Resident says, â€˜You have to sneak in your own houseâ€™
By Chinta Strausberg
Flanked by hundreds of Fruit of Islam (FOI) men, Nation of Islam Leader Minister Louis Farrakhan took to the streets late Monday night spreading his love to South Shore residents in a community beset with drugs, gangs and violence in what Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) called a â€œrecipe for something that is not goodâ€ with one man revealing you have to sneak in your own house to avoid being shot.
The same scenario took place in 130 cities across the nation where the FOI and their leaders applied street heat in urban areas where violence is escalating, according to Leonard Muhammad, Farrakhanâ€™s chief of staff.
But, locally walking alongside Farrakhan in the 7500 block of Kingston with an army of his FOI was Ald. Harris who said Farrakhan called her and volunteered to come to the South Shore community. â€œI think it is great. I think the Minister is out here touching a community that is sick, embracing a community and trying to find out what the issues areâ€¦ asking the people who are in the most need and in the most pain. Tell me about your painâ€¦your struggle.
â€œI think that it is just tremendous to have somebody come in at his level to come in and come down to the community,â€ Harris said. â€œIt is a very difficult and challenging community because you have so much social issues, high crime, high poverty and when you put all of those together, itâ€™s a recipe for something that is not good.
â€œWeâ€™ve got to figure out how to embrace the community and it is a litany of issues, but he is the first one to come down and try,â€ Harris said. When asked what was the unemployment rate, Harris said it hovers around 23 percent.
One of the many people who met Farrakhan was 60-year-old Robert Mitchell who lives in the area. â€œIt was a beautiful experience just to shake his hand. Heâ€™s a good guy. Heâ€™s needed to stop this killing and maybe it will do some justice for these people because itâ€™s unreal the way an what people are doing.â€
As an example, Mitchell referred to a man who was simply waiting at a nearby bus stop â€œand he gets shot down. Thatâ€™s unreal,â€ Mitchell said referring to the shooting at 75th and Phillips Streets â€œand for no reason.â€
Mitchell referred to yet another shooting of a man who was on his way home. â€œHe gets gunned down on 79th Street for no reason. The guy doesnâ€™t do anything to anybody. Heâ€™s got a family. Why? I donâ€™t understand that. It ainâ€™t going to solve a problem. The only thing itâ€™s going to do is (bring) death.â€
Saying it wasnâ€™t this way when he was younger, Mitchell painted a somber picture of life in 2012 in South Shore and pointed an accusatory finger at the youth who are allegedly battling for street control to sell their illegal drugs.
â€œEverything has changed because the younger guys are taking over. Itâ€™s become drug infested. They are trying to control different blocks because of drugs, and if you donâ€™t buy nothing from him they will jump on you and beat you up.â€
Asked what if you are not into drugs, Mitchell said, â€œThey still donâ€™t care. You still have to buy from them for what reason I do not know.â€ Because he works nights, Mitchell said he has to walk around with a knife or have his wife pick him up accompanied by his dog. â€œYou have to sneak in your own house,â€ to avoid getting shot. Â â€œIâ€™m serious,â€ said Mitchell.
Life in South Shore is just that bad according to Laura Kandred, a 28-mother of four girls, Minister Farrakhanâ€™s presence wonâ€™t deter the level of violence in South Shore. Â Asked why are people killing themselves, Kandred said, â€œI am tired of the violence. My kids canâ€™t even come outside where we pay our taxes.Â I wish it would stop.
â€œI think we need more people out here, and we need more community residents out here to look out for each other,â€ said Kandred. â€œWe need both. Iâ€™m out here looking with mine and Iâ€™m looking out for others out here,â€ she said.
Vivian Brown, who has lived in the community for eight-years, said she doesnâ€™t think her community is as bad as other areas of South Shore.
Father Michael L. Pfleger, who last Sunday announced Farrakhan would be marching today, praised him for taking the fight to end violence out in the streets.
It was on July 6th during an interview with WVONâ€™s CliffÂ Kelley that Ministeri Farrakhan vowed to take to the streets each Monday at 7 p.m.Â Flanked by 300 FOI, Farrakhan took to the streets in the Auburn-Gresham community passing out a leaflet
That read: â€œLetâ€™s Build Unity and Stop the Violence.â€ He also asked the youth to take the Million Man March pledge that is a code of conduct for both their private and workplace life that calls for â€œatonement, reconciliation and responsibility.â€
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.