It’s Just the World That’s Failed

Steve points out that today was an excellent day to slip one by the press in Chicago, which was busy with the EPIC OLYMPIC FAIL and ZOMG IS OBAMA FINISHED NAO? and WHY DON’T YOU LOVE US IOC and other such stuff that has no consequence to anyone who will miss a meal because the games went to Rio.

Problem is, it’s always a good time to slip something by. Whether it’s a missing middle-class woman or a sports star saying something stupid or a politician having sex or a revolutionary new liposuction treatment or hey, maybe Oprah or John Cusack is in town, there’s always some more important story to be told thanone like this:

It was a hot, sticky day – the day I went to meet De’Ajaha, Ja’Kahla, and Ty’Juan.

The
lights were dim, and their aunt, Erica Bledsoe, turned on the air
conditioner when I mentioned the weather. The kids sat together on the
couch, their aunt on the air mattress on the living room floor.

Sitting
in their grandmother’s apartment in Rogers Park, the home they’ve been
fighting to stay in since Rosetta Bledsoe died last year, we talk about
her – what she was like, how much they miss her.

Ty’Juan’s eyes fill with tears. He’s just 10 years old, and he and his sisters lived with his grandmother their whole lives.

What do you miss about her? I ask him.

“Just being with her,” he says quietly, trying not to cry. “Talking with her.”

Erica,
who became their new legal guardian after Rosetta died, sits with her
head in her hands. Northpoint, the company that leases Rosetta’s
apartment, has been trying to evict Erica and the kids since her mother
passed away.

She moved in with her mom and the kids awhile
back when Rosetta was diagnosed with lung disease. It was supposed to
be temporary.

But last year, her mom went into the hospital. In
a short time, Rosetta had a stroke, two brain surgeries and a heart
attack. She never recovered.

Shortly before her mom’s death,
Erica went into the Northpoint leasing office, the company that manages
the Section 8 apartment. When she asked the manager what would happen
if her mother died, the manager said, if that happened, Erica and the
kids would have 10 days to vacate the premises.

“I asked what
I could do to keep that from happening,” Erica says, “and she told me
my mother would have to literally come off her death bed into the
office to sign the papers.”

Would that there was a cable news countdown for the Bledsoe children. Would that the mayor and the president and the first lady flew in for press conferences hourly, and would that all the high-paid readers who breathily opined that the Olympics would bring glory and inspiration to Chicago understood that so much more than the spectacle of sport was needed, for families like this.

The cynical refusal in our nation’s media to recognize the true dangers to our national security was one of the driving forces behind my beginning to scribble in this space. The focus on international terrorism and random child abductions as our constant cable mantras, when gang warfare and simple poverty kill thousands every year. The way one neighborhood has a crisis in crime when three people get their cars broken into, and another can see people shot every weekend and not be made the focus of every morning show.

What we consider important, because what we consider important is called our lives, and how that importance is dictated and who is doing that for us. What we care about.What we’re willing to do:

1.Sign the petition – If you haven’t already, sign this petition
stating you’re against this unjust eviction. All the names on the
petition and the postcards we collect will be delivered to HUD
officials on Monday, October 5th.

2.Canvas – We’ll be canvassing again this Saturday, October 3rd at 10 a.m. atTriangle Park
in Rogers Park. Just an hour or two of your time can help us collect
more signatures and let people in the community know what’s happening.

3.Email and call local officialsNorthside Action for Justice has an email link on their page to send to a local HUD official.
You can also call any of these local officials at the numbers below.
Tell them you’re against the Bledsoe eviction in Rogers Park, and you
want them to do something about it:

Ed Hinsberger – HUD Illinois office
312-353-6236 x2132, Edward.Hinsberger@hud.gov

Mary Kenney – Illinois Housing Development Authority
312-836-5317, mkenney@ihda.org

Alderman Joe Moore, 49th Ward
773-338-5796, ward49@cityofchicago.org

Representative Jan Schakowsky – 9th district
773-506-7100

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan
202-708-0417, Secretary_Donovan@hud.gov

Representative Schakowsky has been active in the case already, writing a letter to HUD back in July, expressing her support for the family being able to stay.

Steve’s been cataloguing the worst offenses of media cheerleeding for the Olympics in recent days, but as hepoints out today, nothing’s really all that new under the sun: “City’s failed [1952] try for the Summer Olympics included aTribune reporter delivering the final pitch in Stockholm.”

Reporters will pitch for the things they care about. The TV hairdos will make the story what they want it to be. The issue of the day will be what they say it is. And some stories get theme music and endless updates and six reporters assigned to get reaction from all over the place.

Some don’t.

A.

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2 thoughts on “It’s Just the World That’s Failed

  1. prattfall says:

    I grew up in RP (as someone might guess from my nick), I’d hate to see supposedly-progressive Moore allow this.

  2. whet moser says:

    Thanks for posting this – dropped the ball a bit today w Oly going around (so much mindbending bs, so little time!). Been too long since I talked about how good One Story Up is. Megan Cottrell: bringing drama.

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