Chicago Neighborhoods: Constructive, Corrosive, Communicative?

I. INTRODUCTION

Election Day in Chicago, and the candidates are out there. What are some of the topics on which they speak and on which they attempt to cater to the voters? There are the usual issues of taxes, TIFF’s, having an elected school board, transportation, the roads and bridges, and business. There is another issue that crops up in their ads: the neighborhoods.

It seems that the word “diversity” is a new concept to people of modern America, but it was not news to me when growing up in Nashville. There was not even a need to mention the word, as some kind of cajoling to get me to think of others who were different, to think of others in terms of some kind of census related terminology, or to see others for what I could get out of them for statistics, tax dollars, business funding, etc.

II. NASHVILLE NO – BOUNDARIES

The area of town I grew up in was about as low – crime as a part of a major city can be. There was no need to even think of anything dangerous happening. Police patrols were regular and it was good to see them, but they were just doing their jobs, that I knew. I just watched and went on with activities. Everyone kept their homes maintained and their yards neat, their lawns mowed, their mailboxes painted, and their noise levels down. There were no shootings, none of the “if it bleeds it leads” junk on the news networks that plagues us these days, and no talk of drugs around the area that would cause us to be on the watch for dealers/ pushers, and certainly no mention of gangs such as make parts of Chicago notable in the national scene for violence.

Not at all; our part of town was quiet, comfortable, and about as “diverse” as can be. I went to school with children who, thank goodness, did not all look like me or speak as I did, or dress as I did. They were interesting and different and my classmates and my teachers, pure and simple. We were there to learn, to play together, to interact on projects and to come and to go every week. We had no need for uniforms; we were there to do what students do – no metal detectors or security guards or metal bars needed, thank you. They might have been around but I had no need to take such heavy notice of them. I felt safe and that is what mattered to me and my parents.

The same applied to the churches I attended: it was a church, and everyone was welcome. Everyone sang, participated in Sunday School, baptisms, christenings, parties, etc. We came and went, one and all worshippers of the same God. The message was the same and we understood it.

People were people in my eyes and for my folks, who worked around the doctors and nurses and staffs of at least three major local hospitals as their careers progressed. They saw every patient, everyone who needed help, no matter who they were. I was fortunate to interact with the brilliant people who were friends of my parents, who came to our home and to whose homes we went. Compared to how people think today, my folks were ahead of the time in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and thank goodness I was not subjected to the terrible talk of what separates whom from whom and what this means to “the government statisticians” and the Census Bureau.

I traveled after high school for international vacations and the world broadened. Because I had not been so mentally restricted early in life, I had an open mind to these exotic cultures and languages, foods and attire and jewelry and histories that greeted me like the pages of an open book coming to life. I was not worried about it at all, the influence of these diverse and amazing cultures on my mind and spirit. Gone were thoughts of being separated by some imaginary line that ended at a certain street or city limit or ethnic boundary. Travel and the benefits that came with doing that made my world a better place. It was grand – the world became my neighborhood

It was marvelous.

Then I moved to Chicago…

III. CHICAGO: SIDES, DISTRICTS, and… NEIGHBORHOODS

Those candidates we will consider in this election today have spoken to and berated each other on their work with and in and their experiences with and funding of Chicago neighborhoods. They talk about how safe or unsafe “their neighborhoods” are; they talk about the closings of schools, the disrepair of roads, the lack of or the concentration of development for residences and businesses. They talk about diversity… not about unity.

We need a mayor who will break down those barriers and remove the roadblocks to progress, a friendly and open –  minded mayor and the aldermen who will work with him. As Shakespeare might put it, we need someone who will “dispel these inconveniences”, which is part of a speech from the play Henry V, when, towards the end, King Henry and Princess Katharine are listening to the Duke of Burgundy speak on restoring peace.

Our mayoral candidates might have a lot of money and influence and power when the cameras are around for campaign photo opps, but they seem to forget something, that Chicago is and always has been a diverse city, and always will be.

From its inception to right now, Chicago is made up of people who interact every day with others who do not look or talk or speak as they do, people who need help and who give help and who are glad to help in their lines of work, every day. These are the retailers, the first responders, the doctors and nurses and administrators, the airport ticket agents, the airline crews, the television studio camera operators, the bus drivers, and the furniture salespeople.

Diversity is nothing new, and we just need to leave off this census -oriented thinking and make progress. Interaction is easier when we just simply treat everyone with respect and courtesy. Represent yourself as a person, a special human being, an American citizen, plain and simple; represent yourself as someone who is one of those people out there to help and to work with everyone. Close down the prejudices, and bless yourself with the qualities of peace.

We just need to do that.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

Shootings? NOT ANOTHER ONE!

Shootings. Shoot… the last word I want to hear every single doggone day around here is “shooting”.

Enough already with the reports that even mention that someone was shot in Chicago or anywhere else for that matter. The time for just talking about or reporting it is come and past; the time for action to stop the violence is NOW.

RIGHT NOW.

After all, there are other meanings to the word “shoot”. Time was that “AW SHOOT!” was nothing more than a mildly explosive expletive when someone would misplace their keys or break a shoelace. The words were just a bridge between the incident and getting over what happened, rather like saying drat, dang, rats or doggone it.

But now when the news networks mention “shoot” it deals with someone getting shot, as happened today in Las Vegas.  A “shooting” with a “gunman” happened at a university in Washington State.

Shootings happen in some parts of Chicago every day, and no doubt folks in Chicago are darned sick and tired of hearing every day about someone getting shot.

Rather get a camera and go on a photo “shoot” and document what’s going on and perhaps in that way find out if there is a solution to this pressing problem. Not attending to “the press” when they talk about it and hype it up is one way. Just turn it off and protest this “if it bleeds it leads” gibberish.

What’s the deal with summer and hot weather being a time when suddenly the violence and people running amok seems to explode? Folks, find other ways to entertain yourselves. No need for this junk with the flash mobs, the gang involvement, and bored kids that seemingly have nothing to do.

The kids have plenty to do if only people with consciences get them off their lazy and jaded behinds and put tools in their hands, give them a plot of land to till, clean, take care of and get a garden going. The kids have plenty to do if they get involved with building houses or playgrounds or tidying up a school or serving in a soup kitchen or collecting items for a charity or a mission.

Come on, people – you don’t need guns and drugs and gangs to give your life meaning. Those things will only put you in danger – in danger of losing your life, of hurting someone else, of ending up in prison and with a record you cannot erase. Gangs, guns and drugs are dangerous.

DANGEROUS. No one can emphasize that enough. Gangs, guns and drugs are DANGEROUS. You ought to be running away from those things as you would from a poisonous snake, a tornado, a scorpion, a toxic spider. You who have conquered the need to have such garbage fouling up your life, and who know about the perils and dangers and ugliness of prisons and police stations and being booked, and facing the people you have hurt, can turn this around and help others get over the need for these things in their lives.

Remember that gangs and guns and drugs endanger everyone, including children. Kids want a safe place to live, play and go to school. They should not be afraid of dying on the way to the store or having some idiot gang banger drive past their porch and open fire in the hope of killing someone else.  Children are vulnerable in this society as people start to care less about others and more about only their selfish and lazy and arrogant selves. Kids are abandoned to make their own decisions, to test judgment not completely mature, and to be exposed to harmful habits, to foul language, to violent video games, and to “the streets”.

If only more adults could think like the teachers who sheltered students during the tornadoes the Weather Channel features on their tornado week specials these days. Teachers in Moore, Oklahoma sheltered their students as the twisters approached and damaged their school. Teachers in Joplin, Missouri did the same, taking care of their students. But teachers cannot do the work of parents. Sure a school can provide shelter and food and instruction during part of the day but a school is not a home and teachers are not parents. Parents MUST take more responsibility, first for their own habits and then for their kids, making sure they have these good examples of care and decency and dignity to follow.

Maybe it’s time to stop this diversity thinking and start thinking UNITY. Quit thinking about whether or not someone “looks like you”, “talks like you” or “lives in your neighborhood”. So what? No one is going to look like, talk like, or live like anyone else, even though they are right across the hall or the street or in the next building. Everyone is different but in some ways we are united.

Those who are united in the common thought of ending the violence must band together, stuff the diversity talk in the trash bin, and start thinking in a group sense and a unified sense. An army cannot fight successfully and with a purpose and with strength unless the personnel are unified in their goal of driving out the enemy. Without this common bond of discipline and unity and purpose the biggest army will be nothing but a bunch of people going every which way, not going forward to the goal, and the effort will collapse, and the enemy will win.

The armies of the gangs, guns and drugs cannot be allowed to win these little victories every day. Thanks to the mass media they are winning, because people talk about the incidents and the shootings, talking about the problems instead of the solutions, talking about the investigations instead of banding together to call people out to drive the gangs away for good.

AW SHOOT, folks… can’t you find ways to stop the violence already?

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

Chicago: Tired of the Violence? DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Look, folks, the ATF and FBI and Chicago Police and First Responders can’t do all the work of prevention… so it is time for citizens to step up, speak up, and speak out, and do so every day, with as much force as it takes to counter what has been going on ever since the weather started to warm up around here.

OK, people, time to take back the streets that are YOUR streets, in YOUR communities! These are the places you bought and built to raise your families in, to plant your gardens in, and to have a place to sit down to dinner or on your porch after work and enjoy the privileges of working hard, paying taxes, and living in America.

Time to show those gang people and gun and drug runners that, simply put and stated, THEY ARE NOT WELCOME!

You have to show that forcefully and physically when necessary. Do you know of someone with illegal guns or sources of them? TURN THEM IN! Know someone running drugs? TURN THEM IN! SNITCH ALREADY!

And quit calling it “snitching”- that’s so negative and so  childish. These are not video games where people get a second chance to come back. Once someone is shot, THEY ARE SHOT, and they are in pain and wounded and could be dead. This is not some pixelated stuff someone puts on a screen; these are real people in the line of fire and in harm’s way.

And they are innocent children who are in some sort of area labeled “gang turf”. What? WHAT KIND OF SILLINESS IS THAT? GANG TURF? Indeed! Blame the media for continually talking about our communities in this manner. The more we allow the media to talk about “gang turf” or “gang violence” or “gang related” or “shootings” every day the more power they are giving to the gangs. Just talking about the problems is not going to do anything; there must be action. And right now.

That turf, that land, was the land of law -abiding American citizens before some idiots who are part of a gang decided to bring their unwelcome crop of drugs, guns, prostitution and other crimes into the area and begin to terrorize people with guns, graffiti and threats. YOU DARE THREATEN? Well then the people who have to endure your stuff can fight back.

There is strength in numbers; we can fight back. Use Biblical methods if necessary – come at the interlopers with sticks and stones, beat them out of the neighborhood. Ostracize them as though they have some kind of contagious disease. Tell them their drugs are not needed or wanted around there, and to move on. GET OUT OF HERE! Shout it right in their ear if need be, and come at them and drive them off the corners with your two -by -fours drawn and ready to beat the life out of them.

“That’s good riddance for all you have done in this area, you nasty gang banger! Get off my street and leave the kids alone! GO AWAY and DON’T COME BACK! EVER!”

Do whatever you must to show them that they are nothing but flies that can easily be swatted away and sprayed with bug killer. The killer is the lack of interest you can show for what they are offering.

Conquer your needs for drugs and violence! You can do better if you are depending on the drugs and the means of escape that are so violent and useless; you don’t need to encounter others and life in those ways. Drugs do no good for you- they can be deadly, they can cause you to hallucinate, to lose sleep, to lose appetite, to become very sick, and to become abusive. Violence is not necessary, either against yourself (needles, drugs, alcoholism, fighting) or against others (abuse, fighting, shouting, terrorism, prostitution), so turn the heat on those who have seen fit to turn the heat up in your communities.

When those who have suffered realize who has been fueling their suffering, they will wake up and realize, “Hey, I can do something about this. I can choose other ways and methods and means of feeling better, of taking daily life, of living with my family and of being a productive citizen. I don’t have to be treated like a loser… and those drug people are seeing me as vulnerable, a target. I CAN TAKE CHARGE! And I don’t need those drugs anymore!”

Once you understand that the drugs only offer short -term effects and are terribly expensive, and illegal, and can get you into deep trouble, you will no longer turn to the gangs. You can free yourself from their grip, and you can help free someone else from their poisons and toxins. You can turn away, and that’s the best approach of all. You can show them, “I don’ t need you, and our families don’t need you either, so get out and get lost!”

Besides, gang people are nothing but cowards. Who else would engage in drive -by shootings, wear dark clothes or masks, make silent signs, and deal stealthily on street corners? They are cowards, I say again, and cowards do not deserve anything but to be driven out of the community and consigned to solitary confinement and wandering in the deserts of their own dementia and troubles, as punishment for the troubles they have inflicted on others.

Gangs, go away. We are tired of you! Let me emphasize, along with the Mayor, with the police department, and with the families, with all the first responders who have to see the tragedies and who are put in danger every day, and with all of us who are tired of the “if it bleeds it leads” headlines, WE ARE TIRED OF YOU GANG PEOPLE! Keep your junk and your online arguments and your other behavioral problems to yourselves already.

The Mayor is fed up and who can blame him – who wants to have to talk with families when their children are caught in the crossfire of gangs who feel the need to take their junk out to the streets and terrorize others? And since this can plainly be called terrorism- that’s right, gangs promote TERRORISM and don’t forget that – now the Feds have to step in and see what they can do to reduce the violence. The gang people need to be rounded up, arrested, and thrown into jail with the key thrown away. The time for talking with them is done, the time for patiently waiting for them to reform is over, long over. We are sick of them, we are tired of them, we are fed up with them and we want them out.

Far as I am concerned, the mayor and the governor need to call out the National Guard, SWAT, and whomever else can help solve the problems, to take control and bring order to the streets again and be there till the gang people realize that they are not going to get any more ground and that their efforts are wasted, their battles are lost, their resources are not going to match up, and that they may as well dry up and blow away like chaff in the winds of change.

Gangs, get lost and stay lost!

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

Minority? Who’s a Minority? Second City and Chicago Needs to Grow Up Fast!

Well now, this story tidbit featured in the past few days on News Radio WBBM 780 in Chicago caught my ears, and I think it is time to once again bring to the social fore this awful idea of race and social injustice. But we are faced with more than just calling the problems or the signs “race” and “social injustice”.

Communication Utility Street Hole Cover

Communication: We Need to Respect Each Other and Come Together in Unity and Active Goodwill.

COMMUNICATION: MADE IN USA, 2013.

What we have is the problem of arrogance, pride, and just plain being mean -spirited. Americans are crude, rude, blind with arrogance and wily, with some sort of idea that we can say and do whatever we want without any kind of consequences for ourselves or others. Well there ARE consequences, folks.

Chicago’s history of dealing with the Census Bureau’s falsehoods about race and other categorizing and demeaning factors is one thing, but now Second City has taken up the reins of wanting to keep this delusion of “minorities” going by offering some sort of program that will draw in “minority” performers. They are drawing on the idea that the people of Saturday Night Live (SNL as it is known) figured out that they had no diversity in their ranks of performers, that there were not enough “people of color”.

Now a lady whom the news media call a “woman of color” puts out this program to attract minorities to the stage of Second City. Does she really want to be called a “woman of color”? Maybe she wants to be simply known as a patron of the arts, or a business person doing good things for others. The way the story comes out now, she is keeping the whole business of calling people by such degrading and meaningless and terrible terms that others have put out there and are meant to put people down, make others feel inferior in some way, and in every way is terribly offensive and misguided. At least such thinking offends me, and there is some person out there who wants to put me in that group some power broker dares to call a “minority”.

The only “minority” among us is our entire “race”, every human being, the whole human race. We are all in a minority. Think about it- we are on one planet, Earth, which so far as we know is the only one so far found that is capable of supporting our form of life as we know it. We are faced with reduction of already rare resources, the soiling of our fresh water supplies with carcinogenic chemicals that we invented, the burning of forests that contain medicinal plants, the fouling of our atmosphere, and the increase in air pollution to the point that in some parts of China it is beyond a level considered unhealthy.

Fire Department Vehicle (photo use permission approval pending). Photo taken in Nashville, Tennessee.

Why should it matter to you who is on the crew that comes to rescue you or put out your house fire? Who cares if the guy flying the 747 out of Chicago is one or another race or nationality? So what? You are on the sales crew, you deserve respect and you need to give respect. You’re on the lineup to play with the team- same thing: give and earn respect. Don’t let others label you or tell you who you are because “they” have some kind of sick need to make others “feel vulnerable” or incite other feelings of insecurity or lack or inferiority. You are a citizen, you are unique, you are special, you count, and you are a sovereign person. No one has the right to label you for their own selfish purposes; no one has the right to judge you so boldly and loosely and cruelly. That’s profiling, plain and simple; that’s prejudice and that’s racism. Who dares to be so bold and so foolishly arrogant?

Illuminated Communications Connections

Illuminated Communications Connections: What We All Need Every Day so Progress Will Pave Our Way.

Far as I am concerned every person has some color on their outsides. A “white” person still has some pigmentation (unless a disease robs them of it), some pinkish tones or tanned tones on the skin; a “black” person has more pigmentation. We sure have a lot of work to do to rid ourselves of the ideas that skin color (“race”) has anything to do with how intelligent or funny we are, what kind of jobs we can do, where we can live or what kind of clothes we should wear. Throughout history people have painted their skins in times of war and celebration; we have painted ourselves in blue, white, red, black and the vivid colors seen on people in tribal Africa. We have made ourselves up with tanning salons, with rouge, with lipstick, henna, with concoctions of berries and bark. We put paint on ourselves for sporting events, and we enjoy it because we have fun and we can laugh that we look totally ridiculous. If we can laugh off having yellow, green, blue and orange and vivid red face paint on our bodies, then we should just as easily dismiss what we look like when we are not human canvases. We can learn to have fun and enjoy the company of others and lessen social tensions by remembering this one simple fact: Skin color is just that, a difference in how we look on the outside, and nothing else, absolutely nothing else.

The only “race” we need to be concerned about is the “race” to save ourselves from ourselves, from delusional thinking, from arrogance, pride, greed, power obsession, power hunger, malice, and denying that we are all in trouble and troubling to others unless we very quickly shed these useless factors of race, color, and gender as nothing but hindrances to progress. Yes that’s right, the Census Bureau is at fault for pushing these ideas into the fabric of our nation and thus warping that fabric that, without these silly and stupid categorizations would be a fine and beautiful tapestry indeed.

We need have nothing to do with letting skin color or other outside factors influence how we interact with others. We need right now, this very moment, to stop thinking on the outside and turn to how we think and feel on the inside. We need to grow up fast, to drop our support for organizations that seem to think that such thinking is useful, helpful, progressive, or social or better.

Sure everyone should be represented, but that’s just it. Everyone deserves respect and not because of what we are, where we are from, some sort of ethnic or heritage issue (serious identity problems), but because we are citizens of the American and the global community. Focusing on the other ways we are diverse is the key, ways such as what we like to eat, what we like to read, what art forms we enjoy or can do, what are our favorite sports, where we like to travel, what kinds of things we like and how we can get together and interact with each other in a truly civil and social and meaningful atmosphere….

…An atmosphere that is not clogged with the pollution of “race”, “color”, “creed”, or “gender” or the Census Bureau for that matter. If this is what thinking in the already given and par for the course way of “diversity” is doing to our country, I just as soon think of another word, one that is part of the very title of our nation. We are the United States of America. Let’s practice it, let’s respect it, and let’s get with it. Are you ready for it? It’s simple, easy, and right with the times; it is easy to understand and as basic as ABC and 123. The word is………………………….

UNITY.

Speak Up, America! Watch US Work.

America, get out of your old social shells! What do You Have to Say?

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

A Conversation Leads to Deep Thought… But Will it Lead to Action?

LET THE CHILDREN COME HOME: A POEM

O let us weep and let us mourn
For the student killed for his cell phone;
O pity the youth who cannot step
Onto their home porch for a breath of air.

Let us cry for the kids who play
In plain sight of pimps and gang-bangers
Who want that “turf” for their own selfish ends
Who care not for the kids that just want to play?

Then let us rise against these demons
Who terrorize, yes terrorize, our communities
And break those “ties” in communities that want no part of those foolish ones…
So that they feel no warm welcome.

Strike against the trouble, be not afraid!
These are cowards and they have no sway
Over you or anyone else who pays their fair share and way
So that the kids can come out… and play.

Original poem by Divi Logan, author and writer, TEXTTiles Business Web, Chicago, 2014.

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SOCIAL MEDIA: HELPFUL OR HARMFUL?

When people are robbed and killed and lose their lives over some lousy little replaceable thing such as a cell phone, we know we are in very deep and heavy trouble as a society, as a nation.

When do the “social media” become very unsociable? Just ask the families of anyone killed for a cell phone or other portable electronic device. They will tell you that they are devastated that someone would shoot their loved one for that little inanimate object. And worse, in recent incidents in Illinois, despite that the victim gives up the item the assailants still shoot them. And the young men and women die… for that little thing they held onto like it was the end of the world, like they could not live without it, as though they were glued to it and could not be away from it even for one second. And someone is mean-spirited enough to injure them even though they hand over the device. What a pity.

The cell phone is meant to be a means of convenient communication for people in a world environment that has become full of static, too busy and way too cluttered. We would think that having information stored in these little devices keeps things neat and reduces clutter and paper, but in the sense of this article, “clutter” means that which we store in our brains or minds, the excess information we think we need to have upstairs, where things are, what files they are in, why we need to “stay on top” of issues and situations every second… mental schmutz. Phones are only means of communication and storage of information and nothing else. And companies now aware of the potency of the cell phone as attracting the wrong kind of attention, people being killed or robbed for them, can now shut down the device and render it useless so that the assailants cannot use the information on the phone. So what’s the use of robbing someone over some lousy phone?

This, like many crimes of opportunity, are done by people who are really nothing but armed and vulnerable cowards- it is that they are bitter towards society, bitter towards those who have what they want, eager to cause harm or get revenge for “something” that is eating them. They are armed which is another problem, they are angry, they might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and as such are very dangerous to be around. They could be participating in gang initiations, in which case all of the above might be involved (drugs, guns, alcohol, anger, bitterness, the need to belong, the notion of the secret society, bitterness, isolation). Crime is a huge problem, but it happens in so many ways. That we do things to others is bad enough… but when a “crime” is done against our own self, that is worse.

CRIMES AGAINST SELF

Crimes against the self mean going against that which we truly believe and want to do. When we know our essence, the “real self” people say we should be, and we do not help it or practice it or expound its principles, that is when we are not true to ourselves. It is then that we go outside of our self, turning to others in the way that people insecure and uncertain turn to certain organizations for answers (churches, school groups, clubs, gangs). The suffering self feels a need to belong outside of self since they cannot seem to glean the meaning of what their essence is saying or what to work with. They deem their true self “too deep” to understand and so seek escape into a world that will only give compromise and not genuine, sincere answers to working with the true self. The sufferer often turns to escaping into food, drugs, alcohol, abuse of others, and get into real trouble. Then the crimes against self become hazardous to health- there can be obesity, abuse of drugs or of people, alcoholism, entry into occult and initiative societies, psychiatric difficulties. Then the sufferer can get into any number of bad habits or perform any number of terrible actions, ranging from road rage to murder, from terrorism to suicide. That they are being so mean to themselves is one thing; when they turn against others or harm life is when the criminal mind and intent becomes criminal action worthy of intervention by law enforcement, detoxing programs, the corrections system, first responders and people who will then have charge of making decisions for that person who has seen fit to take their misunderstandings out on society.

WHAT IS YOUR TRUE SELF? WHAT DO YOU WITH IT?

If you are as I am, your true self is of a person of peace, joy, contentment, happiness, humility, and active goodwill. You have aspects of what in the facets of the chakras are known as elements of the Crown Chakra, the highest level of human energy and where the best instincts find their most perfect bloom and frequency and practice. You are learning to work with others in the light of those elements, as essential to life as breathing and the heartbeat. You might see yourself as an individual nation-state or galaxy interacting with other nation-states or galaxies out there, tens of thousands of them in the form of human beings. Each of these people is a being unique, special, wonderful and marvelously made, with potential, chances, opportunities, gifts, talents, and a personality unlike any other. Just as nations are different, and galaxies are different- and there are millions of the latter- we are different but we do not have to let those differences get in the way.

We let the differences get in the way when we go in for that “diversity” talk the government spits out so that someone can get a fast buck and get some kind of recognition they think they deserve or can demand over the rights or privileges of others. We let diversity get in the way of unity, and that is not a good thing. We are blocked from seeing others as they are, human beings that deserve respect and that’s the right of it. Because we hear this junk about “diversity” and “people of this or that” persuasion, we are brought under the idea of pre-judging others (prejudice) and profiling others, and that puts a wedge between us and the other person. Communication is not pure and true at that point- it is clouded, it is corrupted because we decided to listen to what some arrogant, foolish, sick person who deems themselves an expert in behavior or in some social group and go with what they said because “it sounded good and it was on TV or it was on some social media site”.  That is what people who are in positions of power and influence want the vulnerable and the young to believe because they have the money and resources to put their ideas and views on the mass media. Those that are young and vulnerable and looking for an “out” or an escape from understanding their real self turn to these other people for answers… and then it is back to what was talked of above: the means of escape can turn into real trouble for the person running away from their true self.

What are you- peaceful with your real self… trying to escape the true self… afraid to understand the true self…

Seek, listen, go deep, get out of the old social rut and rat race of the modern mind. What will you (no, not the westernized, drill and forced, taught and punished and conditioned and abused self) find? What will YOU find?

Divi Logan for TEXTTiles, Chicago, 2014.

Photography, not Demography: The Arts Bring Us Together

PHOTOGRAPHY… NOT “DEMOGRAPHY”: Art Brings Everyone Together

Sometimes we like to say or think, “Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could get along, if we could communicate easily all we say and think, our hopes and dreams and plans?” We can communicate in spoken and written words and in other ways as well.

ChiCOMMU

 

Communication Manhole Cover”. Divi Logan, Chicago. 2013.

There are those who cannot speak, and those who cannot write, at least in the conventional methods most people understand, with the computer or with pen and ink and pencil and paper. When language is a barrier, when we cannot understand the standards of Sign Language, and when music appears as foreign as a tongue with which we are not familiar, we can use other ways to get our message across.

One way is art, and what a broad range of expression that covers! We think of painting, dance and music; we think of sculpture, architecture, bronze casting, batik, and skywriting. We see people in the studios dreaming up ways to hack into the marble block or figure out which line to put in next on a drawing; we think of designers of cars and planes looking to the future, and we can envision the astronomer pondering ways to use the space telescopes to image distant galaxies and stars. We can follow the lead of that astronomer and, in our own special ways, “write with light”, which is the fine art of photography.

The arts transcend every barrier humans can create, any of the nonsense of demographics, of census bureaus, of departments of commerce and of those who wish to lead our nation in Congress by those very examples of separation and division, which in the long run do much more harm than good.

Why would anyone want to do more harm than good, or any harm at all? Those are subjects for another time; for now we want to concentrate on the good that “the arts” can do for us and for our nation and our world.

“The Arts” are so elemental, so basic to us that we wonder how schools can cut such programs even in the most budget -strapped of situations. We need our artistic forms of expression in order to release stress, in order to focus on the special gifts we have, in order to share our talents and our unique natures. Those arts listed above are fine ways to tell others what we think and how we feel when words escape us.

 Writing with light is a special art form; photography has been around for more than one hundred years and it is an art in which anyone can participate. In photography, all the demographic lines are erased; the person holding the camera is not “black”, or “white” or “man” or “woman” or “ethnic” or “income”. The person is a photographer, and they have something to say.

With that camera in your hands- be it a SLR, a DSLR, or a rangefinder, with whatever film format you choose, or with memory cards ready for video or for a few hundred photos of special occasions, you are prepared to tell the stories of others or your own special tale. You have the means of helping others speak. You can express thoughts and plans in your mind that you might not be able to put words to but which the image, which what you see can tell. The person on the street, the landing plane, the dragonfly on the tree or over a pond, the incoming storm and the building being constructed speak to people in different ways, and anything can be used to help express something in the brain.

What do you want to say that perhaps cannot be said with ordinary words, but which a photo can say? The picture is worth a thousand words, goes the proverb, and by taking one simple photo you can look at it and write about what it says to you.

Look at the photo – what are the elements in it?

 

redwingbird

Here is a photo I took at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The dominant feature is the Red- winged Blackbird, a standout with its distinctive colors. It is on a rail over a bridge that overlooks a pond where other birds feed and nest. But there are other things you see in the photo besides the bird. What about those flagstones, or the metal of the rail, or the grass, or the branches? Might those things say something to your audience?

interiorcolor2

Here is an interior I photographed. There are many things here, and what might the picture say? What is special about the room- the chandelier, the furnishings, the drapes, the lighting, the way items are placed on tables, or the dividing column on the right? If you photograph a home, inside or out, professionally or casually, some element you see might just speak to you in a way you did not expect, and it could be very pleasant and enlightening.

Use your camera to help someone else tell their story or stories. Is there someone in your home or community that cannot speak or walk, an older or disabled person that wants you to take pictures of memories in their home or business, a person that is unable to take photographs? Offer them the use of your hands and eyes and camera gear; tell them you can help out and will gladly photograph for them. Perhaps they want to make an album to share with relatives or others that will factor in their later lives. Offer to use any artistic talents you have to help them create an album or scrapbook.

Naturally you can use your photographic skills to branch out and start your own business or work for a media company. You can do events such as weddings and holiday parties; you can become a field photographer for a news corporation… there are so many things you can do, including photographing sports, working for transportation companies, and working for interior design magazines or architects. Combine the skills of photography with other lines of work, such as going into the military or the fire department or astronomy, and the horizons will expand.

As you take your camera up today and think about how to use it, consider the good you can do with that specialized equipment.  How will you “write with light?”

Divi Logan for ®EDUSHIRTS, Chicago, ©2013.

Chicago: Prejudice at Work (and Worship) Rears its Ugly Head

… and the Cardinal, our Archbishop Cardinal George, is at the lead of that head!

The destruction of St. James’ Church at Wabash and 29th is underway, eh?

So, not even Your Holiness Pope Francis wanted to intervene to spare this grand historic structure, hm?

And all this going on when only a few years ago Holy Name Cathedral (the “Cardinal’s Church) had a major fire, a three -alarm inferno that could have destroyed that building and perhaps even others had the embers spread! Over $12 MILLION $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ was spent on that project on the famed Gold Coast, in the North side of the city. That church looks better than it ever did. It looks as St. James’ should have looked after the fire. So why did not the archdiocese put the money into restoring that historic and magnificent building?

Precious Holy Name Cathedral with its grand spire, great windows and splendid bells continues to stand. That fire was covered from nearly its beginning to its end. And after the fire, with more than two feet of water in the sanctuary and more than that in the lower levels, THAT BULIDING was a safe place to be? I think not! Coverage of the repairs to it went on, and that structure was soon dedicated and a service held to honor the first responders.

In fact, soon after the Holy Name fire, as parishioners attended masses in the auditorium or the smaller room in the school (I think it was called the club room), the Cardinal remarked to the effect that the Chicago Fire Department could easily have let Holy Name burn down and basically be gutted. They easily could have said it was too dangerous to go in there or commit to getting personnel to attack that fire. But did they? Not at all. Three alarms worth of companies came in and worked with might and water and in freezing conditions to smother that fire. Tower 21 was attacking the roof with hundreds of gallons of water; Truck 19’s crew watched and fought, and other companies gave their all to save the “Cardinal’s Church”.  What I wonder would the cost have been had the damage been greater? What if the spire had collapsed or the floor caved in? What if the windows had been broken or the organ warped?

I am ashamed to be called Catholic now! So where are all the rich Catholics with their millions now, who probably came to the help of Holy Name and its historic structures and congregations to rebuild and restore it? Where are these benevolent Christian people?

Did you go into the woodwork when you realized that St. James’ Church is in a depressed area, is in need of restoration and reconstruction, and in Bronzeville? You shamefully tucked tail and ran away from people when they needed you. SHAME ON YOU! And shame on the archdiocese for just shoving these people out of the way and going ahead with the plan YOU wanted to do, that YOU wanted to shove in their faces and that YOU wanted to dump on their dignity and grace and appeals and peaceful pleas.

Makes me never want to give a red cent to another worship service donation ever again or go into a Catholic church ever again.

Prejudice at work here, prejudice and bigotry and racism have shown their true colors, and they are red and white and the tarnished gold of the treasuries of the Catholic Church. Prejudice lives under the miter of the Cardinal and the church officials who just basically ignored the people of that area and kept on the plan they wanted all along.

PITIFUL PEOPLE! PITIFUL CARDINAL, PRIESTS, and MILLIONAIRE CATHOLICS who turned away from the people of Bronzeville.

It is a shame that even the intervention of the historical preservationists could not stop the demolition from beginning.

How would you like it, MISTER CARDINAL GORGE, if someone locked you out of your precious nest in the Gold Coast, that gigantic mansion with its fine piece of land, that costs tens of thousands to maintain, and said you could not come back in? The padlocked doors of St. James send the same message to the people of Bronzeville, that someone has locked them out of their worship home and cares not a whit that an essential part of their community is going to be gone.

I wish the firefighters who responded to the Holy Name fire could help rebuild St. James’ Church alongside the parishioners of Bronzeville and stand with them. I bet they would be willing to throw their strength behind preserving such a wonderful and significant structure, since they know what hard work is needed to save a building like that. Their comrades saved the church so many years ago, and the people who responded to Holy Name carried on the traditions the CFD is known for maintaining. I wish the personnel of Engine 42 and Truck 3, of Engine 98 and Squad 1 and Tower 21, of Tower Ladder 10, Aerial Tower 1, Engine 1 and the ambulance crews could rejoice instead of watching the work of those who came before them go to waste as St. James’ is torn down.

The honey -colored stones will be gone, the windows will no longer gleam with color and light, the steeple will not pierce the skies of Bronzeville on Sunday mornings, the grand doors will no longer be there to open and welcome parishioners, and the magnificent bells will not ring. They will not ring there.

But they will continue to ring at Holy Name Cathedral.

stjamfront Good bye St. James……………….

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

RESOURCES

http://friendsofstjamesonwabash.com/

http://intelligentempiricism.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/315/

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=6640405

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/04/holy-name-cathedral-fire_n_163882.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZ5V8hNZ-tY

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Cease Funding for Cease Fire Chicago: Violence Prevention?

THE INTERRUPTERS HAVE NOW BEEN INTERRUPTED…

What will the leader of Cease Fire Chicago say now when asked about the crimes he has committed against his wife? “I’m only human?” or will it be one of those horrendous “insanity pleas” that have ruined so many cases of murder or terrorism in this nation?

It is not right that ANYONE should be abused by anyone else, no matter the situation. People need to learn to control these “raw” emotions and get anger and anything that causes it under control and fast, too.

But in this case the director of Cease Fire Chicago is the one who has caused harm and violence on another person, his wife. She showed up beaten and battered about the upper body, and the attorney says the inflictions were “very substantial”. What a pity.

What kind of example does this set for those persons the organization was set up to help, such as former gang members? What does that tell them, that violence is still all right in certain situations, even while they are working to prevent and reduce violence and the causes of it in Chicago?

And what has been happening to the millions of dollars the  city of Chicago has given to Cease Fire? What have the directors been doing with that money? Who has been helped with that money? Whose pockets has it been lining?

Violence is still being talked of every week; people are being killed and wounded. Chicago makes the national news headlines because of the crime rate! Every week on News Radio 780 WBBM there is the roll of those shot and wounded, many of them teenagers. Families are still being torn apart; communities are still finding drugs and gangs on the streets, people are afraid to walk to school or to work or to wait at bus stops. Gangs are still getting too much press.

What has Cease Fire been doing, then?

Congressman Bobby Rush and Senator Mark Kirk had their run -in of differences about the gang problem this past week, talking about allocation of funds and bringing in the awful but proverbial race and ethnicity issues. Most people would probably agree that creating jobs is very important and that education tops the list of hot -button concerns in America. Money needs to be put towards crime prevention but putting funds towards improving the education system, beginning with the goals and the purpose of it, is what needs to be accomplished first. Many people in Chicago say outright that the Chicago school systems “sucks” and needs reform badly.

Parents who went to a “north side” school to enroll their kids in that school did so to make a point and bring out the disparity in schools in different parts of the city of Chicago. All schools should have the highest standards, the same as the top -rated public school in the nation.

Perhaps the Vulcans have the right idea – not giving in to emotions and basically rooting that out of one’s behavior pattern so that focus can be put on what matters, not how someone feels about something. In my view being “emotional” does no good.

Meanwhile the violence continues, the kids get shot, and the families mourn. Instead of planning proms and graduations, they are planning funerals.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

RESOURCES

1. http://www.crimesolutions.gov/programdetails.aspx?id=205

North and South: Does the Civil War (!) Exist in Chicago-area Education System?

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

PARENTS WHOSE KIDS ARE SLATED TO GO TO OTHER SCHOOLS GO TO THE “NORTH SIDE” TO MAKE A POINT. WHAT HAPPENED?

This morning on News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago came the story of parents from the “south side” Englewood neighborhood and the Kenwood School, one of the schools on the chopping block for closing in the coming academic year, who united to board a bus and travel to a “north side” school, Pritzker, to make a point about enrollment and the disparity between schools in the city of Chicago and the CPS system.

The Pritzker school in question is located at 2009 W. Schiller St in ZIP code 60622. According to the overview of school page (see resources link at the end of this article), the school is known as a “regional gifted center” and serves grades K to 8.

Answer the question of qualification: Are your children qualified to be in a certain type of school? Well if it is in the CPS system, any student who has gone through the basics of the enrollment process should be qualified to enter any school they wish to enter.

Actually I side with the parents in going against putting their kids in one of the new “welcoming” schools and going to the north side school to make a point and get their kids in the place they believe will provide the quality education they desire for their child. With the corruption going on in the CPS system, the hot issues and topics and concerns behind the school closings and the talk of the “charter” schools and the funding going for UNO and the chitter chatter about “neighborhoods” and the negatives around that kind of talk, those parents had the right to go see another school and see about enrollment.

So is there a waiting list at Pritzker or is that a demographics -related ploy to drive the Englewood parents away and keep those children out of the Pritzker school?

Why all schools in Chicago are not equally provided for is anyone’s guess but surely racism and where the schools are located play a major role. But getting a quality, good education is the right of EVERY CITIZEN of this nation. No matter where the school is, no matter the demographics of your family or community, you have the right to enter your child wherever you please. There should be no boundaries for where a child should be able to go to school, and I think that any school that “bounds out” kids from other areas is not playing a straight game or throwing a fair ball. If you can get your child to the school where you want them enrolled, the school should accept the child, qualifications being met and any needed tests being passed and all judged and recorded fairly and properly and in due course.

Are gangs and the drug cartels your problem? Citizens, parents, elders, families, take your streets back now! TAKE YOUR STREETS BACK! Fight for what is yours, for what you work hard to keep clean and safe and free from harm and good for your kids! Fight back against the pimps, the pushers, the Sinaloa cartel, the addicts, the gang -bangers, the troublemakers who do not an honest day’s work but instead are around to make trouble, to cause harm, to be homegrown terrorists and engage in terrorism, to ruin your community and to make you afraid (or think they are making you scared). But YOU ARE NOT MADE AFRAID save by the reasoning of wanting to keep your kids in your own area and not wanting to branch out and grow. That is what the gangs want, for you to be scared, to cower and to hide and to not grow and prosper and be happy and content.

DO NOT GIVE THEM THE SATISFACTION! Tell them right up front, you won’t get any satisfaction here! Use clubs, broomsticks, mace, bricks and stones, whatever you have to, and drive those people away from your children, your homes, your streets, your schools and workplaces, your transit lines and your parks! DRIVE THEM OUT, hit and hurt them, do not give in and do not give up. If the politicians and the police cannot do it, YOU CAN! YOU ARE GOVERNMENT and YOU CAN MAKE IT WORK! Then send Washington and Chicago City Hall the bill for your “community cleanup” efforts.

Send them the bill for the yardwork you do, send them the bill for park maintenance you do with your own rakes, shovels, gloves, bags, trash cans, bleach or other cleaning supplies you gather in to clear your areas of graffiti, of any signs of gangs or drugs or prostitution. Send them the bill for the work you do on your houses and your streets.

PERSEVERE, parents and teachers! Your families, your children, your schools and communities, your future… our nation’s future.

RESOURCES

1. http://cps.edu/Schools/Pages/school.aspx?id=610229

2. http://www.pritzkerschool.org/

Chicago and Politics: Good Sportsmanship Begins With an Open Mind

English: Variation of the United States (USA) ...

English: Variation of the United States (USA) flag, with LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) pride colors. This version uses the standard US flag dimensons, an alternate version exists with a shorter width. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WELCOME EVERYONE TO YOUR TEAM.

On News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago came the story of the want of legislation that would make professional sports more open to LGBT participants. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender folks get battered about in the conservative press these days because they are not like “everybody else”. They are looked upon for their alternative lifestyles, the way they have chosen to conduct their daily way of living.

But then, aren’t we all living “alternative” lives in some way or other? If I do not like something on a menu, I have alternatives – options – to choose from, such as turkey over beef for a burger, or a pretzel bun instead of the wheat bread, to have the onions grilled instead of raw or American cheese instead of Swiss, or to have a beer or not with my burger.

We “alternate” the pairs of shoes we wear during the week, we alternate our clothes, choose different pants or shirts or dresses to wear, and that can depend on many factors. What we wear can depend on whether or not we have done laundry, or if an item needs repair, or if we no longer like the shirt and wish to get a new one. We all live alternative lifestyles, as we are different each from the other. You might like rap and I might not, so we have alternatives as to what we want to hear when we go out for entertainment.

You might not like someone who is openly expressive of their LGBT lifestyle, but they might not like some aspects of your conservative lifestyle or your stubborn narrow -mindedness. No one is “normal” and no one is “perfect”, so do not think you are or that you have the right to judge someone else because of what you do or do not like or enjoy.

On the subject of welcoming a person of the LGBT persuasion to a professional sports association, it should not matter what “persuasion” they are. Can they do the job and do they have the qualifications needed to become a team member? Are they strong enough and can they run the laps and do the stretching, the warming up, and the other techniques necessary?

Or have you politicians and prejudiced people reverted back to the pre –Jackie Robinson days of baseball, when no one else was allowed to don a professional uniform and run out onto that field with pride? Have you become so stubborn and lazy and indifferent that you are going to let some old prejudice get in the way of someone’s progress? How unfortunate that is!

Jackie Robinson swinging a bat in Dodgers unif...

Jackie Robinson swinging a bat in Dodgers uniform, 1954. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That LGBT participant is a professional, and they can run, catch, throw, and cover the bases with the best of the others that they consider are the ones with the alternative lifestyles. They can do the laps, don the bathing suits, the helmets, the padding, the cleats, the rest of the uniform, and the gloves right alongside their comrades on the field. Thus they have the same right and the same qualifications to be out there as the rest of the team members do. Who has to know what persuasion the members of the team are? That should not matter one whit; if the team is winning, if they are doing well, if they are not making the news because of bad behavior or arguments on the field or skirmishes on the sidelines or on the mound, then so be it.

Let everyone come together in one of the greatest venues that brings people around each other in the spirit of sportsmanship and good society. The world of sports ideally should be one of fun and pleasure and also of lessons that can be transferred to other realms in the life experience. You can learn to be disciplined, to participate as a team member, to enjoy working with others and to keep your thoughts on your work, the task you are doing at that moment.

Remember that if you do not keep your brain on what you are doing, at a crucial time in the game you could drop the ball, make a throwing error, or lose sight of where you are going and step on someone and cause injury. You could mistake where you are and swing your stick and hit someone, or you could pass the ball and have it intercepted. You need to practice every day, and not just sit around watching films. To be stronger you need to get in the weight room, get on the running track and get your stretches in.

Never mind who is in the exercise room with you; the point is that you are each and every one out to accomplish a goal and implement your plan of action, and that is to get on that field AS A TEAM and play the best game you are able. If you win, that is great and excellent, but if you lose you can learn from what you did and move on.

SAGE logo

SAGE logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Simple. Easy. Nothing to it. Just remember you are a team.

Divi Logan, Chicago, ©2013.