Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



LETTERS 'Sleep' and sweeps; Affinity Community Services "As We Give Thanks"

This article shared 4916 times since Wed Dec 2, 2015
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

'Sleep' and sweeps

To the Editor:

Now that Windy City Times ( WCT ) editor Tracy Baim's one-night, feel-good extravaganza called "Sleep Out Chicago" is over, it is time to evaluate its impact. The positive developments were that reportedly 200 people rallied to sleep out in the park for a night in an effort to highlight LGBT youth homelessness, and $40,000 were raised for 19 Chicago-area charities badly in need of funds due to the ongoing state budget crisis.

But a price was paid. The event was held yards away from where several illegal police sweeps have harassed the homeless in past weeks, rousted them out in the early morning hours, and forced them to move. In addition, the cops have ticketed these destitute individuals under bogus ordinances knowing full well they cannot pay and will have extreme difficulty showing up miles away in court.

Angry homeless advocates on the Internet in the preceding weeks had called for Baim and the other organizers to use the event to forcefully condemn the illegal cop coercion. In an apparent attempt to placate the advocates, the organizers allowed a "petition ... addressed to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, calling for an end to the sweeps" ( WCT ) to quietly circulate among the throng of guests that night. In addition, several speakers reportedly denounced the police sweeps from the stage.

Unfortunately, however, in the article that appeared immediately following the "sleep-out," WCT did not feel it necessary to mention these passionate speeches. Why not? Given Baim and her newspaper's close ties with Chicago's Democratic Party, could it be that she wished to mute criticism of the police department, spare further embarrassment to the city's mayor, and not put public funding for the charities involved at that night's event at any risk?

Furthermore, our suspicions are only compounded when Baim and the others provided a platform for Democratic Ald. James Cappleman, in whose ward the sweeps are taking place. This is the same guy whose office had been targeted by the homeless and their advocates demanding he take immediate action and go on record condemning the sweeps, which he refused to do. Indeed, this is the same guy who is pals with well-heeled real estate developers and is responsible during his tenure for eliminating more low-income housing from his ward than the rest of the city of Chicago combined.

When called out about these matters, Baim responded that she only wanted to "bring everybody to the table" to address the homeless issue. This is disingenuous. As she well knows, not everybody at the table, or on her stage—certainly not Cappleman or the cops who protected her event—is of equal good will toward the homeless. It is necessary to take sides and call out those who are not and expose them for what they are. "Sleep-Out Chicago" could have been billed as an event that would do this in a loud and principled way so the mayor's office might have listened, but that was not its goal. Instead, it was billed strictly as a fundraiser and promoted as such.

Challenging powerful interests in Chicago responsible for creating and sustaining homelessness was treated as an incidental side issue and barely mentioned in WCT.

We feel a real opportunity was lost.

Roger Fraser

Bob Schwartz

* * * *


A Letter from Affinity Community Services

As We Give Thanks...

Thanksgiving, currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has been an annual tradition in the United States since a presidential proclamation in 1863.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving has been a day to acknowledge and celebrate the blessings of the year—a joyous occasion when families and friends come together [sometimes in prayer], partake in an elaborate meal, and give thanks. In more recent times, Thanksgiving has also become a time when many people vigorously rush to their favorite retailer( s ) in hopes of securing Black Friday deals. Even some of the most refined people lose their decorum in the name of "getting a deal."

It is on Thanksgiving Day that many families sit back and watch two people snap the wishbone of the turkey with hopes of receiving the larger piece. Families frequently gather around their televisions on Thanksgiving Day to watch the Macy's Parade and stare in awe of the various floats. Others use the holiday to gather with their family and friends, wear their favorite football jersey, and enjoy the action of professional football games on television. For many Americans, these things are the source of their thankfulness, as well as their entrance to the holiday season.

Well, the reality is as much as the founders, board Members, staff and constituency of Affinity Community Services share many of these traditions with other Americans, we must acknowledge a very lonely road we take that rarely intersects with others. As women of color, primarily Black women, on the LGBT continuum, many of us are thankful for being simply alive. Unfortunately, we do not have the privilege of reflecting over the past year and feeling blessed without our thoughts being embedded in the reality of a systematic genocide of our people. Our blessings come from the fact that it wasn't our son THIS TIME or our daughter THIS TIME. We give thanks that it wasn't our partner THIS TIME or it wasn't us THIS TIME-and for that we are grateful.

The onslaught of Black lives is no longer imminent; it is contemporaneous. How do we give thanks when, as Black women, we fear driving alone because of the uncertainty of being arrested one day and dead the next? How do we give thanks when our sons and daughter cannot receive a college education without having to protest the institutional racism on their campus? How do we give thanks not knowing if we, too, will be victims of inner-city gun violence? How do we give thanks knowing that our babies are being laid to rest from violence at the hands of those who have sworn to serve and protect EVERYONE? How do we give thanks when the phrase "Don't shoot—I want to grow up" is now directed toward street gangs and so many of the boys in blue? How do we give thanks knowing that we live in a society where payoffs are the modern-day reparations for murder at the hands of law enforcement?

Our thankfulness this holiday season is neither for the food we will eat nor the deals of today. It is not from watching football or a parade or television. Our thankfulness derives from knowing that the lives of Kaylyn Pryor, Tyshawn Lee, Hadiya Pendleton, Ashton O'Hara, Michael Brown, Tamara Dominguez, Tanisha Anderson, Blair Holt, Keyshia Blige, Rekia Boyd, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Amadou Diallo, Ron Lane, Sakia, Gunn, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Eric Harris, Sandra Bland, Eric Gardner, Jamar Clark, and Laquan McDonald and so many others were not in vain. We are their mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and cousins—therefore, they are us!

As you congregate with family, friends and co-workers this holiday season, before you sit down to break bread, we implore you to stand with us in solidarity and give thanks for those whose lives were commandeered. We ask you to take a moment of silence in their honor. They were! You are! I am!

We are Affinity.

See related "OP-ED by Andy Thayer: An un-civil war; Ald. Cappleman response" at the link: .

This article shared 4916 times since Wed Dec 2, 2015
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023: Rep. Lamont Robinson discusses LGBTQ+ issues and his plans for the 4th Ward
The following is part of Windy City Times' series of interviews with LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 Chicago municipal elections. Among the 14 aldermanic races to be decided in the runoff election on April 4, Illinois ...

Gay News

Editorial: In praise of Drag Story Hour
Drag Story Hours have really come to the fore in our political consciousness in the last few years, as the radical right has strategically targeted events raising the visibility of individuals who are gender-nonconforming, transgender or ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT The scrutiny of Kamala Harris
President Biden had a cancerous lesion successfully removed from his chest last month, which was just now reported. At 80, questions continue about Biden's fitness to serve a second term. But questions also abound concerning Vice ...

Gay News

Theater Review: one in two
Playwright: Donja R. Love. At: PrideArts at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway Tickets: 773-857-0222; $35. Runs through March 19 Playwright Donja R. Love stresses that lower case letters should be used for the title of ...

Gay News

Patriarch Kirill: Darth Putin's Altar Boy
Christianity—based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, who preached love as the most important expression of religion—has often been co-opted and distorted to support wars, persecutions and ...

Gay News

Elections 2023: Timmy Knudsen discusses run for office and last-minute appointment
This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28 Attorney Timmy Knudsen was appointed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot this past ...

Gay News

Elections 2023: Rosanna Rodriguez Sanchez vies for second term representing the 33rd Ward
This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28. Youth educator and activist Rosanna Rodriguez Sanchez is seeking her second ...

Gay News

Elections 2023: Sam Schoenburg discusses hopes for police council role
This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28. Attorney and activist Sam Schoenburg, who is gay, is among the ...

Gay News

Elections 2023: Fifth Ward candidate Jocelyn Hare discusses bringing needed resources to the South Side
This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28. Jocelyn Chou Hare, who is senior assistant director of Harris Policy ...

Gay News

Elections 2023: Bennett Lawson prepares to take the reins in the 44th Ward
This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28. Bennett Lawson, chief of staff to 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney, ...

Gay News

New York Times publishes transphobic column one day after an open letter condemning anti-trans coverage, HRC responds
--From a press release - WASHINGTON— This morning, the New York Times published yet another opinion piece attacking the transgender and non-binary community. The piece, "In Defense of J.K. Rowling" was written by Pamela Paul and was published merely one day ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023 Mayor Lori Lightfoot on LGBTQ+ issues, regrets and Tom Tunney
This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28. In 2019, Lori Lightfoot became the 56th mayor of Chicago. What ...

Gay News

Opinion: LGBTQ+ candidates are there as Chicago politics prepare to shift
The exhausting Chicago election cycle continues. Once the midterm and gubernatorial races were resolved this past November, the Windy City was already midstream in campaigning for the 2023 municipal elections Feb. 28 (with runoffs April 4). ...

Gay News

ELECTION 2023 INTERVIEW SERIES: Windy City Times interviews candidates [UPDATED]
There is no official Windy City Times voting guide for the upcoming elections but WCT is running a series of candidate interviews in advance of the Feb. 28 municipal elections. ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023: Incumbent 49th Ward Ald. Maria Hadden talks accomplishments, second term goals
ELECTIONS 2023: Incumbent 49th Ward Ald. Maria Hadden discusses accomplishments, second term goals By Carrie Maxwell This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal ...


Copyright © 2023 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.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
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     
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.