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This article shared 829 times since Wed Jun 28, 2000
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police bike

patrol launched

by Tracy Baim

On the way to the Lakeview Action Coalition's June 22 press conference to kick off Chicago Police Department Lakeview bike patrols, this reporter witnessed first-hand the speedy response of officers on bikes.

On Belmont, one man punched another and the apparent victim was screaming back at the offender. Within a few seconds, a police officer jumped his mountain bike over the sidewalk's curb and grabbed the perpetrator. A squad car happened also to be on the block, but his response was about 30 seconds later because he had to pull over and exit his vehicle.

Having a greater police presence in Lakeview, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars, is being sought because the area has the largest concentration of hate crimes targeting a variety of groups, including gays and lesbians. Many suburban youth come to Lakeview to find easy targets.

Bike patrols are a fast and highly visible deterrent to hate crimes, and they will be patrolling in the evening hours, until midnight, the times when most hate crimes are committed. Many such crimes also happen around 2 and 3 a.m. closing times at bars, but it would be too dangerous for bikes to be on the streets those hours, the police department said.

The press conference organized by LAC was well-attended by gay and mainstream media, as well as community and religious leaders. Speakers included State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, 23rd District Police Commander Guerrero, Pastor Rom Behrens of The Night Ministry, Rabbi Charles Savenor of Anche Emet, and Pastor David Abrahamson of Lutheran Church of St. Luke's.

Officers Larry Young ( who rides 2-10 p.m. ) and George Haro ( 4-midnight ) were also at the press conference, providing visibility for the bike patrol program.

LAC's Rick Ingram spoke about the organization's Hate Crimes Task Force, which has worked with all aspects of the Lakeview community this past year, to combat violence.

"Several months ago we released a report on hate crimes documenting the largest and densest hate crimes pattern in the city of Chicago," Ingram said. "Those crimes targeted gays/lesbians, African-Americans, and Jews/Jewish institutions and effect us all."

At a community forum a few weeks ago, Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard committed to providing the Lakeview area with bike patrols this summer—and last week's LAC event was the proof that Hillard was serious.

TV ad campaign on AIDS launched by Robert Schultz

A national television media campaign, featuring Chicagoan Rae Lewis Thornton, urging everyone to test for HIV, was launched in Chicago last week by the national advocacy group AIDS Action.

Five spots, each featuring Thornton, are slated to air throughout the country with the assistance of the National Association of Broadcasters, MTV, and Oprah's Oxygen cable network.

"I have been since the very beginning a proponent of 'you need to know your HIV status,'" said Thornton, a nationally known AIDS activist who is living with AIDS.

AIDS Action spokesperson Jeanne White, the mother of Ryan White, and Betty Smith, executive director of the South Side Help Center, joined Thornton for the announcement. "The public needs to know that HIV is not over yet," said Smith. "It's not the time to be complacent about HIV and AIDS."

The launch of the ads was the highlight of the one-day National Leadership Forum on Women of Color sponsored by AIDS Action. AIDS Action represents 3,200 national AIDS service organizations and the one million HIV-positive people they serve. "It's very important that we get tested and know our HIV status," asserted Smith. Smith explained that the two benefits for testing are that those who test positive can began treatment regimes earlier and should receive appropriate services. Furthermore, those whose results are negative can be supported to maintain that status.

Speakers applauded the fact that people are living longer with the new treatments that are available. However, they cautioned that HIV is impacting new populations. According to AIDS Action's information from 1998, women now account for 24 percent of the new cases, up from 7 percent in 1985. Individuals under age 25 account for half of the 40,000 new HIV infections yearly.

The June 1999 CDC HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report states that people of color make up 61 percent of all new reported AIDS cases.

Among women, people of color represent 77 percent of the cases and among men, 55 percent.

This article shared 829 times since Wed Jun 28, 2000
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