Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chicago as 2016 Olympic Choice: Unsettling To Say The Least

Happy Tuesday Kids!!!! Yesterday when I got home and settled in for some evening television and wind-down, one of the stories that caught my attention on the news was President Obama announcing he will appear in Denmark this Friday to plea that Chicago receive the Olympic bid for the 2016 Summer Games. The Olympic committee has narrowed down their selections to Madrid, Spain, Tokyo Japan, Rio De Janerio, Brazil and Chicago, Illinois. Chicago and Rio are the two favorite front-runners as there have never been an Olympic Games within South America, and the Leader of the Free World making a special appearance for Chicago carries serious weight.
An Olympic Bid for a City Desperate To Save Their YouthThis announcement comes on the eve of the video footage in the media: Honors student Derrion Albert was taped while beaten to his death by other Chicago youth.
Graphic Story and Video: WARNING-Explicit
In the midst of all of the hullabaloo, I began to think of my travels and experiences with Chicago, and one very recent trip left a memory that will forever be etched in my mind and soul.
          Some of my closest friends, all but one met at Howard University, live and work in Chicago. I've often been told stories of the excessive violence within the city, but relegated to the West and South sides-the Urban communities. Not surprisingly, these areas in Chicago also have issues within the school system concerning poor education, high unemployment rates, lack of alternate activities for the youth and declining economic climates. Similar scenarios are repeated in urban cities across America, but Chicago's increasing crime rate and my friends' deeply personal affiliation always left me concerned. During the Fourth of July weekend 2009, (the infamous Taste of Chicago) I witnessed the most horrific act of violence I've ever seen. On the Friday evening of my trip, whilst riding down a heavy-traffic and populated street on the West side of Chicago with my homegirl, we neared a McDonald's and from afar thought we saw a parked vehicle bouncing around to the left. As we drove closer, we had to slow down (we were nearing a traffic light) and realized there were young people jumping on top of the vehicle and surrounding the car was literally a mini-mob (about 20 kids). The youth were loudly chanting, had objects in their hands, and all attention was placed on one individual, it appeared to be a male. The group literally threw him from the top of the vehicle slamming his body to the concrete, then proceeded to stomp and kick him like a ball. When he tried to rise, they grabbed a two-by-four, and smashed his head back towards the ground. This happened twice. They then proceeded to kick and continue stomp the now lifeless-body till he rolled toward another vehicle, which was occupied by the owner. Once the mob-with the intensity of wild animals, hit her truck, she opened her car door and screams, "Get that SHYT OFF OF MY CAR!!!!!!" Pause. There was no immediate cry to stop, threats of police, or screams of sheer terror (all of which we were doing with mouths agape within my friend's vehicle), but, get that shyt off of my car. It hurts my heart to even reflect. The mob obeyed nonetheless, and picked his lifeless body off the ground, and I swear, they carried him off into the night because we never saw what happened to the body. NEVER was it reported on the news. NO one recorded this sighting on their camera phone, and no one called the police. No one.
         As a frequent world traveler, I have never seen anything comparable in my life. If it were a scene from a movie, it still wouldn't have sat well, purely based on the disadvantage of one person against a mob. This scene was reality, however, and from what I'm told happens far too often in Chicago. This sentiment is confirmed based on the woman's insensitive and selfish reaction to such violence in broad view. That young man will forever remain nameless, but I pray often that he found peace, as I'm not sure if he survived...my guess is highly unlikely. I realize that hosting an Olympic Games in Chicago would bring pride and economic wealth to many within the city, but if a single child has experiences similar to the one I described, why hasn't the city shut down in attempt to correct the festering problem?? These instances affect many children, a rising total of at least 30 innocent youth have been fatal victims of Chicago violence this year alone. So I question, in a city with one of the highest death tolls in the Nation, should we really be scrambling to host the Olympics??? Shouldn't we, yes we as a Nation, place the focus on seeking solutions for this crime-filled environment (amongst others) now in the spotlight, in an effort to save the youth-the FUTURE of Chicago?? Where are the Nation's priorities?? For if even one person is subjected... I feel...just as I witnessed this summer, that we ALL are affected. Wake up people...




  1. Dawnavette,

    First thing first, I read your blog so please don't send me any hate mail when I text/email you a shopping offer, LOL!

    I totally agree with you on this matter. But, let's look at this from another angle. If Chi-Town would receive the Olympics in 2016 that means they will do what all major cities do prior to the event, which is get everything in order. Think of it like when you have company come over, you clean the house from top to bottom because you don’t know where they will wander while visiting and you don’t want them to see anything that will embarrass you. That's what the city, and hopefully the state of Illinois would do. I remember when Atlanta received the confirmation that we would host the 1996 Olympics. Money came in from all over, and the city basically renovated itself. New businesses came, and old/existing businesses cleaned themselves up. Roads were paved and parks were created. The police also stepped their game up. During that time between the announcement of Atlanta hosting the 1996 Olympics to the time of the event the city fixed any and all problems. With that being said, maybe this is what Chicago needs. This may just be the company that will come to visit them that will make them clean up their house. Because obviously the Taste doesn't make them clean up, or step up police in the whole city. Now, let's look past the 2016 Olympics, if Chi-Town hosts the event this will secure their place on the world map. Which would hopefully force the city to keep in place the boost of police that will be required to keep the city safe for visitors.

    Let's go back to your story. Hopefully the Olympics will restore a sense of pride in the city of Chicago, which will hopefully result in the citizens of the city no longer asking for a beaten body to be removed from their car, but will not allow a person to be beaten by a mob. This sense of pride would also hopefully lead to more influential citizens getting out into the areas where less fortunate citizens live and working with them to inspire them to do other, better things. Maybe the talented 10th will then get out into the communities where many of them came from and work in those communities and be REAL ROLE MODELS!!!!!!!
    I'm closing my rant out now, but I must say that I was always told that before we can fix anything our home must be in order. We as a nation spend a lot of time, and MONEY, attempting to correct the problems of the WORLD. I think it is time for us to focus on us, because we can't talk to anyone about crime, and any other issues, when children are losing their lives to violence here. I think Obama has realized the 2016 Olympics is what Chi-Town needs to get their house in order.


  2. i completely agree with Turk. i noticed that atlanta was in a similar condition as well.
    side bar though... i actually think it will be better for a south american country to get it. how many times has it been in the US? rio is alot worst off and the people there need the economic boom. just thoughts :-)


  3. Well I am the Chicagoan who witnessed the 4th of July beating and let me say this, there isn't anything the Olympics will bring to this city, financially or otherwise, that will benefiit those who need it most, and those r the people I care about. I guess it would be nice if our mayor did too. Nevermind that over 80% of the people in Chicago do NOT support the bid, or our mayor with his 30% approval rating. Our Mayor has depleted practically every rainy day fund we have in support of the Olympics. At last count over $40 million had been dedicated to the cause in just matter of months. All of this at a time when ours school drop out rate is at it's highest, crime and violence are at it's highest, and oh yeah schools are being closed faster than faster than banks were closing at the beginning of this recession. I know what goes on in my city and I know what happens to inner cities who have hosted the Games. I can only think of more displacement and gentrification of neighborhood that the city could have otherwise given a damn about. So, I'm sorry if I can't see this from any other side, because I know how corrupt this city is and dollar signs r all that matter. So great post honey! Oh and btw we were on the SOUTH SIDE when that happened lol! Oh and I'm on my iPHone so excuse any typos lol!