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 2021-03-03
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Frank Walker: Celebrating Youth
by Andrew Davis
2008-01-01

This article shared 4719 times since Tue Jan 1, 2008
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 4719 times since Tue Jan 1, 2008
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

NATIONAL Nebraska measure, Williams Institute, Audre Lorde, journalist dies 2021-02-28
- In Nebraska, the Lincoln City Council passed an ordinance that bans licensed mental-health professionals from subjecting LGBTQ youth to the discredited practice of conversion therapy, according to a Trevor Project ...


Gay News

Victory Institute condemns Rand Paul attack on Dr. Rachel Levine, trans youth 2021-02-25
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Institute condemned Senator Rand Paul's transphobic attack on Dr. Rachel Levine during her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. He attacked trans you ...


Gay News

WORLD Canadian groups, Moroccan refugee, LGBT+ Rights Ghana, trans heroine 2021-02-21
- From $400,000 in funding for a national initiative aimed at expanding two-spirit advocacy, to $239,000 to improve LGBTQ youth housing access in the Prairies, 76 Canadian community groups are being sent nearly $15 million from the ...


Gay News

Court Theatre announces 2021 Southside Youth Fest, platform for teens 2021-02-18
--From a press release - Chicago, IL - Court Theatre, under the continuing leadership of Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, and Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre, announces Court's 2021 Southside Youth Fest, inviting South Side teens to submit original digi ...


Gay News

WORLD School items, Olympics, Angola law, Dutch senate 2021-02-14
- Toronto's Catholic school board reinstated the link to an LGBT support phone line on its website following outrage from the community, according to Yahoo! News, citing The Canadian Press. The school board removed LGBT YouthLine from ...


Gay News

ACLU of Illinois reacts to Auditor General's report on LGBTQ youth in DCFS care 2021-02-10
- In response to the Auditor General's report on LGBTQ youth in DCFS care, Ghirlandi Guidetti, Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Illinois made the following statement: "Today's Auditor General's report reveals a sad but unsurprising truth: ...


Gay News

GLAAD: Senators vote against response to riot but introduce anti-trans bill 2021-02-10
--From a press release - Five of the eight senators objecting to Electoral College votes and voting against the second Trump impeachment trial have cosponsored a new bill targeting transgender youth, adding to history of anti-LGBTQ votes and views GLAAD: "More ...


Gay News

Equality Illinois, Rainbow Cafe, legislators, PPIA reintroduce REACH Act 2021-02-02
- Illinois state Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-8), state Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-77), Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA), Equality Illinois and Rainbow Cafe LGBTQ Youth Center held a press conference Feb. 2 ...


Gay News

Indianapolis council condemns conversion therapy; Indiana Stonewall Dems celebrate 2021-02-02
- Indiana Stonewall Democrats celebrated the Indianapolis City-County Council and its LGBTQ councillors for passing a proclamation on Feb. 1 that formally condemns "conversion therapy" and the long-term health complications it ...


Gay News

Book helps families with kids discuss gender roles, same gender attraction 2021-01-29
--From a press release - A new book, Pepito Has a Doll, is centered on the experience of a shy young boy who lives with his grandmother. Pepito has only one friend, his doll Lola, until Miguel appears and they begin a joyful adventure together. Bilingual ...


Gay News

Day 1 executive orders impact millions of LGBTQ youth, adults of diverse communities 2021-01-20
--From a Williams Institute press release - Today, President Biden signed a sweeping executive order directing federal agencies to adopt a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including in federal employment, policies, programs, and services. This is the first day one executive ...


Gay News

Indiana to open first home for LGBTQ+ homeless youths 2021-01-20
- Indiana's first dedicated residential facility for LGBTQ+ young adults experiencing homelessness is slated to open this year in Indianapolis, according to WLFI.com. This home was years in the making. Trinity ...


Gay News

Indiana pols propose anti-conversion therapy bill 2021-01-11
- Indiana Stonewall Democrats issued a press release lauding state Sen. JD Ford (District 39) and state Rep. Sue Errington (District 26) for introducing a new bill to effectively end so-called "conversion therapy" practices across the state ...


Gay News

National LGBTQ organizations call for Trump's removal from office 2021-01-08
--From a press release - New York, NY - Thursday, Jan. 7, 2020 - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, along with leading LGBTQ legal, health, youth, justice and equality organizations, is callin ...


Gay News

WORLD Lithuania outlook, HIV/AIDS and COVID, lawyer arrested, trans youth 2020-12-27
- Lithuania appears set to legalize same-sex civil partnerships next year, but same-sex marriage could be up to a decade away, according to Tomas Raskevicius—the country's only openly LGBT+ lawmaker, Reuters reported. "We're going to submit t ...


 



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.