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

  IDENTITY

South Side Forum on Hate Crime
by Andrew Davis
2007-02-01

This article shared 4197 times since Thu Feb 1, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Alderman Michelle Harris.

___________

LGBT-related issues concerning Chicago's South Side—including the 8th Ward, site of a devastating crime—were the focus of a brainstorming session and a youth collaborative that both took place on Jan. 18 at the Youth Pride Center, 637 S. Dearborn.

In the early-morning hours on Dec. 31, six Black males were shot at a party on the 7900 block of South Woodlawn. ( All were admitted to area hospitals and have been released. ) However, the crime—still unsolved—has set in motion a flurry of activity, including a Martin Luther King, Jr., Day march down 79th Street and several meetings, such as the events that occurred last Thursday.

A panel consisting of 8th Ward Ald. Michelle Harris; Anthony Scalise, commanding officer of the Chicago Police Department's civil-rights section; Lt. Regina Evans of the Chicago Police's Fourth District; and mayoral liaison Bill Greaves ( who also moderated the meeting ) listened as approximately 40 people—including 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney; Vernita Gray of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office; and community activists Earnest Hite, Keith Green, Tommy Avant-Garde Sampson, Marc Loveless and Darrell Gordon—passionately and clearly aired issues and ideas.

However, before people offered suggestions, Scalese discussed the shootings as well as a robbery that took place on Jan. 13 on 79th and Jeffrey. Scalese, part of the police's Civil Rights Unit ( which investigates suspected hate crimes such as the shootings ) , stressed that the department is assisting Area Two authorities. 'We're in a support mode with [ that ] division,' he said. 'We've helped canvas, we've done some interviews and we've helped uncover some leads, but the matter is still with area detectives because, at this point, it's very difficult to say that it's a hate crime.'

He added that 'when we investigate a hate crime, there are certain indicators that lead us in that direction. The presence of one or two indicators doesn't always mean it's a hate crime; things are not always what they appear to be—especially in police work. The indicator that we do have here is that it was a party attended by all gay men; we know that.

' [ What we also know ] is that two masked men entered, never said a word and opened fire. There's a lot we have to uncover here. ... We have to look for a hate motive but we also have to look for other motives.' He added that they have gone to Cook County Crimestoppers and that there's a flyer that offers a description of the crime as well as a $1,000 reward for relevant information that leads to the apprehension of the perpetrators.

Scalise also took some time to discuss the elements of the hate-crime statute. 'The state would have to be able to prove motive,' he said. 'The shooting is being handled as an aggravated battery, which is a Class 3 felony; the hate-crime charge is a Class 2 felony. If we get these [ shooters ] , the state will probably charge them with a Class 3 felony. The aggravated-battery charge is the more serious charge, even though the crime might be classified as a hate crime—so the judge will have leeway to sentence to the maximum because hate was the motivating factor in the case. With misdemeanors, a hate [ -related motive ] can enhance the crime to a felony [ which is more serious ] ; it's called a penalty-enhancing statute.'

Among the issues/ideas that were discussed were training for the police; assessing school curricula; continuing to investigate and provide updates on the treatment of the shooting victims; and starting community groups as well as public meetings. 'African Americans are the number one group most likely to be targeted, followed by Jews, who are followed by gays and lesbians,' said Gray. ' [ This ] means that African-American gays and lesbians are in two of the top three categories to be targeted for hate crimes. So we're targeted out in downtown Chicago, and then we're targeted in our communities. We're two-fers.'

Another idea came from Tunney, who suggested having the Lesbian and Gay Police Association involved. Safety, which one attendee described as 'paramount for everyone,' was also discussed.

Masculinity was another issue that was brought up, and it was also discussed that, in some people's eyes, being a gay male is not the same thing as being a masculine one. Natalie Bennett of DePaul University also suggested that this way of thinking is tied into sexism and the fact that, ultimately, some heterosexual males may be displaying enmity toward females in attacking males who 'not masculine.'

Yet another topic that came up concerned the emphasis on having allies support the 8th Ward LGBT community. Attendees said that the result would be more visibility regarding the demographic and its issues—plus, as one person said, 'it's harder for a straight person to tell another straight person 'no' about [ an issue ] .'

Several individuals volunteered to become part of a task force to look into issues that concern the 8th Ward's LGBT community. ( Greaves stated that the organization will hopefully include 'representation from the police and religious leaders' as well as residents from the ward. ) The nascent group will examine the issues discussed at this meeting.

During the meeting, Harris admitted that she did not understand many LGBT-related issues but added that she was willing to learn. 'That's why we're setting the task force with people from the community [ who ] can help me address the issues,' she said. 'I'm not gay; I don't know. In order to educate the community; I've got to be on target and understand the issues.'

Youths speak out

Later that evening, a large group of youths held its own forum. ( A few older adults [ 30+ ] also attended, but the focus of this meeting was on younger adults and teens. ) The youths were asked questions concerning their feelings about the South Side, masculinity and the New Year's Eve shootings, among other things. Some of the questions asked were:

—Do you feel safe on the South Side? One person said that he felt safe, but the others who responded said no, including one who said that he feels 'safe until 55th Street.' Another suggested that 'safety depends on yourself and how you carry yourself,' although another countered that people should be able to go anywhere regardless of who they are.

—Have you been a hate-crime victim and have you reported the crime to the police? Several youths said that they have been robbery victims, and that anti-gay slurs were uttered by the perpetrators. One said that it just 'comes down to protecting yourself. It's common sense; your life isn't worth five dollars or a cell phone.'

—What are the myths about the shootings at 79th and Woodlawn? One person said she had heard that people died, although all of the victims have recovered from their wounds. Another who spoke was one of the individuals who threw the party. 'It was just a house party, and it went off without a hitch,' he said. 'When the gunshots went off, we thought it was a joke [ at first ] .' The individual, who said that two bullets happen to miss him, added that 'there was no fight at the party' and that 'we have [ ideas about who the shooters are ] but we don't know [ exactly ] who it was. ... Before we throw another party, we'll make sure the space is safe.' When asked if he felt like the partygoers were targeted because of their sexual orientation, the individuals responded, 'Yes.'

The older individuals in the room also had their say. Power was one topic the older adults emphasized repeatedly. Whether it was Alicia Ozier of TaskForce Prevention & Community Services talking about self-defense and organizing activities; Sankofa Way's Rev. Deborah Lake stressing economic power; or activist Jerry Lightfoot discussing strength through unity and respect, power was a recurring theme that the more mature individuals hoped that the younger attendees took to heart.


This article shared 4197 times since Thu Feb 1, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

LGBT History Month: Reclaiming 41, journey to heal notorious trauma for LGBT Mexicans 2021-10-11
- Until recently, Alberto B. Mendoza hated 41. He cringed if his dinner bill or hotel room number had the number in it, and with the countdown to his 41st birthday, he dreaded the year to come. ...


Gay News

WORLD False report, Indian activist dies, fashion exhibit, LGBT Awards 2021-09-12
- In Spain, a man who claimed eight hooded men carved an anti-gay slur on his butt using a knife in a horrific hate crime later said the act was consensual, according to out.com. According to police ...


Gay News

Wis. man attacks trans couple but won't be charged with a hate crime 2021-08-04
- In Wisconsin, a La Crosse official said incomplete state laws prevented them from charging a man with a hate crime after he attacked a transgender couple in a public park, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. La ...


Gay News

Analysis of hate crime laws finds limitations, opportunities, rising hate violence 2021-07-28
--From a Movement Advancement Project, National Center for Lesbian Rights press release - With a rise in hate violence across the country, a new report from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and 16 leading civil rights organizations provides a groundbreaking analysis of state and federal hate crime laws. The ...


Gay News

WORLD Anti-LGBTQ crimes, conversion therapy, out prime minister, Pakistan school 2021-07-11
- In England, police are treating the painting of a homophobic slur on an LGBTQ Pride mural as a hate crime, the BBC reported. The wall in St Helens, Merseyside, which was painted by volunteers and artists ...


Gay News

THEATER Goodman's 'I Hate It Here' to stream July 15-18 2021-07-02
- Goodman Theatre's streaming-in-real-time Live series will conclude with I Hate It Here, written by Ike Holter and directed by Lili-Anne Brown. I Hate It Here appears July 15, at 7:30 p.m.; July 16, at 7:30 p.m.; ...


Gay News

President Biden signs historic hate crimes bill into law 2021-05-20
- WASHINGTON — Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement after President Biden signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which included the Khalid ...


Gay News

BOOKS Lesbian author Amanda Kabak to release hate-crime novel July 20 2021-05-15
- Lesbian author Amanda Kabak—a Chicago native who now resides in Lakeland, Florida—is releasing the novel Upended on July 20. In Upended, Maddie, a driven entrepreneur, finds her world thrown into disarray when she survives a hate ...


Gay News

WORLD Caribbean group, hate crime, 'Queen of the Pacific,' volcano wedding 2021-05-02
- A Caribbean advocacy group launched a fund to help LGBTQ people who have been impacted by the eruption of a volcano on the island of St. Vincent, The Washington Blade reported. The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for ...


Gay News

Senate passes COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, NMAC responds 2021-04-22
--From a press release - April 22, 2021 - Following is a statement from NMAC Executive Director Paul Kawata on Senate passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. "NMAC applauds the Senate passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in an ...


Gay News

Former 'Bachelor' comes out as gay 2021-04-14
- In a Good Morning America (GMA) interview that aired April 14, former Bachelor Colton Underwood came out as gay, Entertainment Weekly reported. "I've [run] from myself for a long time, I've hated myself for a long ...


Gay News

Bennett, Noriega named to Illinois Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes 2021-04-13
- On April 13, Gov. JB Pritzker announced appointments in his administration—including noted LGBTQ Chicagoans Jim Bennett and Mona Noriega to the Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes. Bennett currently serves ...


Gay News

WORLD Uzbek activist, hate-crimes report, Ghana arrests, Chely Wright 2021-04-04
- Uzbek activist Miraziz Bazarov was hospitalized after he was attacked by unknown men hours after his public event was disrupted by dozens of aggressive men in Tashkent, RFERL.org reported. Physicians at the Tashkent Traumatology Hospital said ...


Gay News

OP-ED: An AAPI hate crime we dare not say 2021-03-30
- On March 16, Robert Aaron Long killed eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent. Long's action has not yet been classified as a hate crime because the motive, he stated, was his sex ...


Gay News

SAAPRI vehemently condemns murders of Asian American women in Atlanta 2021-03-18
--From a South Asian American Policy & Research Institute press release - Stop AAPI Hate: Together, we must work to stand in solidarity and stop AAPI hate and all hate crimes against people of color. On Tuesday, March 16th, six Asian American women were killed in a series ...


 



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.