Back of the Yards | Column | Politics | Violence

Speed Bumps on the Road to Progress

Alderman’s new plan to reduce crime in Back of the Yards misses the bigger picture

NaomiEzquivel_NatalieGonzálezAccording to recent reporting by DNAInfo, 15th Ward Alderman Raymond Lopez has proposed using around $400,000 from the ward’s infrastructure budget to install traffic circles and speed bumps in Back of the Yards (particularly in the area around Davis Square Park) in an effort to combat crime. The idea, according to Lopez, is that putting speed bumps and traffic circles on intersections around major parks will “restrict the amount of traffic coming into the [park] area,” “a definite deterrent to those gang members accustomed to driving in, shooting and speeding out.”

Music | Violence

Rap Becomes the Remedy

The Music Vs. Gun Violence campaign urges Chicagoans to think twice before picking up a gun

Baci Weiler

“Music, particularly the rap genre, is an effective method in instigating change because its message can serve as a vehicle to motivate and inspire conversation” Anthony “The Twilite Tone” Khan

Police | Reporting | Violence

If It Bleeds It Leads

Chicago has seen 146 murders so far this year. What would it mean to cover them responsibly?

Zelda Galewsky & Ellie Mejia

Impoverished neighborhoods receive impoverished coverage, cultivating an awareness not of suffering but of danger. To cover only a neighborhood’s crime is to say, subtly but repeatedly, that bad things happen to bad people.

Stage & Screen | Violence

Vice Lords Past

Lord Thing at Black Cinema House

The only existing tape of the 1970 documentary Lord Thing was forgotten for decades until a single damaged VHS was recovered and restored by the Chicago Film Archives, only to be shown at select screenings across Chicago, including the Black Cinema House viewing I attended. Once the curtain rises, however, the inescapable magic of this gem of a film is finally revealed, and one is immediately sucked into the world of the 1960s West Side. A must-watch for any Chicago history aficionado, Lord Thing depicts a part of this city’s turbulent past that is not often told but remains relevant in its content as well as its grounded style. Continue reading

Housing | Police | Violence

Kicking the Pigeon

Patricia Evans

The world that journalist and activist Jamie Kalven depicted nearly a decade ago in the monumental series on police abuse “Kicking the Pigeon” has largely disappeared. The housing projects at Stateway Gardens, where a clique of Chicago Police Department officers known to many residents as the “skullcap gang” sexually assaulted and tormented Diane Bond, the central figure of the series, along with others, were torn down in 2007. But, as documented through the work of activists and organizations featured throughout this issue, the kinds of concerns about police accountability raised by Kalven’s journalism remain highly relevant. Continue reading