WBEZ | dating http://www.wbez.org/tags/dating Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Best date spots in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-07/best-date-spots-chicago-107951 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/promontory point.jpg" style="float: right; width: 400px; height: 270px; " title="A summer's day on Promontory Point. (Flickr/Dottie B)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Summer is prime dating season in Chicago, so why not get out there and enjoy it?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Whether you&#39;re looking to surprise your significant other or treat your longtime crush to a first date that both of you will never forget, these fun-filled activities are sure to make sparks fly:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>For the foodies:</strong></div><p>A Sunday stroll through a neighborhood<a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/farmers_market.html" target="_blank"> farmer&#39;s market</a> or Friday night sojourn to a&nbsp;<a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/stories/1839-2013-chicago-festival-guide" target="_blank">street fest</a>&nbsp;with food trucks aplenty is a great way to introduce your date to new cuisines while still being able to walk, talk and enjoy the summer scenery.</p><p>If you do decide to go to a restaurant, make it an early dinner (I suggest Balena, Bluebird or Tango Sur) and then check out a new play at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org" target="_blank">Steppenwolf Garage</a>&nbsp;or comedy show at <a href="http://ioimprov.com/chicago/" target="_blank">iO Theater</a>,&nbsp;both tickets $20 or less.&nbsp;Have a drink afterwards (I&#39;m partial to The Violet Hour and Bangers &amp; Lace) to discuss your favorite parts.</p><p><strong>For the artists: </strong></p><p><a href="http://bottleandbottega.com" target="_blank">Bottle &amp; Bodega</a> and <a href="http://www.artsnspirits.com" target="_blank">Arts n Spirits</a>&nbsp;are perfect spots for couples to sip on wine or mimosas as they paint. And while a thorough canvassing of the <a href="http://chicago.about.com/od/arts/p/MCAChicago.htm" target="_blank">Museum of Contemporary Art </a>and a <em>Ferris Bueller</em>-style jaunt through the <a href="http://www.artic.edu" target="_blank">Art Institute</a>&nbsp;are essential outings for any artsy duo, Chicago has a multitude of other musuems to explore. Check out a gallery opening in Pilsen or the South Loop, walk through the highly underrated <a href="http://www.mocp.org" target="_blank">Museum of Contemporary Photography</a>&nbsp;or make pottery à la<em> Ghost</em>&nbsp;at <a href="http://penguinfoot.com" target="_blank">Penguin Foot</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>For the nerds:</strong></p><p>If you&#39;re into vintage games, make a date at one of the city&#39;s best arcade bars:&nbsp;<a href="http://emporiumchicago.com" target="_blank">Emporium</a>, <a href="http://hqbeercade.com" target="_blank">Headquarters</a> or&nbsp;<a href="http://www.logan-hardware.com" target="_blank">Logan Hardware</a>&nbsp;(where you can also browse for vinyl, candy and comic books). Then keep the nerdy fun going all night long with sci-fi&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thelogantheatre.com/index.php/component/events/?view=events" target="_blank">movie trivia</a>&nbsp;at Logan Theatre or a hilarious&nbsp;<em>Stars Wars</em> cabaret at <a href="http://www.gorillatango.com" target="_blank">Gorilla Tango</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>For the music lovers:</strong></p><p>Bring a blanket and a bottle of wine to <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/millennium_park1.html" target="_blank">Downtown Sound</a>&nbsp;for free music in Millenium Park, or pay $10 each to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on the lawn at<a href="http://www.ravinia.org" target="_blank"> Ravinia</a>. Other cosy and cost-friendly spots to hear live music around the city include jazz at&nbsp;<a href="http://greenmilljazz.com/calendar/" target="_blank">The Green Mill</a>, folksy sets at&nbsp;<a href="http://evanstonspace.com" target="_blank">Evanston Space</a>, Free Music Mondays at <a href="http://emptybottle.com" target="_blank">The Empty Bottle&nbsp;</a>and Acoustic Brunch at <a href="http://www.schubas.com" target="_blank">Schubas</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>For the athletes:</strong></p><p>Go for a scenic bike ride on the lakefront or through the majestic&nbsp;<a href="http://fpdcc.com/downloads/bw_bikemap.pdf" target="_blank">Cook Country Forest Preserve</a>, and find places to stop for <a href="http://www.city-discovery.com/chicago/tour.php?id=3010" target="_blank">burgers and beers</a>&nbsp;along the way. Feel like challenging each other to a game of one-on-one? Break out the tennis racquets at one of these <a href="http://chitowntennis.com/TennisCourts" target="_blank">Chicago courts</a>&nbsp;or race up the climbing wall at <a href="http://ffc.com/climbingwall/old-town/" target="_blank">The Ledge</a> in Old Town.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>For the adventurers:</strong></p><p>Chicago was recently named the city with the <a href="http://articles.redeyechicago.com/2013-06-06/news/39794953_1_windy-city-raleigh-activities" target="_blank">most adrenaline junkies</a>&nbsp;in America, perhaps because of the endless thrill-seeking possibilities that await around every turn. For a truly exhilirating date to remember, take a trapeze class at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.actorsgymnasium.com" target="_blank">Actor&#39;s Gymnasium</a> in Evanston, ride in a<a href="http://www.balloonrideschicago.com" target="_blank"> hot air balloon</a> over Illinois or tandem sky dive at the <a href="http://www.skydivecsc.com" target="_blank">Chicagoland Skydiving Center</a> in Rochelle.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>For the bookworms:</strong></p><p>Experience the world-renowned <a href="http://www.slampapi.com/new_site/mill.htm" target="_blank">Uptown Poetry Slam</a> at the Green Mill, or visit one of the many <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-11-08/entertainment/ct-ott-1109-storytelling-20121108_1_chats-stories-tyler-clark" target="_blank">storytelling nights</a> at bookstores all over town. If you both have an undying love for the Bard, check out a&nbsp;performance by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.shakespeareprojectchicago.org" target="_blank">The Shakespeare Project</a> at a library near you.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>For the romantics:</strong></p><p>Take a picnic dinner to the beautiful <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promontory_Point_(Chicago)" target="_blank">Promontory Point</a>&nbsp;at sunset, snuggle up on the roof of <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ROOFontheWit" target="_blank">The Wit</a> for Movie Mondays or spring for $14 cocktails at the <a href="http://www.signatureroom.com" target="_blank">Signature Room</a>&nbsp;to gaze down at Chicago from the 95th Floor (believe me, it&#39;s worth it). If you really want to impress that special someone, a spectacular view can&#39;t be beat.&nbsp;</p><p>What are your favorite date spots in Chicago?</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;or <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 05 Jul 2013 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-07/best-date-spots-chicago-107951 Finding 'Geek Love' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-01/geek-love-new-normal-105118 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Geek_Love.jpg" title="'Geek Love' is an online reality series that focuses on Sci-Fi Speed Dating, a speed dating business founded by Ryan Glitch that brings “like-minded people together to embrace their idiosyncrasies and find love” at events like Comic-Con. (Geek Love/IGN)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Whenever I meet someone with the slightest bit of dating potential, I wait for the inevitable statement of identity that all hipster elitists seem to share: &quot;I am <em>such</em>&nbsp;a nerd.&quot;&nbsp;Some people define their expertise by category (gamer, techie, film snob, music geek etc.) while others claim to be masters of all subjects. Many of them are just poseurs, hoping to woo me with their extensive knowledge of Internet memes and coffee table books from Urban Outfitters. Still, the trend speaks for itself: nerd culture and pop culture have become inexplicably intertwined.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>So, what happens when you fall somewhere in between? I&#39;m way too nerdy to resist a&nbsp;marathon of <em>Doctor Who </em>or a&nbsp;midnight premiere of <em>Harry Pott</em><em>er (</em>in full costume,&nbsp;of course!)&nbsp;but I&#39;m also not quite geeky enough to attend a&nbsp;robot&nbsp;convention or learn advanced Klingon. While I enjoy playing Galaga at my neighborhood barcade and reading obscene amounts of Mulder/Scully fan fiction, I&#39;ve never played a video game (my parents didn&#39;t allow them in the house when I was growing up) and I&#39;ve only read a handful of comic books from cover-to-cover.&nbsp;Does that make me ineligible for geekdom? Is there a nerd hierarchy that I must adhere to in order to claim membership?&nbsp;</p><p>Obviously, putting on a pair of hipster glasses and watching PBS on occasion does not make you a real nerd. However, with the rabid popularity of superhero movies like <em>The Avengers</em> and television shows like <em>The Big Bang Theory</em>, even people who don&#39;t go around describing themselves as nerds secretly wish that they had more nerdy qualities.&nbsp;</p><p>Enter <em>Geek Love</em>, a reality show about Sci-Fi Speed Dating that began as a one-hour special on TLC and now thrives as a web series on IGN&#39;s START YouTube channel. The nine-episode series premiered on January 3, 2013 and airs new episodes every Thursday at 12 p.m. PT. Check out Episode 1 below, as a bonafide&nbsp;<a href="http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Brony">Brony </a>named Alex tries to step out of the friend zone (been there, man) and find a geekmate for life at New York&#39;s Comic-Con:</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/sQ5iwGApwLM" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Although Chicagoans will have to wait until August for the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wizardworld.com/home-ch.html">Wizard World </a>Comic-Con at the Rosemont Convention Center, several smaller-scale events are coming up soon.</p><p>Lauren Rapciak of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/geek-girl-chicago/2013/01/ways-to-meet-geeky-girlfriend-or-boyfriend-in-chicago/">Geek Girl Chicago&nbsp;</a>&nbsp;just posted her list for the spring, which includes the Chicago Nerd Social Club&#39;s <a href="http://www.facebook.com/events/552580318085742/">Newbie Welcoming Party</a> on February 2, the Nerds at Heart <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/org/1143977175">Sixth Annual Lovefest</a> on February 14 and even a Chicago Sci-Fi Speed Dating event tentatively scheduled for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.c2e2.com">C2E2</a>&nbsp;on April 26. Most of these groups offer queer-friendly meetups as well, so everyone has an equal chance of finding someone special.&nbsp;</p><p>Here&#39;s my advice for those geeky singles who would prefer <em>not</em> to spend the dreaded month of February alone: keep your options open. Instead of searching for a carbon copy of yourself, be open to the possibility of new experiences and adventures outside of your comfort zone. Believe me, not sharing all of the same fandoms can be a good thing (unless the other person doesn&#39;t know what a fandom is, in which case you should get out quick). &nbsp;</p><p>What are your thoughts on nerd culture and dating in Chicago? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet <a href="http://twitter.com/leahkpickett">@leahkpickett</a>.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 25 Jan 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-01/geek-love-new-normal-105118 Asian-American men less likely to date interacially http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/asian-american-men-less-likely-date-interacially-102033 <p><p>Who you date - as well as who you marry - is one of the most intensely personal decisions someone makes. So it&rsquo;s easy to overlook the broader role society, culture and yes, even race plays in that decision.</p><p>Hardy Kim is a second generation Korean-American. He grew up in Gross Pointe, Michigan, and now lives in Oak Park. From an early age, he was told he needed to marry a Korean woman. So naturally, he rebelled.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t necessarily say to myself, I wouldn&rsquo;t marry a Korean-American woman, but I definitely thought, there&rsquo;s no way I am going to marry a women straight from Korea,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Marriage rates across the U.S. are generally declining. But they&rsquo;re still high for Asian-Americans. As one of the smallest racial minorities here, it&rsquo;s not that surprising Asians have <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2012/02/SDT-Intermarriage-II.pdf">some of the highest rates of interracial marriage</a>. But Asian-American women are twice as likely as their male counterparts to marry outside their race.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s why.</p><p><a href="http://www.asian-nation.org/interracial.shtml">C.N. Le</a>&rsquo;s a sociology professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He said that if you look at marriage from a traditional standpoint, many people have viewed it as a way to become more economically successful &ndash; or at least, stable.</p><p>&ldquo;So you would think based on that sort of traditional motivation women would marry the most socioeconomically successful men. If that were the sole criteria, then Asian-American men would be near the top of the list,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>But &ndash; they&rsquo;re not. Asian-American men are second only to black women for having the lowest rates of interracial marriage.</p><p>Le thinks at least part of this is due to pervasive cultural stereotypes. You know them: Asian-American men are at best nerdy, at worst, neutered or not masculine enough. Le says that creates what he calls a &ldquo;cultural penalty&rdquo; in the dating world. And then he cited <a href="http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/04/13/single-female-seeking-same-race-male/">research</a> that actually quantifies this.</p><p>&ldquo;In crunching the numbers, they found on an aggregate level, Latino men have to make something like $70,000 more than a comparable white man for a white women to be open to dating them,&rdquo; he said, adding for African-American men, that figure is closer to $120,000.</p><p>For Asian-American men? It&rsquo;s $250,000 more than a comparable white male would make.</p><p>&ldquo;I think that&rsquo;s kind of telling,&rdquo; Le said.</p><p>But it&rsquo;s not clear how many Asian-American men are looking for white women to marry.</p><p><img alt="The Kims" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/The%20Kims%20fun%20pic%20resized.jpg" style="float: left; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 2px; " title="(Photo courtesy of the Kims)" />There&rsquo;s a trend of Korean-American marriages incorporating a lot of older traditions in wedding ceremonies. Hardy Kim sees a lot of symbolism in those old traditions, like the parents throwing chesnuts and dates at the bride and groom (that&#39;s supposed to symolize how many children, by gender, the couple will have). At the end of the ceremony, there&rsquo;s a part where the man has to show his ability to carry forward the life of his bride. So, he&rsquo;s supposed to literally pick up his bride and carry her around. Then, he has to do the same to his mother.</p><p>&ldquo;Well, because, he&rsquo;s taking care of his family, too,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Hardy did end up marrying someone straight from Korea &ndash; but they met here, while they were both studying in Chicago. They&rsquo;ve been happily married for nine years, with two kids, a boy and a girl. The children have Korean and American names.</p><p><a href="https://www.facebook.com/prateekcomedy">Prateek Srivastava</a> is a standup comedian. He&rsquo;s 25. He grew up in Lombard but now he lives in Logan Square.<img alt="Prateek Srivastava onstage." class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Prateek%20Resized.jpg" style="float: right; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; " title="(Photo courtesy of Prateek Srivastava)" /></p><p>He&rsquo;s dated both Indians and non-Indians, and when the girl isn&rsquo;t Indian, the fact that he has come up &ndash; often at &ldquo;weird points&rdquo;, he says, in the relationship.</p><p>Once, he and a girlfriend were talking about movies of their childhood, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came up.</p><p>There&rsquo;s that <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7J-RRv5PcKA&amp;feature=related">scene</a> where an Indian guy eats someone&rsquo;s heart.</p><p>&ldquo;And so she said, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m just saying, I don&rsquo;t think you guys eat hearts but do you think maybe at some point in the past they used to eat hearts?&rsquo;,&rdquo; he recounted. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m like, no, nobody ate hearts. I mean, most Indians are vegetarian.&rdquo;</p><p>I asked Prateek if it would be easier if he dated an Indian girl or another Asian - or if his parents expect him to end up with an Indian. He doesn&#39;t have a preference either way. And, his parents haven&rsquo;t really put pressure on him to date only Indians. But the women he dates assume they have.</p><p>&ldquo;In one recent relationship this girl was like, &#39;Is this a temporary thing, or are you going to be able to introduce me to your parents?&#39;,&rdquo; Prateek recalls, adding that he thinks it&rsquo;s interesting that even across Indian families, he knows that families can be liberal or conversative.</p><p>&ldquo;People just assume we&rsquo;re homogenous - but we&rsquo;re not,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Forget putting just all South Asians into one group. Outside of this country, people of nationalities like Japanese or Indian or Korea would never think of themselves all as being put into one big category.</p><p>This is naturally reflected in marriages here, where<a href="http://www.asian-nation.org/interracial.shtml"> Koreans are less likely than Japanese or Indian people</a> to marry outside their ethnic groups.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think any of us is really born Asian-American, I think that most of us are who are born here go through a similar sort of phase process,&rdquo; said Jeff Yang, who writes the <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/tag/tao-jones/">Tao Jones</a> column for the Wall Street Journal. He likes to point out that concept of &ldquo;Asian American&rdquo; as a singular group is a uniquely American one.</p><p>Yang says Asian-American identity usually starts in college, where many Asians &ndash; he jokingly refers to the University of California schools as the Historically Asian colleges &ndash; tend to congregate.</p><p>That kind of commonality is even playing itself out in marriage data: of Asian-Americans marrying other Asian-Americans. Researchers call it inter-ethnic Asian marriage.</p><p>&ldquo;The fastest number of Asian-Americans who are not marrying Asians of their own ethnicity are marrying other ethnicities,&rdquo; Yang said. &ldquo;This is something which I think is culturally the product of some really interesting phenomena.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="Norm Leong (left) at a TAP-Chicago Happy Hour this past Spring." class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NormHH%20Resized.jpg" style="border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; float: left; margin: 2px; " title="(Photo courtesy of Norm Leong &amp; TAP Chicago)" />Take Norm Leong. He spends most of his social life with other Asians, even if they aren&rsquo;t Chinese, like his family.</p><p>His Facebook profile is full of pictures of him on Chicago&rsquo;s Asian-American scene, everything from <a href="http://tapchicago.org/">TAP &ndash; Chicago</a> (the Taiwanese American Professional Group), to <a href="http://www.ascenechicago.com/">Ascene</a>, an online magazine that also holds monthly events, to the <a href="http://aajachicago.wordpress.com/">Asian American Journalists Association</a> (full disclosure: where this reporter first met Norm).</p><p>He&rsquo;s 28. He says TAP is his favorite group &ndash; he&rsquo;s even on their board, even though he&rsquo;s not Taiwanese. He lives in Schaumburg, where he grew up.</p><p>&ldquo;My parents are very, very, very traditional,&rdquo; Norm said. &ldquo;So they&rsquo;ve always been like, you know have to date and marry a Chinese Asian girl. They pretty much said, &#39;Norm, if you don&rsquo;t give me Chinese grandchildren, we will be very sad and we will be unhappy with you&#39;.&rdquo;</p><p>Norm sort of listens. He says he&rsquo;s really only ever been attracted to women of East Asian descent, so that&rsquo;s who he dates &ndash; even women who aren&rsquo;t Chinese.</p><p>His younger brother married outside their race &ndash; as did many of his cousins. Norm says that does put more pressure on him. But he says when he&rsquo;s ready to marry, it will be his choice - not his parents.</p><p>The data looking at Asians marrying other Asians is just a few years old. But if people like Norm Leong are well, the norm, it could continue.</p></p> Wed, 29 Aug 2012 21:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/asian-american-men-less-likely-date-interacially-102033 An anthropologist on breakups in the digital age http://www.wbez.org/story/anthropologist-breakups-digital-age-95509 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-12/iPhone love_flickr_Royan Lee.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When anthropologist Illana Gershon interviewed her Indiana University students as part of her research on social media and relationships, she posed this question to one of her classes: If you and your sweetie are “Facebook official,” what happens when the relationship ends? Whose job is it to change the relationship status: the person who got dumped or the person who did the dumping?</p><p>An attractive blonde replied with great confidence, “I know the answer to this one! My entire sorority knows the answer to this one!”</p><p>“It’s always the one who’s dumped,” she explained.</p><p>She then paused for a moment, “But not everyone on campus knows this.”</p><p>It was quips like this, Gershon says, that made her realize we are still in the early, Wild West days of digital etiquette, especially when it comes to using these technologies to navigate our romantic relationships. What is ok to us and our group of friends might be unacceptable elsewhere, because nothing has been standardized or codified.</p><p>When doing anthropological surveys, Gershon says that by the 20<sup>th</sup> or 30<sup>th</sup> interview a pattern will usually emerge, a kind of predictability. But not in this case.</p><p>As she interviewed her students, she found their habits and values to be wildly unpredictable. “In every interview I’d have a moment where I’d want to say, you do what?!” she says. The results of her interviews ended up in her book, <em>The</em> <em>Breakup 2.0</em>: <em>Disconnecting over New Media.</em></p><p>In the early days of the telephone Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell fought over what one should say when one picked up the ringer. (Edison argued for “Hello,” while Bell argued for the sprightly “Ahoy!”)</p><p>In the early ‘80s, the Replacements’ Paul Westerberg wondered aloud “how do you say I’m lonely/to an answering machine”.</p><p>We’re all trying to find our way through each new technology, and apparently, some of us are like Berger in <em>Sex and the City</em>, in that we think it’s ok to break up with Carrie via a Post-it note. (Or over IM, if you’re one of Gershon’s students.)</p><p>Listen to the audio above for more of Gershon’s eyebrow raising examples of her students internet breakup habits, or leave your own examples in the comments.</p><p><em><a href="../../series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a></em> showcases hidden gems unearthed from <em>Chicago Amplified’s</em> vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Illana Gershon was interviewed by <em>Time Out Chicago’s</em> Madeline Nusser at an event presented by the <a href="http://www.chicagohumanities.org/Default.aspx">Chicago Humanities Festival</a> in November of 2011. Click <a href="../../story/breakup-20-94573">here</a> to hear the event in its entirety.</p></p> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/anthropologist-breakups-digital-age-95509 Gang mediators take on domestic violence http://www.wbez.org/story/advocate/gang-mediators-take-domestic-violence <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Kerr_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago-based group called CeaseFire works in the city&rsquo;s toughest neighborhoods. It trains former gang members to mediate conflicts that could turn violent. Those conflicts might be over turf or money, a pecking order or a personality clash. Now CeaseFire is addressing another source of gang tension: wives and girlfriends. But some advocates for battered women worry that mixing gang intervention with domestic-violence work could backfire.</p><p>MITCHELL (at the scene): I&rsquo;m at the offices of a Humboldt Park group called the Alliance of Local Service Organizations. It runs a CeaseFire chapter and they&rsquo;re letting me listen in to a debriefing about a shooting this month.<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: Could there be retaliation to this incident?<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER B: There could have been, very likely, but since we talked them down and...<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: Because somebody went around on a graffiti rampage, right?<br />MITCHELL (at the scene): I&rsquo;ve agreed not to identify the CeaseFire workers or anyone involved in the conflict.<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: The victim was in a relationship?<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER B: He&rsquo;s in a relationship. He was having another relationship outside the relationship....<br /><br />MITCHELL (in the bureau): Here&rsquo;s the gist of the story&mdash;all of it alleged. A gang member got a teenager pregnant and started slapping her around. This didn&rsquo;t sit well with her family. And, the thing is, her family&rsquo;s in a different gang. So someone in that mob tracked down the man and shot him.<br /><br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: Did the victim die?<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER B: No.<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: Did the victim know the perp?<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER B: Yes.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Violence involving gangs and girlfriends is nothing new in Chicago. But it&rsquo;s only lately that CeaseFire&rsquo;s Humboldt Park chapter responds this way:<br /><br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: OK, so a domestic-violence advocate has been notified and is working with the related parties around safety planning. We don&rsquo;t know if that has taken place, right?<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER B: No.<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: Because we gave her the card but...<br />CEASEFIRE WORKER B: It&rsquo;s on her if she wants to go get the help. We can&rsquo;t force her to do anything.<br />KERR: And there are other services that we&rsquo;ve connected with as well so...<br /><br />MITCHELL: This last guy is Norman Kerr. He&rsquo;s a social worker who oversees the CeaseFire chapter. Kerr speaks with me after the meeting.<br /><br />KERR: A year ago, we didn&rsquo;t really concern ourselves with needs of the victim in a domestic-violence case. If there was a young lady who was victimized by her boyfriend, that really wasn&rsquo;t something that we addressed.<br /><br />MITCHELL: So Kerr and some former gang members he supervises got some training from the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women&rsquo;s Network. And the CeaseFire chapter has developed an approach to what it calls &ldquo;intimate-partner violence.&rdquo;<br /><br />KERR: If we know someone is victimized, we want to make sure that they&rsquo;re getting the help that they need. And, at the same time, we&rsquo;re sitting here talking about how we can educate the young guys that they shouldn&rsquo;t be perpetrating domestic violence.<br /><br />SHAW: That&rsquo;s a dream come true.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Barbara Shaw heads a state agency called the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority.<br /><br />SHAW: Men sometimes feel that they have a right to hit their girlfriends or hit their wives&mdash;that they&rsquo;re supposed to maintain control. And having other men, particularly men who have a macho image themselves, telling them that this is not OK and not manly increases the validity and strength of the message.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Shaw says gang interventionists with roots in the neighborhood have much more access to perpetrators than victim advocates do. That&rsquo;s actually the idea behind expanding the program. Starting next month, the Humboldt Park chapter will train CeaseFire street workers citywide about intimate-partner violence.&nbsp; But some battered-women&rsquo;s advocates warn that CeaseFire could be putting those workers in greater danger.<br /><br />ABARCA: The offender may try to send other people after him or may teach him a lesson for getting into his business.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Rosa Abarca heads the domestic-violence program at Mujeres Latinas en Acción. That&rsquo;s a women&rsquo;s center in Chicago&rsquo;s Pilsen neighborhood. Abarca says a perp. might mistake what a CeaseFire worker&rsquo;s up to.<br /><br />ABARCA: He may feel like this is a boyfriend that&rsquo;s trying to help her out. And that can escalate the abuse for her because he&rsquo;s probably thinking that, &quot;She&rsquo;s being unfaithful. I need to control her more.&quot;<br /><br />MITCHELL: And Abarca points out some victims may not be ready for help.<br /><br />AMBI: Debriefing.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Back in Humboldt Park, the CeaseFire workers are still talking about the shooting.<br /><br />CEASEFIRE WORKER A: Let me ask you this: What happens if she does end up getting slapped again tomorrow?<br /><br />MITCHELL: I ask the group&rsquo;s leader, Norman Kerr, whether Abarca has got a point.&nbsp; Maybe a CeaseFire worker could make a domestic dispute worse. Maybe he could spark more violence.<br /><br />KERR: We&rsquo;re not trying to work directly with female victims. We&rsquo;re making referrals. We&rsquo;re making sure that the female victims in those situations are getting some services.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Kerr wants his crew to be careful. But since so many gang disputes involve girlfriends and wives, he says, CeaseFire has no choice but to get involved.</p><p><em>Music Button: Calibro 35, &quot;Appuntamento Al Contessa&quot;, from the CD Rare, (Nublu) </em></p></p> Mon, 24 Jan 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/advocate/gang-mediators-take-domestic-violence