Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Color Cares"... Cornerstone Community Outreach

In a national project  partnering Benjamin Moore with the  United States Conference of Mayors  will be painting 51 shelters across the States leading up to Thanksgiving.  Uptown's Cornerstone Outreach is the latest to receive this makeover.
"Cornerstone Community Outreach (CCO), a non-profit organization, was created in 1989 to raise the quality of life for low-income residents of the United States and the rest of the world through social, educational and economic development programs that include: development & preservation of decent & affordable housing for the poor, job training & creation, educational & social programs, and feeding & sheltering the homeless."

“I am thankful for every volunteer that comes to us,” said Sandy  Ramsey  CCO's Executive Director

Friday, October 14, 2011

David Rovics Anit- G8/NATO Organizing Benefit Show @ St. Augustine College

There will be a benefit concert to support organizing against the  Chicago G8 and NATO Summits on October 29th at St. Augustine College. David Rovics will be the artist for this show. A snip from David's website bio says
"David lives with his family in Portland, Oregon and tours regularly on four continents, playing for audiences large and small at cafes, pubs, universities, churches, union halls and protest rallies.  He will make you laugh, he will make you cry, he will make the revolution irresistible."

The G8 is an unofficial forum of the heads of the leading industrialized democracies who meet to deal with the major economic and political issues facing member countries and the international community. (Reuters)FACTBOX: The Group of Eight: what is it?

Summits like the G8 are known to draw protesters and the G8/NATO summits this May in Chicago are expected  to attract thousands. 

 Chicago Independent Media Center News Wire
David Rovics
7 PM, Saturday, October 29
St. Augustine College

In Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood
1345 W. Argyle Street

On-line advance tickets are $25 thru October 27 – first come, first served.
Please consider ordering $50 “solidarity price” tickets to really help oppose the G8 and NATO!
If available, tickets at the door will be $30.
Click here to order your tickets now.

Monday, October 10, 2011

CHA's Kenmore Apartments Recieve LEED Platinum

An eight-story, 100-unit senior residential property after a green rehabilitation and modernization received the top green certification, LEED Platinum.  LEED stands for  Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is an international recognized green building certification. 

The Kenmore has been renovated with many  "green" features; from a green roof, rain gardens, water conserving plumping fixtures,  and the use of recycled materials.

Eligibility Requirements
You must be at least 60 years-old to apply for housing at this property, and 62 to move in. If you are the head of household and meet these requirements, apply online.
Additionally, if you are 55 and older and require a unit with accessible features (wheelchair access, hand rails, flashing strobe lights), then you are eligible to apply online.  

Property Amenities
  • Community room fully equipped with Audio/Visual equipment
  • Laundry facilities on every other floor
  • Cable-ready units
  • Open floor plans with accessibility features
  • Two outdoor courtyards with seating
  • Controlled access to building
  • Easy access to medical services
  • Professional property management
  • Front door attendant
  • On-site Fitness Room to promote health/wellness
  • Smoke-free building
  • Sustainable features throughout property, including green roof
from Chicago Housing Authority

Find application information here

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Carbon Sabbath

After graduating from Yale Divinity School in May of this year Scott Claassen set off on a journey across the United States on a bicycle.  This is a part of his plan to minimize his carbon emissions for one year and initiate dialogue about the relationship between neighbor love (agape/caritas) and ecology. He will visit churches around the country and share thoughts with the people he meets.

Scott will be sharing  right here in Uptown.

Thursday 13th
Peoples Church
7:00 - 8:30 PM
941 W Lawrence
Totally free, everyone welcome.

You can read more about Scott and follow his progress at http://carbonsabbath.org/

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Around Uptown

Artist Fred Burkhart is known for capturing varied subjects through his many years from beatniks, hippies, punks, musicians, gay pride, the leather and bondage scene, the KKK, homeless to his daughter Trinity.  He is a photographer, painting, drawer, spoken word poet, story teller, father and grandfather and much more.

Now residing in Uptown, we are fortunate to have his talent capture this unique neighborhood.

Check out his wealth of art at his website

Friday, September 23, 2011

4 Peace and Unity

Today the spirit of Uptown was raised through a well attended march for peace and unity led by the Uplift Marching Band.  Though it was expressed that this march was not going to end violence but was another step and bring the people together towards peace. The march was sponsored by: RIMS, Kuumba Lynx, JUICE, Unity Base, Cease Fire/ONE, Northside Action for Justice, Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce, local residents and others.

The march began at the corner of Sunnyside and Racine and wound through the area making stops at the corners of Lawrence & Sheridan, Wilson & Sheridan, Clarendon & Sunnyside, and ending at Uplift High School.

 There were  empowering speakers at each stop, from the strong words of  prayer, the heavy words of a mother, and words that conveyed the power of a changed life from criminality to an inspired leader in the example of Malcolm X.  The words the received the most response was the words from a song "Self destruction...we are heading for self destruction"

Lets turn back from self destruction and "unite and fight for what's right, Not negative 'cause the way we live is positive"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Fighting gangs or aiding gentrification?" -Chicago Reader

In today's issue of the Chicago Reader Mick Dumke and Kevin Warwick's cover page article "Criminal Courts?"  they report on the recent removal of basketball hoops from Chicago parks.  One example of this happening was right here in Uptown at Broncho Billy Playlot on Magnolia near Montrose.

Our new Alderman, James Cappleman wrote in  his ward news letter on June 17th, "On advice from the police, in agreement with the Parks Department, the basketball hoops at the Broncho Billy Park located at 4437 N. Magnolia Ave. have been removed."  

There is some controversy around the removal of the hoops with no input from the community or residents  and according to the Reader article it is unclear where the advice came from within the police department

"Lieutenant Stasch, leader of the district's tactical operations unit, said there weren't many problems at Broncho Billy Playlot: ""The calls we get about that park are very minimal." Stasch said he understood some neighbors had been concerned about older kids hanging out there, but "personally, I'm in favor of giving young people something to do."

Alderman Cappleman who is most fond of using the term "evidenced based best practices" had this to say about the hoops, "If you can show me research showing a benefit from basketball in an unsupervised setting where gang recruitment is going on, I'll reconsider." 

No statistical link between basketball rims and crime around Uptown park 

 by Mick Dumke

Friday, September 2, 2011

'Permanent supportive housing' -Lakefront SRO

 Mush of the credit for the "permanent supportive housing model"  that is now embraced by many homeless advocates can be given to Lakefront SRO and their development work right here in Uptown.  As expressed in the Tribune article 'Permanent supportive housing' model touted as alternative to single-room hotels

It was the mid-80's, and between 1980-1983 Chicago had lost 25% of its Single Room Occupancy housing (according to this study) and there was a growing shortage of housing for singles. 

Douglas Dobmeyer (Director of REST Shelter 1982-85, Executive Director of The Center for Street People 1983-85) noticed the number of  guests of the north side shelters that had been previously residents of SROs.  Douglas Dobmeyer with Jean Butzen, and others started Lakefront SRO to preserve SRO housing in Uptown, Edgewater, and Lakeview, where 36% of the city's remaining SROs where located. 

Lakefront SRO Corporation is a leading developer of single room occupancy (SRO) buildings in Chicago and a nationally recognized leader in providing affordable housing solutions and services for low-income persons, including the homeless, elderly, and handicapped - UIC City Design Center

Lakefront SRO after joining with Mercy Housing headquartered in Denver is now Mercy Housing Lakefront.

What makes the difference in the permanent supportive housing model is in addition to the stability provided by permanent housing there are case workers with each building  that help with budgeting, connecting with other social services and medical care.  Also Employment training is provided and residents are empowered to become active members of the community

excerpts from article

"We feel like these services address people holistically," Kuklinski said. "You're a whole person, you're not just a homeless person. You're a person who's a citizen of your community just like anyone else."

Reflecting how dire the demand for housing is, Mercy Housing Lakefront has waiting lists at all its buildings. When a new building opened in Englewood last year, Kuklinski said, more than 1,000 people applied for the 99 available units.

While the approach used by groups like Mercy Housing Lakefront is more helpful to homeless people in the long term, Kuklinski said the loss of single-room occupancy hotels — no matter their condition — will be felt by many struggling to stay off the streets.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tragidy in Uptown

Our community has been in the turmoil  of loss, grief, and fear since Sunday night.  After two separate shootings, three where left wounded and the life of one young man ended too soon, Brian Gill. 

Lost for words in this tragedy of how to respond,   I came across another blog entry, Go see The Interrupters, on Feminste, written by Captain Awkward.  You can find it here.

The author is or was a resident of Uptown and writes about her experience of having both watched The Interrupters (a documentary about Ceasefire! in Chicago) and have watched another tragic death to gunfire here in Uptown, the death of Aaron Carter, last summer.

 The following is an excerpt:

I moved through the rest of the summer in a bubble. Every time I stepped outside my door, it was with me. Every time I heard gunshots in the night, it was with me. I couldn’t sleep one day, and then I’d spend 2 days in a row doing nothing but sleep, wanting to cocoon myself away from everything. I obsessively read the neighborhood blog, and watched my neighbors basically have a KKK meeting in the comments. Obviously Carter’s death affected his friends, family, his girlfriend, and his unborn child far more than it affected one middle class white girl who lived across the street, but if it could crack my world open like an egg what was it doing to them? I don’t want to act like he is important only as some catalyst for my own personal growth. He was a human being, and when he died something of value went out of the world. He was connected to every single person who lived on that street, whether or not we wanted to own the connection. I can only write about my own experiences, so that’s what you get.
 There was another shooting yesterday afternoon. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

WWPC-We Preach Christ Crucified

The large sign that sits upon Uptown Baptists bell tower that reads "Christ Died for our Sins" is something that is familiar to all Uptowners.  What might not be as well known is that from within that bell tower once was broadcasted a radio station under the call letters WWPC-We Preach Christ Crucified.

 In 1906 the church building was constructed for what was then the North Shore Congregational Church on the intersection of Wilson & Sheridan.  It was under the ministry of J.C O'Hare that led to both the withdrawl from the congregational denomination (becoming North Shore Church) and in July of 1924,started radio broadcasting on WDBY (known as "We Delight in Bothering You"). The call letters were changed to WPCC (We Preach Christ Crucified) in Dec. 1, 1925.  By 1932 O'Hairs radio program became nationally broadcasted.
"We Delight in Bothering" came from the limits of radio receivers  at that time, they would pick up what ever station was broadcasting closest.  

A classic anecdote is about a woman who ran a brothel upstairs from a bar her husband owned directly across Wilson Avenue from the church building.

As Jordan (Richard Jordan, the last one to preach from the pulpit of North Shore before building was sold) tells the story, “Every day, at four o’clock in the afternoon, O’Hair came on with his radio broadcast and, well, it kind of messed up the music in the bar and in the brothel. It makes it rough when ‘Nothing but the Blood’ is being sung and the gospel’s being preached.

“One day she got mad enough and determined, ‘I’m going to put that preacher in his place.’ She stormed across the street, went inside and there was Pastor O’Hair, standing behind the glass screen with the microphone and he’s preaching.

“He sees her walk in and sit down, so he turns to her and preaches the gospel directly to her and she sat on that desk and got saved that day. Well, obviously it changed the business across the street. Her husband never got saved, but she did and wound up in the mission fields in South America for almost 50 years!”
 -Lisa Leland (www.lisaleland.com)

J.C. O'Hair  was the pastor of North Shore Church and continued his radio broadcast until 1958 when he passed away.

Uptown Baptist Church

Uptown Baptist Church, is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual church on the corner of Sheridan & Wilson. With the 10-15 different ethnic groups that might be represented on a Sunday morning I think it would have to make it one of the most diverse churches in Chicago if not the country. With many language congregations started at the church such as Hmong, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Eritrean.

Starting out meeting in the home of Rev. James Queen in 1976 they moved into a warehouse space later that year.  By 1979  they began renting the building they have now for monthly community Praise Meetings.    Soon they  wanted to buy this building but they previous owners had no intention  of doing so.  UBC acquired this building in March of 1981 and dedicated it on Sept. 27, 1981.

Uptown Baptist Church has and continues to be heavily involved in the Uptown Community.
  • Where involved with the starting of REST Shelter which the woman's Interim Housing continues to this day at their facilities. 
  • through UBC in arts painted several murals on walls around Uptown
  • Led a successful "Vote Dry" campaign

  • Uptown Food for Families -food pantry every 3rd Wednesday 9am-11am
  • Community Fellowship Dinner -Mondays 4:45PM  -300-500 people served every monday

You can find and listen to Uptown Baptist's sermon at here:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Gentrification Threatens Uptown Diversity" -The Red Line Project (Lawrence)

As this is a new project, we might from time to time have a posting that might not by current but a look into an issue that may be ongoing regarding Uptown. Or Even a look at some Uptown History.

Here is an article posted by The Red Line Project, Lawrence: Gentrification Threatens Uptown Diversity. The Red Line Project is a web site launched by DePaul University College of Communication undergraduate journalism students in Mike Reilley's Online Journalism II course.

There are some really stark statistics on the gentrification that Uptown is in and facing:
"A 2006 study by the Voorhees Center at the University of Illinois Chicago classified Uptown in early to mid-stage gentrification. This type of area is marked by a decrease in low-income households and subsidized housing. Lakeview, directly to the south, is classified as gentrifying, showing an increase in high-income households and a decrease in minorities"

"According to the U.S. Census, the white population in Uptown has increased from 39 percent to 42 percent from 1990 to 2000. The median household income went from $22,378 to $36,306. The median house value changed from $137,800 to $270,300."

Friday, August 26, 2011

New York Times covers People's Music School

 The New York Times Chicago News Cooperative had a wonderful article about the People's Music School.

Registration for the next class schedule will be this Saturday, August 27th at 10am.
A record was set this year for early arrival, the first person was there at 8PM last Sunday.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce

CGCT Mission Statement 
The Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce (CGCT) is working to revolutionize the traditional educational model of the classroom learning by infusing the curriculum with local and relevant content from students' lives -- through their families, cultures, histories, arts, communities, and experiences.  As a locally based national clearinghouse, the CGCT seeks to bring students, parents, educators, and elders to the table to compile, publish, and advocate for these culturally relevant materials in our schools (grades K-16).

Project Tracks
  1.   Co-Authoring & Publishing; an action based, interdisciplinary, skills-driven, and college preparatory curriculum with a focus on Chicago Hoods - all contributions welcome!
  2. Create a Clearing House; uploading high quality curriculum
  3. Grassroots Archive; imagine a website with historic and current documents, photographs, videos, timelines, student work, letters and more. The website is coming soon!
 Grassroots Resource Collection
  • Over 1000 titles of essential social science, history, and current events titles covering local , national and global topics and struggles 
  • 500 + educational materials on literacy, cultural relevancy, critical educational issues, education history, philosophy of education, math and science integration, brain-based learning, grassroots curricular guides, instructional guides high quality assessments and more
  • Over 250 high quality children's books and young adult literature including excellent historical fiction, non-fiction, and culturally relevant titles
  • Growing collection of Chicago-based primary sources including on the Young Lords, Black Panthers, Keep Strong magazine, Harold Washington's administration,the Heart of Uptown Coalition,  and Chi Town Low Down newspaper.
  • Growing collection of grassroots social justice publications (magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, brochures) from around the nation and world
  • Digital files of extensive high school curriculum  in U.S. History along with Social Justice 101, World Studies, Intercultural Studies, Mass Media, Sociology, and Environmental Science.
  • Over 100 excellent social justice, historical, and current DVD titles, along with scores of high quality VHS titles, audio tapes, and records. 

    the CGCT office/Grassroots Resource  space at 4455 N. Broadway by appointment only. Please call or email to set up a meeting)

      773-275-CGCT (2428)