Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Frank Walker: Celebrating Youth
by Andrew Davis
2007-12-12

This article shared 3205 times since Wed Dec 12, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


The Youth Pride Center ( incorporated in 2003 ) will start another chapter in its history when it opens its new facility on 73rd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue next month. Before that transition occurs, Frank Walker, the group's founder and executive director, about the organization, the new building and the controversy surrounding himself.

Windy City Times: Talk a little bit about Youth Pride Center and its mission.

Frank Walker: It's a social service agency that is predominantly volunteer-run ( with three paid staff members ) and is designed to meet and exceed the needs of [ LGBTA ] youth of color to empower them and [ allow ] them to fit into society.

Most of the activities and events are derived [ from ] the youth. It's similar to how the state government is run; we have the Senate, the House. Both houses have to pass each other's ideas and there's an executive [ governor ] , but all the programs are designed by them—the magazine [ and others ] . We also just started a fraternity, Alpha Omega Theta, for youth who want that whole fraternity experience. We have sports teams and dancing as well.

WCT: Regarding the two-house system, are these people elected?

FW: They are. They serve a one-year term. The House has 15 members and the Senate has maybe five, so it's similar to the real government [ in terms of ratio ] .

WCT: So are you the governor?

FW: Andrew Woodley is the governor right now, and he was elected. He has veto power, but a majority vote can override him.

WCT: Now let's move on to you. There has been some controversy around you. First, how are you physically? There are some questions about your condition [ including a recent heart attack ] and how long you can lead the organization.

FW: Physically, I feel great. Heart disease is in my family, though, but it's something we're all used to. I feel fine.

WCT: So you feel like you can lead this organizations for years and years.

FW: I do—especially with our youth-led structure. As long as they have the energy to do the voting and come up with the bills and motions. We just follow what they put in place.

I can see how, in a different organization, it would be stressful for us to deal with 100 kids on a weekly basis. However, most people don't know how our structure is—it's a collaboration between kids and adults to find out what [ the kids' ] needs are.

WCT: There have been other rumors that have circulated. What are some of the rumors that you have heard about yourself?

FW: The only one I always hear is from a youth that I have to put out of the organization or reprimand—and that is that I have been inappropriate with them. However, when it's time to bring it to me or to have [ the Chicago Department of Public Health ] speak to them, nobody ever wants to. Kids who have been with YPC for years never get to have their voices heard.

WCT: There have been claims [ against you ] regarding everything from financial impropriety to what you just talked about—allegedly being inappropriate with youth.

FW: We work very closely with State Rep. Constance Howard and the Let's Talk, Let's Test Foundation and they did their own investigation, along with the State's Attorney's office. They did a background check on me and I answered all questions. They found that all [ claims ] against me were unfounded, and we knew [ that the result would happen ] .

WCT: So you feel that you're in the clear regarding those charges.

FW: I totally do.

WCT: OK—let's move on to the facility. What will it be like?

FW: The opportunity came for us to move into a center on the South Side, and we asked our youth what they wanted to do. They unanimously wanted to be in their own neighborhood, and felt that their friends couldn't come downtown—so we decided to use the money that we were going to use for [ a permanent facility that would open in ] 2010 and use for a temporary facility on 73rd and Cottage Grove.

We still plan on moving to a larger [ building ] for LGBT youth—and the community on the South Side—in three to four years. We're calling the one we're moving into now the 'phase one' center.

WCT: What is the building like, physically?

FW: It was going to be 3,000 square feet but, because of financial support, we were able to double it to 6,000. It will have a multipurpose hall that can hold up to 200 people, a dance studio, a high school-type cafeteria, an education center/library [ and ] a 25-computer cyber center. There will also be community partners that will be inside the center to provide services like case management and HIV testing. We're looking to get GED programming and we're looking to get a nurse and have a clinic.

We're working on a program called Chemistry that is similar to Howard Brown [ Health Center's ] mentoring program. However, Chemistry is older LGBT people on the South Side getting more involved when the youth are in school. When the kids get there from school, the older people would still be in a mentor-type way. There would be this sense of history so the youth don't forget what allowed them to be there today. Chemistry is a good word so it's about youth and adults finding some common ground.

WCT: Have you gotten any feedback from the community around there so far—and what are you expecting?

FW: I've gotten feedback from the juvenile court system like, 'When are you moving here? Can't you move sooner?' As far as the police and government entities, we've gotten a lot of feedback from them.

Now the actual community itself—the parents have [ wondered ] when we're opening as well. Some thought that if we moved to the South Side, people would be afraid to come, but people call and say, 'Are you really moving? Are you really coming to the South Side?'

Oh, and I can't forget: The Chicago Public Schools—there are so many schools without GSAs [ gay-straight alliances ] that call and ask if their youth can come to our place. The teachers are reaching out to us, saying, 'We have kids here and there's no GSA. But if they can work out through your space, then that may benefit all of us.'

WCT: Let me play devil's advocate: A lot of South Side youths have been going up to Center on Halsted, which brought about a lot of controversy. What do you think of the argument that if you open something on the South Side, that would segregate YPC's youth by keeping them on the South Side?

FW: Well, we have been proactive in that we've sent several letters to Center on Halsted asking for some collaboration or public acknowledgment that we're not in competition with each other—that we're planning on bringing our kids there and that they're planning on bringing their kids down to us. We've yet to hear back [ from them ] , and we've reached [ out ] to program director Courtney Reid by letter and e-mail. [ Editor's note: Windy City Times e-mailed Reid for a response and received a telephone call from the Center's executive director, Modesto 'Tico' Valle. Valle said, 'We have worked with the youth from Frankie's organization and other organization, but there's no need for a written formal agreement. His youth are welcome here; we've done things with him and Broadway Youth [ Center. ] ... All of us can work with one another for the welfare of the youth. There's no competition; there's such a need [ for youth-related resources ] in Chicago. ]

WCT: Was there anything you wanted to add?

FW: What makes YPC so popular among youth is that we try to handle things culturally. A lot of our youth have problems at home, [ because ] there's this big stigma about being Black and gay, and [ the kids ] have no sense of family. We can't expect youth to be on Belmont and Halsted and be quiet if they haven't been taught at home how to be quiet if their parents don't teach them that. YPC tries to make it more of a family structure instead of a clinical one.

See www.youthpridecenter.org for more info.


This article shared 3205 times since Wed Dec 12, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

OPALGA+ Scholarship Gala taking place Oct. 23 2021-09-21
- The 2021 OPALGA+ (Oak Park Area Lesbian & Gay Association+) Scholarship Gala will take place Saturday, Oct. 23, at Nineteenth Century Club, 178 Forest Ave., Oak Park. Cocktails will begin at 6 p.m., with the program/dinner ...


Gay News

[UPDATE] Lisle school offers job to lacrosse coach in same-sex marriage 2021-09-21
- The administration at Lisle’s Benet Academy, a west suburban Catholic school, has reversed course and offered a job to a woman in a same-sex marriage after initially rescinding the offer, The Chicago Tribune reported. ...


Gay News

Students urged to apply for Musical Theatre Awards 2021-09-14
- Broadway in Chicago is inviting high schools across Illinois to participate in the 11th Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. These awards celebrate excellence in high school theater throughout the state. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 16, ...


Gay News

Virginia school district settles with Gavin Grimm 2021-08-28
- A Virginia school district that discriminated against a transgender individual by making him go to the bathroom in a converted supply closet will have to pay $1.3 million in attorney's fees and other costs accrued over ...


Gay News

Report features eight Illinois child-welfare agencies working with HRC Foundation 2021-08-26
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released a new report ...


Gay News

Campus Pride names one Illinois school to 'Best of the Best' list 2021-08-26
- Campus Pride chose 30 schools this year for the 2021 Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges & Universities List. This list is based on the campuses overall ratings on the Campus Pride Index and specific LGBTQ-inclusive ...


Gay News

Indiana school district wrestles with Pride flag issue 2021-08-21
- A Pride flag hanging in a middle-school classroom has caused an issue that could give rise to a new policy in Indiana's Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District, WANE.com reported. District Superintendent Dr. Brad Yates wrote in a ...


Gay News

Pritzker signs the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act 2021-08-21
--From a press release - On Friday, Governor JB Pritzker signed the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act, which creates age-appropriate learning standards for public schools that decide to teach comprehensive personal health and safety ...


Gay News

Gov. Pritzker signs legislation to prevent hair discrimination in schools 2021-08-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO - On Aug. 13, Gov. JB Pritzker signed Senate Bill 817 into law, prohibiting schools from issuing policies on hairstyles historically associated with race or ethnicity. The legislation addresses injustices in dress code polices and ...


Gay News

Gov. Pritzker signs justice-related legislation protecting youth, most vulnerable 2021-07-15
--From a press release - CHICAGO —On Juy 15, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed a package of nation-leading legislation that puts Illinois at the forefront of the work to bring about true reform to the state's justice system. "An essential tenet ...


Gay News

Gov. Pritzker signs legislation, Asian American history to be taught in public schools 2021-07-09
--From a press release - SKOKIE - On July 9, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed HB 376, the Teaching Equitable Asian American History Act, into law, making Illinois the first state in the nation to require a unit of Asian American ...


Gay News

Trevor Project data on LGBTQ youth suicide shows urgency of Equality Act 2021-07-06
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Freedom & Opportunity For All, a national campaign advocating for the urgent passage of the Equality Act, and The Trevor Project, the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ ...


Gay News

Brave Space Alliance unveils mural 2021-06-28
- On June 25, Brave Space Alliance (BSA) unveiled a mural honoring influential community members who have championed advocacy for Chicago's trans community. The mural, by Saul Palos Rodriguez, features the late Lois L. Bates, Sky Cubacub, ...


Gay News

Study finds overrepresentation of LGBTQ+ youth in Midwest Foster Care System 2021-06-17
--From a U of Maryland School of Social Work press release - The study outlined here is one of the first of its kind to be conducted in a Midwestern state, where available data on LGBTQ+ youth is extremely limited. It follows similar studies in New York City ...


Gay News

Dept. of Education: Title IX also protects LGBTQ students 2021-06-16
- The Department of Education will interpret Title IX—a federal law that protects students from sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools—to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination, according to a federal notice ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.