take care of more than 25 persons (in Africa), it&rsquo;s not easy,&rdquo; said David Young, &ldquo;and on a low income, it&rsquo;s terrible.&rdquo;</p><p>Young, a Liberian who came to the U.S. two years ago and was recently joined by his wife and three children, worries that his family might perish -- of starvation -- in Chicago&rsquo;s Chatham neighborhood on the South Side. The family receives free housing from the Chatham Fields Evangelical Lutheran Church, where Young is Music Director. Young says his take-home pay, about $1000 a month, is already low for a family that size. But lately, they&rsquo;ve had to make do with less, as he&rsquo;s been wiring about $600 montly back to his family in Liberia.</p><p>&ldquo;Because there&rsquo;s no work now in Liberia -- everything is shut down economically,&rdquo; Young explained, &ldquo;So, they tell me that they are not working.&rdquo;</p><p>The <a href="http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2014/09/17/000470435_20140917071539/Rendered/PDF/907480REVISED.pdf">World Bank </a>and <a href="http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/ena/wfp268458.pdf">other international aid groups</a> confirm those reports. People in Ebola-stricken countries, afraid of catching the often-fatal virus, are staying home to avoid human-to-human interaction. This has left many households without income.</p><p>&ldquo;I am telling you that almost everyday they make a call,&rdquo; Young said about his family in Liberia. &ldquo;They have to call and tell us no food, no this one, no this, no that. They are not working. There&rsquo;s no jobs.&rdquo;</p><p>The amount that Young feels obligated to wire abroad has left him desperate for help feeding his family here. Trying to get help, Young said he has attempted twice to qualify for food stamps in Illinois. He was denied because he&rsquo;s lived in the U.S. fewer than five years. Because of the nature of his work visa in the U.S., an R-1 temporary visa for religious workers, Young also faces restrictions on what type of additional work he may seek to augment his income.</p><p>Still, Young feels compelled to continue to reach into his household&rsquo;s meager resources to scrounge whatever they can for his network in Liberia. In a front room of his house, a large blue barrel sits, half-full with items like hand sanitizer, soap, toothpaste, disinfectants, shampoo, and rice. All are items one can find in Liberia, but Young says his sons there tell him that pantry staples and basic household cleaning products have shot up in price since the outbreak began.</p><p>&ldquo;If you ask for a bottle of Clorox right now, it&rsquo;s very expensive,&rdquo; said Young.</p><p>Just across the street from Young&rsquo;s house, at the Chatham Fields Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pastor Kenety Gee helps lead a congregation with many Liberians. He said the financial toll of supporting family back home has hit them all.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s really hard to look at the pictures, look at the stories, and ignore your family members,&rdquo; Gee said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really, really hard, so you got to stretch yourself.&rdquo;</p><p>Gee said he&rsquo;s no exception: one of his sisters in Liberia has a successful wholesale business, and never required Gee&rsquo;s support. But with Liberia&rsquo;s economy on hold, things have changed.</p><p>&ldquo;I send them $300 every week. That&rsquo;s $1200 a month,&rdquo; said Gee. &ldquo;But that&rsquo;s the kind of strain that is put on us here in the U.S.&rdquo;</p><p>The World Bank hasn&rsquo;t yet analyzed recent remittances to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Wiring services Western Union and Moneygram weren&rsquo;t able to share data. But people from all three communities share similar stories: that they&rsquo;re constantly transferring money, and that many have shifted away from shipping goods.</p><p>Artemus Gaye used to collect goods monthly to ship to Liberia. But his last 40-foot long container was sent in March. Since then, the business has dried up.</p><p>&ldquo;Who will you send it to now everyone has been quarantined, people are not moving around,&rdquo; said Gaye. &ldquo;The markets are very empty.&rdquo;</p><p>Today, Gaye&rsquo;s collecting protective medical gear and hospital supplies, which he hopes to ship in November. This isn&rsquo;t the usual stuff for this time of year. Normally, Gaye would be shipping Christmas presents. Still, he&rsquo;s optimistic that the market will be back to normal by the holiday</p><p>Gaye&rsquo;s encouraged by recent reports that Ebola is leveling off in Liberia.</p><p>&ldquo;We might be having a good Christmas season,&rdquo; said Gaye. &ldquo;You know, it&rsquo;ll be reflective, but at least people will be out there to do what they do best - interact with each other.&rdquo;</p><p>Many hope their family members in Africa will also be able to return, safely, to work. That could help ease finances for the diaspora in Chicago to celebrate the holidays, too.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/financial-burden-ebola-falls-african-diaspora-111031 Closing schools diaspora http://www.wbez.org/news/education/closing-schools-diaspora-108518 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/by bill healy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Students from Chicago&rsquo;s 47 shuttered elementary schools will head to new schools today. And while most will go to so-called &ldquo;welcoming&rdquo; schools the district has packed with resources, upgrades, and special safety provisions,&nbsp; new data show that many will not. The students from shuttered schools are enrolled in a whopping 287 schools across Chicago, forming a diaspora throughout the school system.</p><p>For every school it closed, the district designated another school as a &ldquo;welcoming school&rdquo; that students could transfer to. In a handful of cases the children from a single closing school were offered two or three welcoming schools.</p><p>Chicago Public Schools insists that the majority of the nearly 12,000 students from the closed schools are signed up at the designated welcoming schools, where it did big fix-ups, from paint to iPads. The district made $155 million in building improvements at those schools, adding computer labs, science labs,&nbsp; and installing air conditioning in every classroom.</p><p>It hosted hundreds of &ldquo;cultural integration events&rdquo; &ndash; from bowling parties to field days&mdash;to encourage social interaction between the two merging school communities and ease transitions between neighborhoods divided at times by longstanding tensions. And it has laid out careful security plans&mdash;including safe passage routes staffed by workers from the community to help students get safely to school.</p><p>But numbers obtained through an open records request show some 2,200 students from closed schools have <em>not </em>enrolled in welcoming schools, suggesting that the ripple effects of the largest school closure in recent American history could&nbsp; go well beyond the communities where the closures took place.&nbsp;</p><p>And while CPS says 78 percent of students have enrolled in designated welcoming schools, at individual schools, that percentage can be far lower. For instance, just 29 percent of students (42 kids in all)&nbsp; from shuttered Pope Elementary on the West Side have enrolled at Johnson School of Excellence, the designated &ldquo;welcoming&rdquo; school.</p><p>Instead, many former Pope students are enrolled at Crown Elementary&mdash;which has neither safe passage routes, nor iPads for every student.&nbsp; In some cases, schools that got major capital investments and programmatic improvements&mdash;to the tune of millions of dollars&mdash;will see fewer than 40 new children.</p><p>The scenario also puts at risk the district&rsquo;s promise to send every student to a higher performing school. For instance, Beidler, which itself has been on the shortlist for closure in the past, now has to manage an influx of students from eight shuttered schools (Stockton, Ross, Pope, Marconi, Goldblatt, Garfield Park, Calhoun and Bethune).</p><p>Many closing schools are sending nearly all their children to the receiving schools. One example is Ryerson, in the Garfield Park area. CPS says 326 Kindergarten through seventh graders were enrolled in Ryerson in May, and 311 have enrolled in the receiving school, Laura Ward, which will now be in the Ryerson building.</p><p>But other school communities are being pulled apart. Students from Lafayette Elementary, whose student orchestra became a symbol of community loss, are enrolled in 26 different schools, though the bulk will head to designated receiving school Chopin.</p><p>Students from shuttered Henson Elementary in North Lawndale are going to 21 different schools&mdash;including Crown, Penn, Mason and Lawndale. Just 32 of Henson&rsquo;s original 190 students are going to the designated receiving school, C. Hughes.</p><p>Tom Tyrrell, the former Marine Corps officer overseeing the shutdown of 50 schools and the transfer of 12,000 students to new schools, said Friday that Crown and other &ldquo;de facto&rdquo; welcoming schools would get what he called &ldquo;welcoming school funds.&rdquo; But he admitted that did not include building upgrades or iPads. The district has not said how much it has spent on Crown to help the school deal with an influx of students from closed schools, or how that amount compares to what designated welcoming schools received. A total of four closed schools are sending&nbsp; between 83 and 99 students to Crown (some exact figures cannot be ascertained because of the way CPS reported the data).&nbsp;</p><p>Other findings:</p><p>&bull; 40 of the 47 closing schools still have a handful of students that have not enrolled anywhere yet.</p><p>&bull; As of last Thursday, 118 students at King Elementary in the Tri-Taylor neighborhood still had not registered for school anywhere. During public hearings last spring the community raised concerns about safety and the long distance to the receiving school. Latino families said privately they would not attend Jensen, the receiving school, which is deep in an African American community. But King was an outlier. According to the district&rsquo;s figures, all other closing schools had 10 or fewer students left to enroll.</p><p>&bull; Handfuls of students at 36 of the 47 closed schools have left the district. At Jesse Owens, which used to be located at 125th and State Street, 10 students have left the district, the most of all the closing schools.</p><p>&bull; More students from closing Paderewski Elemenatary are headed to a nearby charter school than to Padarewski&rsquo;s designated receiving school. Twenty-eight students are slated to go to Catalyst-Howland charter campus, just blocks from Paderewski; 24 are enrolled at Cardenas, one of Paderewski&rsquo;s receiving schools.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 26 Aug 2013 00:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/education/closing-schools-diaspora-108518 The Sounds of Stillness: Dwelling in the Visual Archive of Diaspora http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/sounds-stillness-dwelling-visual-archive-diaspora-107051 <p><p><strong>Professor Tina Campt</strong>, Professor of Women&#39;s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Director of the Africana Studies Program, Barnard College, New York, engages three innovative conceptual frameworks for theorizing diasporic formation that depart from traditional emphasis on mobility, resistance and expressiveness as primary idioms of black culture.</p><p>Her talk elaborates the concepts of quiet, stasis, and fugitivity, and uses them to consider what they tell us about what we overlook, overhear, erase or leave unremarked in diasporic formations. Vernacular photography offers an important and frequently overlooked window into practices of diasporic dwelling and fugitivity, when we attend differently to the quiet practices of stasis through which they image fugitivity. Reading these three keywords together through the photography of a Black German family offers a provisional glimpse into the possibilities of theorizing some of the fugitive practices often rendered unvisible in other diasporic frames.</p><p>This is one of our keynote speakers for DePaul University&#39;s conference, <em>Remapping the Black Atlantic: (Re)Writings of Race and Space</em> which took place April 12-14. More information on the conference can be found <a href="http://las.depaul.edu/diaspora/ConferenceAnnouncements/index.asp">here.</a></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/CBDD-webstory_5.jpg" style="float: left;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><br />Recorded live Sunday, April 14, 2013 at DePaul University&#39;s Student Center.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sun, 14 Apr 2013 11:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/sounds-stillness-dwelling-visual-archive-diaspora-107051 Stigma and Culture: Global Migrations and the Crisis of Identity in Black America http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/stigma-and-culture-global-migrations-and-crisis-identity-black-america <p><p>The black Atlantic is a site of not just roots and cultures but also routes and convergences. We must add that an element of those convergences is oppositional identity-making among populations of African descent from diverse geographical origins.</p><p><em>Stigma and Culture</em> with <strong>J. Lorand Matory</strong>, PhD. Duke University, explores the re-articulation of ethnic boundaries and cultural diacritica by which African and Caribbean immigrants to the United States, as well as Louisiana Creoles of color and Native American populations of partly African descent, endeavor to distinguish themselves from a supposedly more prototypical black American, with the intent to establish their worthiness of the American dream. Such self-construction in contrast to the stigmatized African American is taken as a case study of the role of stigma in the genesis of cultural identities generally in a time of global migrations.</p><p>This is one of our keynote speakers for DePaul University&#39;s conference, <em>Remapping the Black Atlantic: (Re)Writings of Race and Space</em> which took place April 12-14. More information on the conference can be found <a href="http://las.depaul.edu/diaspora/ConferenceAnnouncements/index.asp">here.</a></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/CBDD-webstory_3.jpg" style="float: left;" title="" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><br />Recorded live Friday, April 12, 2013 at DePaul&nbsp; University&#39;s Lincoln Park Student Center.</p></p> Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/stigma-and-culture-global-migrations-and-crisis-identity-black-america Practically Speaking http://www.wbez.org/story/african-americans/practically-speaking <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Haiti_1.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><em>Practically Speaking </em>is an hour-long program that explores the views and experiences of Chicagoans whose stories may be familiar, but whose perspectives are rarely heard.</p><p>In this episode, hosts Audra Wilson and Ayana Contreras take us on a journey through education, language, culture, and identity.</p><p>It's a journey that spans from Englewood to Haiti - with stories about the intersection of language and culture, the history and meaning of African-American baby names, the dreams of the Haitian diaspora, and the special principles of a Chicago Public School principal.&nbsp; Click on the audio link at the top of the page to listen.</p><p><em>Practically Speaking </em>is produced by Ayana Contreras and presented by WBEZ Chicago.</p></p> Thu, 20 Jan 2011 18:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/african-americans/practically-speaking