Advertisements

Hadiya Pendleton: A Letter to Barack Obama, Newtown to Chiraq

Dear Barack Obama, I’m from the bloodiest and most violent area ever recorded in modern American history—the Southside of Chicago. Recently, Hadiya Taylor Pendleton , a young lady, who attended King College Prep High-School (where I am a high-school alumni) was shot and killed.  My condolences and prayers are with Hadiya and her family. She was only 15 years old. Although, I didn’t  really know Hadiya personally,  she attended the Chicago Debate Summer Institute with me and we had plenty of mutual friends who had this to say:

“Just please stop! I am tired of all this gang shit, violence, shooting, all of it; my friend just got shot and killed today.”

” I held her hand and told her everything was gonna be okay and it wasn’t and I know bullets don’t have name but my best friend had one and a smile to light up a room, and her senseless murder will not be in vain. It cant be. She can’t just die and we treat it like its nothing. Stuff like this is too commonplace.”

According, to the Chicago Sun Times, “Police said Hadiya had no previous arrest history and doesn’t appear to be in a gang. But preliminary information indicates most of the members she was with were gang members. None of the group stuck around to help Hadiya or wait for the police.”[1]

This is a textbook case of terrible reporting allegedly coming from ‘reputable’ news sources. According, to primary sources  coming from KCP students:

“The news really knows how to fuck up a story. One, they spent 20 seconds talking about how my best friend was with gang members, then they don’t even mention Lawrence got shot, and then said we all ‘fled the scene.’ I WAS HOLDING HER HAND TALKING HER THROUGH IT. VERONICA AND JORDAN WERE TALKING TO POLICE OFFICERS. SHE WAS IN DANETRIA’S LAP UNTIL THE AMBULANCE CAME. HOW THE FUCK WAS LAWRENCE GOING TO RUN WHEN HE GOT SHOT IN THE FUCKING ANKLE?”

thehadThe language is harsh but the living conditions of African-American youth throughout Chicago are harsher. President Obama, you used to do community organization in the Altgeld Gardens neighborhood—recently Joseph Coleman (Lil JOJO) was shot and killed there. When I was in sixth grade you spoke at the graduation ceremony for my school. I’ve also attended your former church where I heard your once close pastor Jeremiah Wright spoke. My community is running rapid with gun violence. Robert Sandifer was a 12 year old kid from my community who over a decade ago was carrying out shootings  for his gang. I was once talking to a kid who hadn’t even reached his teenage years yet; he was putting up ‘gang signs’ and calling out the names of respective street organizations. I asked him why he was doing this and he responded, “If you out slangin’ dope and someone shoot you, they go put up they sign. You gotta know who they belong to if you want to get them back.” This is the reality of black life in Chicago. I am sure you are aware of the gun violence in Chicago; indeed in your victory speech you stated

Robert_sandifer“We believe in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who pledges to our flag, to the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the street corner, to the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a diplomat or even a president. We will rise and fall as one nation, and as one people. It doesn’t matter if you are black or white, young or old, rich or poor. You can make it in America, if you’re willing to try.”[2]

Hadiya, who attended your second inaugural address to preform is not the only Chicago Public Student to be shot. According to the progressive labor party:

“Before Renaissance 2010, the intolerable number of CPS students fatally shot in these neighborhoods was 15. In the 2006-07 school year, it rose to 24; in 2007-08 to 23 deaths and 211 shootings. Now in 2008-09 it’s risen to over 40 fatalities and 290 shootings (five in the first two months). These resemble numbers from Iraq or Afghanistan.”[2]

The Southside of Chicago is in shambles resembling third world countries. Currently, America is a long ways from accomplishing what you desire. The fatal shooting of Hadiya Taylor took place in less than a mile from your Chicago house. I was reading a book recently entitled ‘The Assassination Of Fred Hampton’ where the author, the lawyer of Fred Hampton who attend the University of Chicago back in the 60’s, said[4]

“On the South Side of Chicago I was surrounded by a poor black community, one being displaced by the university I was attending…  I could not ignore the blatant inequality between their lives and mine.”

My former school, King College Prep, is located within a couple of miles of your home and the University of Chicago. My school has a very unique history; over a decade ago it used to be known as a violent school filled with gang activity. But when the neighborhood became gentrified, King College Prep became a ‘selective enrollment’ school and over time weeded out the disenfranchised youth who were members of various gang organizations and replaced them with students who were academically successful.

Yet, despite the gentrification of the neighborhood, gangs are still very much prevalent in this community, but of course your house, as well as the University of Chicago (which is filled with police protection), is shielded from such violence.  However, urban black youth who are simply walking home back from school are not.

20 suburban children were killed in Newton, and this was a very unfortunate event. You decided to visit the parents of some of their slain children and meet their families.  Between 2008 to 2009, over 200 black youth had been shot with 40 of them not surviving. A couple of months ago while I was on the 75th bus, there was a woman crying hysterically. Her sad red eyes and swollen face formed by years of hopelessness, cried out “They shot down my last boy.”  The grief in her face left me heartbroken and so I asked her, “What happened?” She told me she had three boys and that all of them had been shot down in cold blood.

“One of my boys was shot down when he was 17, the second when he was 15, and the last when he was 19,” she replied. I then asked, “Why were they shot?” And her response to this question truly broke my heart in half: “I COULD never PROVIDE for them.” She started crying hysterically again and then stated “They started selling drugs. I couldn’t tell them no. They was [sic] getting food into their stomachs.”

Why I blog.Then, a man with a sinister, crazed, heartless look walked onto the bus with a gun. I quickly got down and everybody collided into each other in a mad frenzy trying to duck down. Everyone got down except for the woman I was talking to. The man with the gun simply said “scary ass bitches,” and walked off, thankfully without shooting anyone. I asked her why she didn’t get down and her response was,” I don’t care ‘bout life no more. My boys was all I had.”

President Obama, why do you not visit the parents of slain children in Chicago? Do you have any idea of what such an event would mean to the black community? Why has the Newton massacre has become so grieved over? And why is it that the innumerable casualties of  Chicago Gang’s wars shown unworthy  of the same attention and remorse? Indeed, as I saw this headline on yahoo news, this girls death was met with racist and disgusting comments by white citizens of this nation.

“Some blacks have yet to evolve into human beings…. .”

“Hmph – wonder if her shooter will end up looking like what Obummer’s son would look like if he had one. :-/” (http://news.yahoo.com/photos/chicago-high-school-sophomore-hadiya-pendleton-shot-killed-photo-120200826.html)

Despite, what conservatives claim, the origins of this violence and poverty in the black community stem mainly from one source: capitalism. African-Americans were brutally worked for no pay at all. This brutal enslavement of African people gave America the wealth it has today. After slavery, African-Americans endured Jim Crow laws that significantly halted any aspirations they had for socio-economic equality.

In the post-Jim Crow era, black people would be exploited and subjugated in new more sly ways. Blacks still face discrimination in every area of American society from housing, credit, health-care, education and employment opportunities.

President Obama, what will your administration do to confront the ongoing oppression of black people which in turn causes gun violence and premature deaths of black youth?

1) http://www.suntimes.com/17889243-418/one-week-after-attending-inaugural-south-side-teen-shot-dead-in-neighborhood-park.html

2) http://uptownmagazine.com/2012/11/president-obamas-victory-speech-video-transcript/4/, President Obama’s Victory Speech [VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT]

 3)http://www.plp.org/challenge/2009/11/13/derrion-albert-is-not-racist-capitalisms-first-or-last-victi.html
4) The assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffrey Haas.
Advertisements

Comments

  1. Amen. A must read. Lets hope this reaches Obama.

  2. Kadijah Bush says:

    Wow ! That really just touched my heart . I was born in chicago but my mother moved all 7 of her kids to iowa so this wouldnt happen. Sometimes im scared to visit my dad in chicago because u never know what could happen. I really hope this changes chicago for the better

    • Sounds like my situation…i moved my family to iowa to escape the violence , gangs, drugs, and nonsense…i been gone 4 years and wanted to come back but wow now im not sure if its best !!!!!!!!!

  3. Serious work! Your commitment to the youth of Chicago is admirable. Keep writing and you will wake up the masses!

  4. Questions says:

    It’s not just on Obama or a government official to fix these issues. How many of you brothers are actively mentoring children in the community? What are YOU doing personally to give young brothers encouragement to do better and choose education instead of the street life?

    • There were/are actually a lot of people actively working with children/youth in their community and offering positive alternatives to aspire to in Chicago. Jobs For Youth, The Happiness Club, About Face, Gender Just (Though it’s changed a bit due to lack of funding and other issues), H.Y.P.E “HIV/Aids Youth Prevention Education” (No longer around due to lack of funding), and the list goes on. Notice I said were/are:( All of these organizations suffer/suffered from lack of funding. It’s sad that funds are available for extra policing in neighborhoods, which is a problem within itself, but we can’t get funding for organizations that promote and fight for positive turnouts in the communities they serve and are a part of? There are also many individuals such as myself who have dedicated our lives to our communities. Unfortunately, the media rather show us in acts of violence than show more of the positive things we contribute to ourselves and our communities. “Black man robs and stabs another black man to death in broad daylight” is a lot more intriguing to society than a “Black high school students fight for an after school support group for and by youth.” There’s already a popular image of the black community that a lot of media promote and it sells. That’s with most communities though. Once popular images are painted of communities (Black, LGBT, Mexican, Asian, etc.) media clings to those images and it impacts how we are treated in the real world. The one thing this article hints at (when mentioning how much security Obama has) that I disagree with is increasing the police in our communities. I know from personal experience and from the experiences of many others that the biggest thugs and threats to us can be and often are the same people that are paid to protect us. We have issues that require more than increasing “security”. Sort of a side note: When you don’t where your next meal is coming from, are dealing with different variations of trauma, etc. it can be hard to think about education. I personally think CPS schools should work with programs like Jobs For Youth and The Happiness Club. Sometimes people get lost and don’t know what other options are available to them. There are many issues that impact violence in our communities that are neglected when it comes to black folks. Poverty/employment/mental and physical disabilities/challenges, depression, etc. We need more funding for things such as health centers, programs that offer positive choices such as job readiness, performance, and support groups. As the article stated, capitalism is REAL and it has deprived the south and west side of Chicago from many ESSENTIAL resources.

      • Innocence sees no color says:

        In reply to you Joshua, did you know that if you get enough signatures on petitions and gather enough people show up in numbers at your community meetings, your mayors office, your congressmen’s office, and your lobbyist, get the media to show up at these get together’s, and make your voices heard. Your lobbyist is the one responsible to get the funds needed. If you have a weak lobbyist then they get less money, Your governor also plays a strong hand in disbursement of funds. My point being most of these people HOPE and PRAY the community DOESN’T know they can do this and WIN the much needed funds to keep those organizations up and running. Why? because they want to be re-elected they want the votes, and move up in politics. If they reject your plees and requests to much they risk your votes and they don’t want bad publicity, scandals. Solicit your Famous, reach out to the Big Businesses for private donations. Businesses are willing to do sponsorship type deals, like the youth clubs for sports events and activities, field trips, etc… it’s good PR for those Companies. It’s hard yes but can make a difference. When others see this type of dedication and willingness it can’t go unnoticed and unanswered. God bless

  5. this brought tears to my eyes. I live hear in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Your story needs to be heard around the world! Please don’t give up the fight for justice. Your voice along with other voices such as mine should join forces and make sure OBAMA gets this !

  6. Very profound! I can’t even sum up in words other than to say thank you for while you do not realize just how well writen this letter was and that you can make a difference! I pray this letter reaches the prez… I will share this on my FB page and ask others to do the same! May you be covered by the blood of Christ and let no weapon form against you for you are a child of God.

  7. I would love to talk to you. There’s a group of mothers who are organizing a Peace Demonstration and I think you might be interested. Many of these mothers are from the Southside of Chicago.

  8. Klyn Jones says:

    thanks Hakeem you’re the best seriously.

  9. Abdul hammed says:

    This is really sad I cant help it,my eyes are full of water and I hope Obama gets to read this ,so unfortunate how blacks are being maltreated,no massacred!

  10. Video from Hadiya’s former teachers

  11. 29 year old Southside Chicagoan says:

    As admirable and touhing as this letter may appear, it is completely far fetched from reality! Newtown, CT is not known for violence and gangs. The deaths of elementary school children in a quiet town definitely deserved the exposure it received! Chicago, IL which is city built on corruption, gangs, mafias and more evils than we know of; has always been a city acknowledged for its violence and too often on the top murder cities list. Hadiya Pendleton’s murder brought me to tears! It definitely touched many of us Chicagoans, but comparing deaths and which ones should receive direct visits from the President , in my opinion, is UNCALLED FOR!! Newtown was a genocide; individual deaths are homicides! If that’s the case, President Obama would never be in Washington DC because he would be running all across the United States to address mourning families! We can’t simply look at one man (Obama) to reach out! He is he leader of the free world, but we have a Mayor, Alderman, Governor, Senators, House Representatives, and so many other government officials that need to also do their part! Why weren’t they mentioned as well?! Also, the violence of the US is not solely the responsibility of our government! You stated you spoke with a mother who allowed her sons to deal drugs!! Hence, I wrote “allowed!” I was raised on the Southside around 79th and Jeffery! My parents worked their behinds off putting me and my siblings through school! Plus my parents are foreigners; so the opportunities that Americans are born with, my parents “grabbed the bull by the horns,” both graduated college and worked to provide for us! I may have done the typical dumb things as a child and teen; but my parents definitely didn’t “allow” me to act a fool, hang in the streets or get involved in hangs and drugs! I had an ounce of pity for the woman you encountered on 75th! But honestly she could have done more for her children than “allow” them to be sucked into that life! Chicago is now a complete terror zone where no neighborhood is exempt from the violence. I saw a King student interviewed and stating how of King’s doors were open as a safe haven for students after school, that young Ms Pendleton may still be alive. Why didn’t your letter address CPS officials?! Are they not slightly responsible for her demise?! With that being said, I end this post simply stating: Please stop looking at solely President Obama for solutions and answers! There are so many people we need to address especially in Chicago!! Some of those people we need to address are our own fellow black friends, families, and communities!!

    RIP Hadiya Pendleton!! May your infectious smile light of the heavens and may you soar high amongst angels!!

    • Bethany Johnson says:

      You’re basically saying that the kids in Chicago aren’t worth as much as the kids in Newton. You can’t just write people off because it’s more difficult. That’s when you roll your sleeves up and get to work. You are a bad person.

      • 29 year old Southside Chicagoan says:

        Wrong, Bethany! I’m saying we live in a horrible city where things happen everyday!! Newtown was a complete shock to the nation and its residents! Unfortunately, murders are not uncommon in Chicago nor are the broadcasts of them on the news and in newspapers! That’s a major problem but we can’t expect Obama to fly in for every death!

      • 29 year old Southside Chicagoan says:

        Also Bethany what I wrote doesn’t make me a bad person! What you comprehend is not my problem, it’s yours!!

    • LWG on the Southside says:

      You’re missing the point, South side. For me, the entire frenzy around Newtown and the resulting gun violence debate is sad. Why? People arguing about gun violence in the context of the Newtown disaster aren’t really arguing about gun violence- they’re arguing about how to best prevent affluent white people from shooting other affluent white people. Innocent people die in Chicago every day and it has nothing to do with assault weapons or how easy it is to get those guns- it has everything to do with gangs. Does anyone really think incidents like Newtown (although tragic) account for the majority, or even a significant part at all, of gun violence in America? And I can guarantee implementing “stricter laws” will not solve the gun violence issue. It might help with the problem of affluent white people shooting other affluent white people, though, sure. Gangs do not obtain their weapons by legal means, so good luck trying to enact laws to keep guns out of their hands. If we want to significantly reduce gun violence, we need to reduce gang violence. But reducing gang violence isn’t as simple as signing a piece of paper whilst surrounded by smiling little kids as photographers snap pictures. The Newtown incident was tragic- but what I honestly think is more tragic is how things like this happen every day to innocent kids on the south side of Chicago (and in other places around the country) and it’s not until an affluent suburban school filled with white kids gets shot up that NOW it’s a tragedy. And South side, if you’re interested in the “number” of people getting killed, as you seem to imply that Newtown deserves special attention because many children were murdered at once- let’s considered the total number of innocent children gunned down in a decade in Chicago versus the total number of innocent children gunned down in Newtown in a decade. This young lady brings attention to an important issue- this type of tragedy has been occurring in the United States every day for years, but because the victims tend to be poor or nonwhite or (heaven forbid!) both, then no one takes notice.

      And to some other poster, this isn’t about people making “bad decisions.” If the girl who got shot had been in a gang or been affiliated with gang members, then yes, everyone could come in on their high horse and say it was her own fault. But she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, just like the Newtown children. What could she have done differently? It’s not her choice where her parents live or likely, even where she goes to school. That is decided by her parents and, often, the government. What are kids who aren’t affiliated with gangs but live in violent areas supposed to do? Run away? Beg their parents to leave? Really, what is your brilliant solution to these children’s problem? Because right now, there are kids who are scared to leave their homes to go to school or to go outside at all. And they didn’t do a damn thing wrong.

      And if it matters, I’m white and I’m one of the lucky few to live in that “Hyde Park bubble” that is generally protected from what kids younger than me have to face on a daily basis. But I didn’t always live here, and I know what it’s like to be a kid and feel trapped in a situation you can’t possibly control. I got out of that trap because I dedicated everything I had to school and I got into one of the best universities in the nation. But if these kids can’t even go to school without fearing for their lives, then how are they supposed to escape from their trap?

      It’s just a pity that we, as a nation, can’t have as serious a conversation about gang violence as we can about whether or not to limit the sales of assault weapons. I mean… really?

      • Totally agree. I don’t have time to response to each critically individually but I wholeheartedly agree with this.

      • 29 year old Southside Chicagoan says:

        Interesting how you twisted my words! I never mentioned race! The color of your skin is irrelevant! I never mentioned gangs other than the fact that Chicago is know for it! Apprarently your reading comprehension needs some fine tuning!! The point of my post was Obama can’t fly into Chicago for every homicide; PERIOD!! I’m done with this discussion! I said it was a tradegy! And apparently you’re interpreting my post the very wrong way! Enjoy the remainder of your 2013!! Be safe!

      • 29 year old Southside Chicagoan says:

        Actually this is my final post, how many children have died on the streets of Chicago?! Many, right!! Many of them have been headline stories and reported across the US!! Right?! Every death brings the same attention to this city and the same “we need change!” Has there been any change?! NO!! Will anything change in Chicago?! We can only hope and pray but let’s be realistic!! All we can do is live in this city or leave this city! The Pendleton family has already moved out of Chicago! Prior to their daughter’s death they were just about to move and then some knucklehead with no consideration for human condition took an angel’s life! So think how the parents feel?! They are probably wishing they moved faster! I’m never pointed blame! I don’t even point blame at the Pendletons! But stop with the mention of race! Death has never had a color! Now I’m done!

      • LWG on the Southside says:

        I won’t ‘stop with the mention of race.’ There are disparities among racial and socioeconomic groups everywhere- healthcare, life expectancies, and mortality rates from violence, just to name a few. There is often no biological reason for these disparities to persist, particularly among racial groups of the same socioeconomic status. So no, I will not pretend as if these disparities do not exist- as many people seem comfortable doing, since talking about racial and socioeconomic inequity is not a ‘comfortable’ topic for many. Recognizing and discussing racial and socioeconomic inequality is the first step towards doing something about it.

        As a side note, no, many of the children gunned down in the streets of Chicago do not make headlines. Compare the public records of violent deaths of children in Chicago from the last decade to those deaths that actually made the newspaper. Some are lucky to even make the local newspaper, much less national headlines. The ones who cause a greater “splash” tend to meet one of two requirements: 1) they are affluent or come from affluent families 2) they are white. But sure, racial and socioeconomic disparities don’t exist, we shouldn’t talk about them, and it’s actually probably best if we just stuck our heads in the sand and pretended as if everything was just peachy.

        And I’m hardly the only one who has noticed this disturbing trend. See this for some reading if you still want to insist race and socioeconomic status has nothing to do with anything:
        http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/26/opinion/breland-gergi-gun-victims

        And what a hideous attitude to say people are constantly saying there needs to be change, but there never is. Perhaps you are content to sit back and let terrible injustices continue, because “nothing will ever change” but that’s your choice. Thank goodness people like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, and countless other did not share your bleak world view- because they were not willing to accept things the way they were, they fought for change. And change did occur. Certainly it is not easy to change the status quo and change is often painstakingly slow- but as long as there are people who are willing to fight for change, then it will happen.

        And I wasn’t twisting your words around. I was commenting on many different aspects of the issue, from your post, to other posters, as well as to the general issue, which I alluded to in my post. My very simple response to your post is: you are missing the point (as I believe I mentioned). Sure, Obama can’t come visit every family who has a child die due to violence. That’s rather self-evident. But that is not the point.

        And thank you for your concern, but my reading comprehension is quite good. I do find it interesting you feel the need to lash out people on the internet for expressing an opinion that differs from your own, however.

  12. How did she know the people leaving the racist comments were white? I mostly agree with what she says. but there is a huge difference in 20 innocent school children geting shot down and someone who makes a conscious choice to be in a gang or associate with gang members. I do not mean to sound callous. But even though gang members can be driven to choose that lifestyle, there is still a choice involved. A conscious decision is made to take the risk. Like it or not every choice, even the small ones, can have a drastic effect. That is why Obama gave so much attention to Newtown rather than the gang activity in his hometown.

  13. While the death of innocent children anywhere in this world is a tragedy and I agree the under and inaccurate reporting of these tragedy’s on our children of any color rich and/or white is despicable there needs to be accountability and some responsibility when reporting. HOWEVER ratings and Sensationalism seem to take precedence over REAL HUMAN TRAGEDY WITHOUT COLOR or INCOME status. As a mother who has lost a child, he served this country and he was of mixed race. He wasn’t killed from gunfire over seas, nor here in the US. He was killed because he stopped to render assistance to another motorist and both kids were killed. This WORLD is becoming a WAR ZONE not just Chicago. The bible talks ALL about it. The 7 strongest Nations and their Governments will DESTROY this WORLD because of THEIR GREED, SELFISHNESS, SELF CENTEREDNESS.
    I’m so tired of hearing about what happened 400, 600, 800 years ago. It has NOTHING to do with today. Jews enslaved their own back then, Chinese did the same, so did the Spanish. I agree this country was built off the backs off ALL enslaved not just the Africans. The Chinese were brought here to build this country and they unified and later founded San Francisco and China Town in NYC they were slaves to the white man. If WE THE PEOPLE could come together like the Mexicans WE THE PEOPLE could get results. The Mexicans come here and work jobs that Americans REFUSE to do. They pool their money together to better ALL the family(s) They are unified and Americans are angered by this, WHY? They hunt for work daily if they don’t have a steady job. The problem is WE DON’T and WON’T do that, we seem to expect others to do for us what we should be doing for ourselves.
    You want to lash out at reporters for ill informed and misreporting news, and the Government for more freebies. What about YOUR PART (the people).
    I come from the streets of the SOUTH BRONX in NYC of the 1980’s era. Seeing a seemingly (white girl) at the age of 17 in the projects and living in abandoned buildings washing at a fire hydrant going days without food I guess I should be crying saying it’s my fore fathers fault for my POOR DECISION making. I guess I should be blaming my government for not giving me more freebies in life. I guess I should be holding others responsible for me NOT GOING TO SCHOOL where I am afforded an education to better myself and maybe HELP MY FAMILY and COMMUNITY where I might make a difference.
    There has to come a time when WE STOP the BLAME game and step up, take responsibility for our own actions. Kids get into gangs for infinite reasons mostly because there’s NO positive influence in their lives, no fathers, parents are addicts, or working 2-3 jobs so NO supervision, or structure, nothing to keep them active in productive things.
    To many now Famous people came from deplorable living conditions (Cabrini-Green Projects) the worst in Chicago for one, but they went on to better themselves and the community. Expecting the Government to continue passing out handouts, to overburden the system even more is insane thinking. If it hasn’t been working thus far it would stand to reason that COMMUNITIES (the people) NEED TO UNIFY and PULL THEIR RESOURCES together devise plans and submit to the community boards, and businesses, and so on for their support and financial assistance. To just assume that the Government has a responsibility to HOUSE,FEED, CLOTH, EDUCATE and any other freebies one can think of for ABLE BODIED people is just insane, lazy, and pathetic. You said it yourself, THIS COUNTRY WAS BUILT FROM HARD WORK and HARD WORK is what it takes.
    I am now a recovering alcoholic, addict who BLAMES NO ONE for MY POOR CHOICES and BAD DECISIONS in my life. I HAVE BEEN HOMELESS 3 times in my life both without any children and with children. Being of mixed race as well as my sons we have lived a hard life, (more so me) and YET 3 sons have went into the military, one is a CNA and the other is moving up to own his own business with the company he currently works for a s a store manager. All my sons are Black men, didn’t grow up in the suburbs, didn’t have a golden spoon in their mouths either. My point being, one has to learn how to fend for themselves in a positive way, take responsibility for their actions and decisions they make. If you don’t like where you are in life change it. GET A JOB, CREATE A JOB, GO BACK TO SCHOOL, GO TO VOCATIONAL REHAB for training, CONTACT COMPANIES for APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS, go to your LOCAL WORKFORCE ASK QUESTIONS, HUMAN RESOURCES in COMPANIES, HOSPITALS… the list is endless. But it’s EASIER to collect a check every month that they don’t have to earn, easier to stand on a corner and sell drugs, easier to steal, rob, and cheat the system. People that REALLY ARE IN NEED are being denied help because of these very reasons. It pains me to say such things but truth is truth. We never know exactly every persons circumstances this is a fact. However it goes to reason that if they were able bodied people before they got on programs then they should be able to get back to work. I know many of people of different color who have made jobs for themselves. They took their own lawn mower, and rake, and began going around on foot pushing their mower going door to door offering to cut lawns for $10.-$20.00 and built up to now they have truck(s) with trailer(s) and employee(s) with an array of lawn equipment just within the past 2years. A lady that knows how to make Keish brought her idea to a local small restaurant and began selling them at the street fairs/festivals she became well known for those easily making a few thousand a month. Go to your local recycling plant and gather paint IT’S FREE for the asking and go door to door and offer your services CHEAP to start. You can get business by word of mouth fast, and your helping to make your neighborhood look better. Gather some of the kids from your community and start cleaning up your neighborhood, the parks, along the street, at the local corner stores, before long you can start up a neighborhood cleaning crew and get paid. So there is a few suggestions and ideas that take LITTLE to NO MONEY and produce a job and work.
    So please STOP with the I CAN’T DO ANYTHING FOR MYSELF EXCUSES and START BEING A PRODUCER IN LIFE not a TAKER… ACCOUNTABILITY STARTS AT HOME FIRST…

    • 29 year old Southside Chicagoan says:

      Well said! I completely agree with you!!

    • I agree as well….

    • To the misinformed woman, Karen Watson, who believes that our history as a people, both black and white has nothing to do with our present state or our future I am seriously confounded by your logic. The history of this country is one of white colonization and violence against bodies of color, which certainly has implications in everything from the political and economic status of people of color to the social and religious lives of communities of color. There’s a sequencing argument to be made here, that understanding the implications of slavery provides a backdrop for understanding other types of oppression and provides some explanation as to the present state of blacks in America.
      Your rhetoric, namely where you call out the author of this article as wanting to misplace blame and get more “freebies” from the government is offensive and shows a lack of comprehension of a history of oppression in America. First off you don’t know the author, I doubt you know his socio-economic background, upbringing or any relevant information to make such an assertion, so don’t. Secondly your assumption that everyone starts out at the same place is flawed, everyone is not equally able to go out and work. There isn’t equal access to job opportunities in this country, and frankly the government probably doesn’t do nearly enough in terms of providing welfare to low-income people of color and low-income whites. Please do you research, If you’re going to speak about your locality and assert that people on welfare on lazy, you should provide data, statistics that support your claim. The burden of proof is on you, and considering individual’s welfares files that contain the relevant information you need is not public record, I don’t know where you get the evidence for this claim.
      I come from the streets of Detroit where there are a lot of people who have experience such conditions as you mentioned, living in the “projects and living in abandoned buildings…going days without food”. It’s not to say that individual choice has not played a part, but to obscure a history of racist governance and deprioritizing of the most vulnerable communities (communities of color) would be a fault on your part. There comes a time when we have to realize that it’s not a blame game that black people and other people of color are playing, but rather an understanding that we were screwed from the get go. I have no idea why you made those choices to not go to school or make poor decisions but I do know that on the Eastside of Detroit which rivals the Southside of Chicago those choices cannot be reduced so easily. I know many a people who did not go to school because they couldn’t afford it, and that was in part due to the socio-economic status of their parents and their parents etc. Not even drawing on slavery but an history of government hiring discrimination and institutional racism extending to the workplace over generations certainly has implications to a family’s wealth. White families and white people were allowed to amass wealth, given good paying jobs and that wealth was able to carry through generations. They were able to put their kids through college, and become professionals. That was not something that was afforded to blacks for a long time. To put it simply black people running a race where whites already got a head start – it’s difficult, damn near impossible for them to win. This neoconservative idea that we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and just work hard enough and we can make it, is straight crap.
      I don’t know if your kid was in a gang, or you yourself but I am curious as to what makes you think you are qualified to articulate the main reasons for such participation in gangs. I am grateful that you have conceded that there are infinite reasons for why kids join gangs, but you’re forgetting that one of the reasons is that it’s the only option or perceived as the only option to support yourself, to feed yourself and put clothes on your back or the backs of your family. Tupac says in his poem Dear Mama, “I needed money of my own so I started slangin, I ain’t guilty cause, even though I sell rocks
      It feels good puttin money in your mailbox, I love payin rent when the rent’s due”

      I agree that lots of gang participation is probably in part contributed to absentee parents or negative role models but you can’t have it both ways. Which is it you want everyone in the household working or you want them to be watching the kids? I’m not saying it’s indicative of all black families, but this is a harsh reality many parents, especially single mother households have to make. It’s not right, but it is what it is. In the same poem Tupac acknowledges that his mother although she left him alone did the best she could caring for him, while working several jobs.
      I don’t understand your fascination with these rags to riches stories, they are isolated events. They are the exception not the rule; it’s the definition of “insane thinking”. I gather from your comment you never received welfare or government support of any kind, if you haven’t good for you but not everyone is so privileged. As I read through your comment more and more I realized it got progressively more racist and offensive. There are millions of people who work and still don’t make enough to support their families, welfare (WIC, food assistance, section 8, and other programs) are essential to families. This is especially true of families with veterans, like mine, where they worked serving one of the most honorable positions defending this nation for decades and still needed government assistance to survive. Your communities unify and pull resources theory assumes that “the people” all the people in the community have equal access to those resource which I’ve already you isn’t true. Community boards and businesses are broke or have no incentive to help “the people”; this is the case in Detroit and many other urban cores. You’ve provided no warrant as to why Southside Chicago businesses are unique in that regard so I’m sure that a lot of my analysis can be extrapolated to Southside Chicago. I’m not assuming, I’m 100% the government has a responsibility to ensure equity and equal access and to address the instances in which there isn’t equity and equal access, welfare is a tool used to address those inequities.
      I do not want to belittle your recovery, as it is truly commendable but I don’t think that being a recovering alcoholic is not an accurate comparison to institutional poverty. I think you’re right in pointing out how YOUR individual choices are not rooted in historical government choices or policies but I think you seriously fail in making an applicable comparison to black people considering my above analysis about slavery and other government sanctioned discrimination, especially in terms of work.
      I’m glad you were so apt as to be able to fend for yourself but please do not blame, shame or make assumptions about other people of color. I agree that we as a people should “learn how better to fend for ourselves in a positive way, take responsibility for their actions and decisions they make” but disagree that we should forget about the role in which the government has played in creating this culture of black impoverishment. In addition I think that welfare can be used as a tool for which we are more apt to do things like get a job or go to school.
      Being able bodied before welfare does not assume societal and economic change, there are a lot of places that don’t have jobs. Detroit is one in which even public service jobs like police and firefighters are being cut because the city is broke and dying. Companies have hiring freezes, and the only places hiring are minimum wage jobs where you can only work 30 hours a week, which certainly doesn’t feed your family. Your solution would probably be “go to where the jobs are, be more resourceful”, to that I would say how and with what money. Your ideals about mobility are alarming; just as you know examples I have counter examples. I know lots of black women who are great cooks who make plates and sell them, $5-10 a plate – they are still struggling, and selling plates didn’t eventually lead to a restaurant and then a chain of restaurants like you allude is possible in your theory of upward mobility. It leads to making an additional $80 a week. Which is barely worth it?
      So please stop with the JUST GET OVER IT, SLAVERY AND GOVERNMENT SANCTIONED OPPRESSION DOESN’T MATTER/WELFARE = YOU LAZY AND PATHETIC SPEEL and START BEING PART OF THE SOLUTION TO THIS POVERTY EPIDEMIC….ACCOUNTABILITY STARTS WITH ALL THOSE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE

  14. Innocence sees no color says:

    This is truly a tragedy. We seem to be loosing our children at a rapid rate. Innocent or not, with or not with affiliation of gang members, color shouldn’t matter nor should income status, where one lives or doesn’t. We are HUMAN BEINGS and that’s it. It’s unfortunate that the media will report stories that they slight the facts and truth, delete information that isn’t favorable to sensationalism and there ratings. Let’s face it a few kids of color purportedly from gang infested or affiliation can be just another kid bit the bullet type story. But an affluent group of children being gunned down is of wide per portion and can be sensationalized globally which means higher ratings and BIG BUCKS. It’s a shame that that’s how it’s become. I really don’t think if it had been a school of children in the inner cities worst school that it would’ve made front page of the middle section in your paper, what a shame… No where did I see in the reports on Newton Shooting any negative reporting being written about family members or any of the children’s misdoings in their lives. It seems our good deeds and accomplishments in life just get erased and the only thing one can find to purport is the negative and run on assumptions before investigating. Contempt prior to investigation…
    As a mother who’s lost a child thru no doing of his own, my heart goes out to the parents, family, and friends of Hadiya Pendleton. May she never be forgotten for ALL her good while on this earth. God bless

  15. Hadiya look to be a proud young lady who was going to be successful in life she’s such a pretty girl may God, keep her family in his protective circle of life this is a painful time to try an accept. its not fair to those who want an education, its not fair to those who will not complete there goals, its not fair to those who will never become adults, its not fair to parents who have loved and lost there children to gun violence or by any means.

  16. Ashley Pendleton says:

    My name is Ashley Pendleton, and Hadiyah Pendleton was my younger cousin. Our family has issued a statement for a $11,000 reward for information that can lead to the suspect/killer. If anyone knows anything please contact CPD so that our family can continue to remember her properly. thank you all for your support

  17. As a KCP ALUMNI my. heart goes out to this young girl’s family. May god bless her soul and guide her family through their loss and mourning. Working as violence prevention advocate for 3 yrs of my high school career at King College Prep, I know first hand how easy it is to past judgement, point fingers, and cause people to be ignorant, but you see this letter is only the first step. All those wanting to make comments about who is right or who is wrong, you may want to re-evaluate the message in this situation. We live in a unjust and unruly world where even our prisons are a corporation. As a group we should be uplifting this letter, printing it and sharing it with everyone we know. Let this be only the first of many voices that will be heard; push people to hear you. Hadiya was one of many children shot and killed in the streets of Chicago and this should become a movement for all of them. Remember people like Blair Underwood and Charinez Jefferson. WE ARE A PEOPLE LETS ACT AS ONE. Start with local police stations, other schools, letters to your alderman, mayor, any political figures. To the writer of this piece GREAT WORK!

  18. Victoria Crider ,Junior, KCP says:

    Hello. My name is Victoria Crider and I’m a junior at King College Prep. I didn’t really know Hydia but I’ve spoken to her maybe once or twice and know that she was a really nice sweet good person who didn’t deserve, (no one really deserves it) leaving this world early. I work with a south-side youth group called Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY) and we’re fighting against the University of Chicago for a level one adult trauma center for the south side. Tomorrow, Friday Feb. 1st we are having a vigil on the University of Chicago’s quads for those lost to gun violence and other traumatic injuries. Anyone willing to support us and this struggle are welcomed and we hope that you all can come. We know that the south side MUST be rid of senseless violence that keeps taking the lives of innocent YOUTH who are the future. If we take away the youth we take away the future. Please anyone able to come to this vigil tomorrow would be awesome and the support is much needed.

    Thank you all.

  19. Trey Green says:

    This is a good article, but it could use some proofreading.

  20. To the person who wrote this:

    You are a beautiful spirit. Please keep using your voice the way you are because your words are powerful. My heart breaks for the black community in America, specifically Chicago. I was a victim of armed robbery on the south side by 2 black men. My experience lasted a few hours and was terrifying. To think that that type of thing is commonplace, and that it could have gone so much worse than my own experience did, is so disheartening to me. And on top of that, capitalism and imperialism are having the same effect on Africa as a whole, not just Afro-America. The indifference and lack of empathy from white people is disgusting enough as it is, but when it becomes judgment, fear, and hatred it crosses lines that should never be crossed. We owe all of you so much. People here seem to think that the past is the past and we do not own our ancestors mistakes. But our fortunes and our opportunities were paid for in your people’s blood, sweat, and tears. You are a strong people. You have endured a lot and this is the natural place I would imagine your race would end up after so many years of being knocked down. If you had the strength to endure the harsh treatment our country has put you through, I have a lot of faith that some day your people will rise up above all this shit, especially with people who find their voice like you have. Much love to you and I really hope your people find peace. Just know that many white people can empathize even if we can never fully understand what it would be to be a black person in America. Ignore the racists, ignore the fear, ignore the media. Keep fighting for the truth. Again, much love to you and stay true to your voice.

  21. Darryl Allan Conner says:

    I consider Chicago home on many levels. 47th Street – Rosenwald (Michigan Gardens). My family grew up in Altgeld Gardens. The violence was prevelent in the 70’s. And 80’s and has increased steadily. For my family that remains in Chicago, violence is a consistent topic of conversation. I commend you on your courage and heart felt plea for change. So when will the violence cease? When courageous young people such as yourself demand change. Thank you for participating in the process of change.

  22. alvin carter-bey says:

    great letter to the president of the united states of america. he probably receives hundreds of these per week. it was too bad of the young person violiently murdered. hundreds per year in chicago that happens. when are we as black people going to turn in those who we know are the criminals. when are we as parents going to take responsiblities of those who shoot the guns or commit the crimes. it takes us to look into the mirror and say enough is enough. parents should be responsible for the crime of their child: punishment (jail-fine, etc). it is difficult to prevent crime from the outside. yet, when U know the method of prevention, take a stand. schools, radio stations all should be included in the prevention of these awful acts of violence.lets not continue to argue or cry: deeds not words.

  23. To the misinformed woman, Karen Watson, who believes that our history as a people, both black and white has nothing to do with our present state or our future I am seriously confounded by your logic. The history of this country is one of white colonization and violence against bodies of color, which certainly has implications in everything from the political and economic status of people of color to the social and religious lives of communities of color. There’s a sequencing argument to be made here, that understanding the implications of slavery provides a backdrop for understanding other types of oppression and provides some explanation as to the present state of blacks in America.
    Your rhetoric, namely where you call out the author of this article as wanting to misplace blame and get more “freebies” from the government is offensive and shows a lack of comprehension of a history of oppression in America. First off you don’t know the author, I doubt you know his socio-economic background, upbringing or any relevant information to make such an assertion, so don’t. Secondly your assumption that everyone starts out at the same place is flawed, everyone is not equally able to go out and work. There isn’t equal access to job opportunities in this country, and frankly the government probably doesn’t do nearly enough in terms of providing welfare to low-income people of color and low-income whites. Please do you research, If you’re going to speak about your locality and assert that people on welfare on lazy, you should provide data, statistics that support your claim. The burden of proof is on you, and considering individual’s welfares files that contain the relevant information you need is not public record, I don’t know where you get the evidence for this claim.
    I come from the streets of Detroit where there are a lot of people who have experience such conditions as you mentioned, living in the “projects and living in abandoned buildings…going days without food”. It’s not to say that individual choice has not played a part, but to obscure a history of racist governance and deprioritizing of the most vulnerable communities (communities of color) would be a fault on your part. There comes a time when we have to realize that it’s not a blame game that black people and other people of color are playing, but rather an understanding that we were screwed from the get go. I have no idea why you made those choices to not go to school or make poor decisions but I do know that on the Eastside of Detroit which rivals the Southside of Chicago those choices cannot be reduced so easily. I know many a people who did not go to school because they couldn’t afford it, and that was in part due to the socio-economic status of their parents and their parents etc. Not even drawing on slavery but an history of government hiring discrimination and institutional racism extending to the workplace over generations certainly has implications to a family’s wealth. White families and white people were allowed to amass wealth, given good paying jobs and that wealth was able to carry through generations. They were able to put their kids through college, and become professionals. That was not something that was afforded to blacks for a long time. To put it simply black people running a race where whites already got a head start – it’s difficult, damn near impossible for them to win. This neoconservative idea that we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and just work hard enough and we can make it, is straight crap.
    I don’t know if your kid was in a gang, or you yourself but I am curious as to what makes you think you are qualified to articulate the main reasons for such participation in gangs. I am grateful that you have conceded that there are infinite reasons for why kids join gangs, but you’re forgetting that one of the reasons is that it’s the only option or perceived as the only option to support yourself, to feed yourself and put clothes on your back or the backs of your family. Tupac says in his poem Dear Mama, “I needed money of my own so I started slangin, I ain’t guilty cause, even though I sell rocks
    It feels good puttin money in your mailbox, I love payin rent when the rent’s due”

    I agree that lots of gang participation is probably in part contributed to absentee parents or negative role models but you can’t have it both ways. Which is it you want everyone in the household working or you want them to be watching the kids? I’m not saying it’s indicative of all black families, but this is a harsh reality many parents, especially single mother households have to make. It’s not right, but it is what it is. In the same poem Tupac acknowledges that his mother although she left him alone did the best she could caring for him, while working several jobs.
    I don’t understand your fascination with these rags to riches stories, they are isolated events. They are the exception not the rule; it’s the definition of “insane thinking”. I gather from your comment you never received welfare or government support of any kind, if you haven’t good for you but not everyone is so privileged. As I read through your comment more and more I realized it got progressively more racist and offensive. There are millions of people who work and still don’t make enough to support their families, welfare (WIC, food assistance, section 8, and other programs) are essential to families. This is especially true of families with veterans, like mine, where they worked serving one of the most honorable positions defending this nation for decades and still needed government assistance to survive. Your communities unify and pull resources theory assumes that “the people” all the people in the community have equal access to those resource which I’ve already you isn’t true. Community boards and businesses are broke or have no incentive to help “the people”; this is the case in Detroit and many other urban cores. You’ve provided no warrant as to why Southside Chicago businesses are unique in that regard so I’m sure that a lot of my analysis can be extrapolated to Southside Chicago. I’m not assuming, I’m 100% the government has a responsibility to ensure equity and equal access and to address the instances in which there isn’t equity and equal access, welfare is a tool used to address those inequities.
    I do not want to belittle your recovery, as it is truly commendable but I don’t think that being a recovering alcoholic is not an accurate comparison to institutional poverty. I think you’re right in pointing out how YOUR individual choices are not rooted in historical government choices or policies but I think you seriously fail in making an applicable comparison to black people considering my above analysis about slavery and other government sanctioned discrimination, especially in terms of work.
    I’m glad you were so apt as to be able to fend for yourself but please do not blame, shame or make assumptions about other people of color. I agree that we as a people should “learn how better to fend for ourselves in a positive way, take responsibility for their actions and decisions they make” but disagree that we should forget about the role in which the government has played in creating this culture of black impoverishment. In addition I think that welfare can be used as a tool for which we are more apt to do things like get a job or go to school.
    Being able bodied before welfare does not assume societal and economic change, there are a lot of places that don’t have jobs. Detroit is one in which even public service jobs like police and firefighters are being cut because the city is broke and dying. Companies have hiring freezes, and the only places hiring are minimum wage jobs where you can only work 30 hours a week, which certainly doesn’t feed your family. Your solution would probably be “go to where the jobs are, be more resourceful”, to that I would say how and with what money. Your ideals about mobility are alarming; just as you know examples I have counter examples. I know lots of black women who are great cooks who make plates and sell them, $5-10 a plate – they are still struggling, and selling plates didn’t eventually lead to a restaurant and then a chain of restaurants like you allude is possible in your theory of upward mobility. It leads to making an additional $80 a week. Which is barely worth it?
    So please stop with the JUST GET OVER IT, SLAVERY AND GOVERNMENT SANCTIONED OPPRESSION DOESN’T MATTER/WELFARE = YOU LAZY AND PATHETIC SPEEL and START BEING PART OF THE SOLUTION TO THIS POVERTY EPIDEMIC….ACCOUNTABILITY STARTS WITH ALL THOSE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE

  24. Eryelle Barrow says:

    – this article is so true , hopefully Obama will get a chance to read it because Chicago needs serious help & he can help to start the change I mean he basically is the leader ! We need help so that people can understand that they need to put the guns down and stop the violence !

  25. Yes im really at a lost of words with this essay, it couldnt have been said any better. This is not about being harsh, this is something that needs to be said, thats gotta be understood because Hadiya’s family is not the only family at a grieving point right now, a lot of families have had to bury their children starting in 2005, and still havent gotten an explanationas to who or what happened.

  26. Dis is really sm deep tru shit n its very expiring i hate dat i live on the south side

Trackbacks

  1. […] Pendleton, a 15-year old student from Chicago, was shot to death as she was standing with fellow students under a canopy, waiting for the rain to stop. Presumably, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: