DeSean Jackson: Gang Connections or Modern Day Witch Hunt?


While I do not typically have a strong opinion on the dealings of athletes, the story of DeSean Jackson is one of particular interest.  Jackson, an NFL player and 3 time Pro Bowler, was recently released from the Philadelphia Eagles for reportedly having ties to a gang and associating with accused criminals. The LAPD, in which we all know to be one of the largest gangs in the nation, has disrupted this young man’s career with the Eagles, all because he knew a suspect in a crime.

Graduation Part IV: Building Up Youth

“I fear death, I’m young I have a whole life ahead of me, I don’t want to start gang-banging and then people are killing people for no reason now. So it’s like I don’t want to gang-bang and walk down the street and get killed,  that takes away my life…but It’s going to hurt the people I leave behind like my mom and dad…if I die I feel like it will hit my family worse, and I don’t want to see that happen to them ” – Nate, age 16. 

When I first discovered BUILD, I was ecstatic to learn about this wonderful organization and honored to be welcomed into the lives of some of their youth. This summer I spent several days with Rik Vazquez, Youth Development Specialist at Build and Dope Poet,  visiting the youth he worked with. These young men greatly impressed me and strongly touched my heart. It’s so easy for people to negatively label young men of color without understanding their goals, fears, obstacles, and life story.  I was impressed by their knowledge, wisdom and honesty. The audio clip posted it long, I admit it, but that is because we covered just about every topic that should be addressed when discussing youth violence. These young men share their goals and obstacles, discuss violence in their personal lives, race and poverty, drugs, education, family support and ways to build up youth and stop violence. 

HLN’s Nancy Grace To Cover The Murders of Tupac and Biggie

 By Rashad J. Smith

Nancy Grace is digging into the Hip Hop community this week as she analyzes the deaths of RAP LEGENDS’ Tupac Shakur and Christopher “NOTORIOUS B.I.G.” Wallace.  Viewers are amped to tune in to Nancy Grace Mysteries, this Friday, August 23rd at 8 PM.

The HLN commentator will be connecting the dots of the murders as best as she knows and spectators are hoping that the former prosecutor will reveal evidence and make a case that will ultimately serve justice for the late greats.

Shooting Along CPS “Safe Route” Leaves 5 Injured

Five people were wounded – four critically – in a shooting in Uptown along a CPS safe passage route.

The shooting occurred around 6pm along the route where students displaced by the closing of Steward  School will travel to Brenneman Elementary this fall.

From DNA Info:

Before the CPS board voted to close Stewart, a hearing officer recommended that the school stay open. Neighborhood parents and activists also said they feared violent clashes between students — or on the streets of Uptown.

Dartmouth Fraternity Apologizes for Holding ‘Bloods and Crips’ Party

Dartmouth’s Alpha Delta fraternity chapter had the bright idea of holding a “Bloods and Crips” party.

The invitation for the event has surfaced online, forcing them to issue an apology for the totally offensive and racist theme.

From Gawker:

Alpha Delta is no sub-tier house. A month prior to the gang kegger, house alum Phil Hanlon became the 18th President of Dartmouth. (We’ve emailed his office for comment.)

Community Members, Union Leaders, Gang Members Unite to Protest Closing of South Side Hospital

Members of the Black Disciples street gang in Chicago have joined protests to save a South Side hospital.

Roseland Community Hospital is the only hospital within an eight mile radius. Supporters say it is an essential lifeline for the people in the community. They assert that 50,000 will be at risk, and 600 people will lose their jobs.

Rev. Phillip Cusic, an employee at the hospital, says members of the Black Disciples reached out asking if they could help keep Roseland open.

Bobby Rush Calls IL Sen. Kirk’s Chicago Gang Plan “Upper-Middle Class, Elitist White Boy Solution”

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Re. Bobby Rush (D-Ill) called Sen Mark Kirk’s plan to crack down on Chicago gang violence is  an “upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about.”

Rush is referring to Kirk’s recently stated commitment to “crush” Chicago’s street gangs, asserting that his top priority is to arrest the 18,000 members of the Gangster Disciples.

Rush later fleshed-out his comments, asserting that a real solution would be to fund jobs, housing, health care, and school improvement.

Tavon White Ran Prison Gang, Impregnated Four Guards While Behind Bars

The leader of a Maryland prison gang impregnated four Baltimore prison guards – including one twice – while running a fully-functioning criminal enterprise from behind bars.

Tavon White (36) enlisted other inmates and the help of at least 15 guards in money laundering, drug- running, and the smuggling of cellphones and other banned items. Their gang was known as the Black Guerrilla Family; and by all accounts, they essentially ran the prison.

LZ Granderson: Treat Chicago Gangs as Terrorists

A powerful editorial by LZ Granderson calls for a new way of framing the rising tide of violence in Chicago.

According to Granderson, there is very little difference between the impact of an act of terror like the Boston Marathon bombing, and the terror experienced by young people in communities carved up into gang territories.

Our youth are unsafe, afraid to go to school, and afraid to walk the streets of their own neighborhoods.

Why doesn’t America fight gang violence with the same sense of urgency with which it combats terrorism?

Chicago Youth on Gun Violence: “It Feels Like We’re in a World War”

Photo courtesy of Carlos Javier Ortiz

Middle school student Mercedes Austin recently penned a passionate editorial for Essence Magazine, sharing her thoughts on the gun violence crisis in her hometown of Chicago.

According to Mercedes, violence is like a disease, perpetuated and passed on from person to person through feelings of fear, anger, and vengeance.

As this crisis continues, Mercedes finds it hard to believe that anything will ever change.