- Created on 04 September 2013
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, a Chicago Democrat, continued their joint efforts to address gang violence and economic depression in Chicago with a Thursday tour of Englewood, a South Side neighborhood in Rush's district that's among the city's most dangerous.
"Chicago has a serious violence problem and we are united in our efforts to solve it," Kirk and Rush said in a joint statement. "While we may not agree on every idea, we both know that any law enforcement strategy needs effective community-based programs and economic growth plans to succeed. We are united in our efforts to save lives and stop the violence, and we will continue to work together until we succeed."
Despite general accord on the need for more jobs and economic investment in the area, the congressional colleagues admitted they still don't see eye-to-eye on they key issue of gangs.
Kirk has made no secret of his desire to "crush" some of the city's most violent street gangs, such as the Gangers Disciples. DNAinfo Chicago reports Thursday, Kirk called the gang a "cancer that won't go away."
Rush, however, told the Sun-Times the idea of the Gangster Disciples as an organized group is a "myth" and a "figment of Kirk's imagination."
"We have armed cliques fighting one another, there's no super structure mega-gang Al Capone outfit that exists in Chicago," Rush said.
Darryl Smith, a neighborhood resident and member of the Englewood Political Task Force told DNAinfo he agreed with Rush that Kirk's notion of the Gangster Disciples was out of date.
"Gangs do not exist anymore, especially the Gangster Disciples," Smith said. "You have a bunch of cliques running around here causing problems, but the police has labeled them as a gang."
Kirk nevertheless stood by his statements.
"Despite what Congressman Rush may think, gangs do exist in Chicago. At least that's what police intel tells me," Kirk said. "One thing I do know after talking with residents is that the Gangster Disciples do not have any support in the African-American community."
After Kirk proposed rounding up 18,000 of the Gangster Disciples to beat back Chicago's staggering homicide rate in May, Rush blasted the mass arrest idea as an "upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem [Kirk] knows nothing about."
The have since reconciled and vowed to tackle the problem shoulder-to-shoulder, despite their disagreements.
"I'm glad that Mark is here," Rush told the Sun-Times. "We have a Republican senator here in Englewood that experienced it firsthand."
Kirk and Rush spoke to families who had lost loved ones to gun violence, and Kirk said the tour helped him understand that the crime and unemployment problems were "worse than I thought."
"It was pretty shocking, what I saw. A lot of despair," Kirk said after the tour.
Both men called for a bipartisan effort to bring resources into the Englewood neighborhood to promote economic investment, create jobs for youth and fight crime.
- Created on 30 August 2013
Dr. Cornel West once again called Rev. Al. Sharpton a “house negro,” and accusing him and President Barack Obama of “sanitizing” the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 50th anniversary of the March of Washington, reports Mediaite.com.
“Brother Martin himself, I think, would’ve been turning over in his grave,” West said of the event. “[King would have wanted] people to talk about Wall Street criminality, he wants people to talk about war crimes, or drones dropping bombs on innocent people,” he asserted.
“Instead,” he lamented, “we saw the coronation of the bonafide house negro of the Barack Obama plantation, our dear brother Al Sharpton.” West then declared that Sharpton’s decline was “supported by [MSNBC analyst] Michael Dyson and others who’ve prostituted themselves in a very ugly and vicious way.”
Listen to West's remarks below:
During an interview with Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman, West h...
- Created on 30 August 2013
Last Saturday I joined over 150,000 people at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. It was a powerful moment that showed us how Dr. King's dream is still alive, yet reminded us how far we still have to go to see it fulfilled.
The simple backdrop of Saturday's event reminded us how much has changed in fifty years.
We gathered half a mile from the White House, where an African-American president and African-American attorney general have held office for five years. The media who attended Saturday represented the diverse races and ethnicities of the crowd, compared with the all-white media whose open bigotry toward Dr. King was on full display in the 1963 Meet the Press interview rebroadcast this week. Finally, the crowd on Saturday marched past the regal statue of Dr. King, prominently positioned beside D.C.'s Tidal Basin. We have indeed come far.
Still, so much has stayed the same.
Fifty years ago we were motivated by the killing of a young black man, Medgar Evers, and we came to the National Mall to mourn his death and ensure that he would not die in vain. This year we are motivated by the tragedy of Trayvon Martin, which has pushed many of us to rededicate ourselves to end racial profiling.
Fifty years ago we were fighting for everyone to have an equal right to vote. This year we are faced with a Supreme Court that has gutted the Voting Rights Act, and we are fighting suppressive voter ID laws, cuts to voter registration and early voting.
Fifty years ago we were inspired by the idea of a fair minimum wage and economic justice. This year we have the same inspiration.
Below, you will find my full remarks from Saturday's March on Washington. Let us celebrate our victories, and rededicate ourselves to the fight.
When they say No You Can't, we say Yes We Can!
When they say, No You Can't pass a real racial profiling ban with teeth, we say Yes We Can! Because yes we did, two days ago in New York City.
When they say, No You Can't pass the DREAM Act, No You Can't pass marriage equality, No You Can't abolish the death penalty, No You Can't expand voting rights in any state south of the Mason-Dixon Line, we say Yes We Can! Because yes, we did, just five miles from here in Maryland last year.
When they say, No You Can't restore the full force of the Voting Rights Act, No You Can't raise the minimum wage, not with this Congress, we say, Yes We Can, because, yes, we have, again and again.
So let us claim some victories right now.
Let us say yes, we will pass Trayvon's law from coast to coast.
Let us say yes, we will protect the right to vote with all our might until we win the fight finally once and for all.
And let us say, yes, we will raise the minimum wage because you cannot survive on $7.25!
Yes, we will! Yes, we will! Yes, we will! God bless you and God Bless the NAACP!!