Panhandling-Not Just For The Homeless Anymore

What happened to the days when youth athletic teams actively looked for sponsors for their leagues? Years ago teams, groups, & organizations actually prepared fundraising strategies to develop finances for their cause. Here in Chicago,(maybe in your city too) beware of the red light, for at every major intersection, in almost every residential community, awaits youth of all ages, waiting to beg from you! Gone are the days when organizations and teams put thought and effort into raising funds. Events such as candy & taffy apple sales or car washes that paid for equipment, trips and uniforms are things of the past. All you need now is a plastic McDonald’s cup and a cause to hit the streets and beg for it.
Pathetic and hilarious at the same time, youth in tattered sports apparel, teenage dance troupes & the usual homeless people compete for the right to ask you for money.,Coaches & instructors are sacrificing the self respect & dignity of our youth by permitting them to beg in the streets, Formerly practiced by derelicts and social outcasts, panhandling has been deemed acceptable and profitable. Parents, instructors, or coaches that should be instilling values such as self respect and integrity within these children are behind the scenes “pimping” them and robbing them of their dignity by permitting these activities to take place.

Enough is enough. Mentors, teachers, leaders of these clubs, teams or organizations please take these kids off of these streets and utilize better fundraising techniques. There are other ways to procure capital, fundamental methods that have been proven lucrative, time and time again. The act of putting children in the street to beg does nothing but enhance the stereotypical perception of our people. How can you be respected as an authority figure in the lives of these children when they are constantly exposed to the dangers of the streets . One thing that is certain, if we don’t take our kids from the streets, the streets will surely take our kids from us.

America’s Real Casualties of War

In Chicago, a rally denouncing the war on drugs was held outside the James R. Thompson Center in the loop. The purpose of the rally was to call for an end to the war on drugs 40 years to the day after it was declared by then-President Richard Nixon. Kathleen Kane-Willis, the director of Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, kicked off the rally by citing recent statistics indicating Illinois has a greater percentage for putting more African Americans behind bars for drug crimes than whites than any other state in the nation. Illinois continues to treat a medical and social issue as a criminal one which is obvious when the arrest/conviction rates are examined.

These factors directly relate to the dismal economic condition in Black communities. The current unemployment rate in Chicago is 9.4%, just a touch over the 9.1% nationwide. Yet the unemployment rate among Blacks is a staggering 21.4% the highest in the nation! How is this possible from a people that only comprise 36% of the city’s population and 12% of the state? What’s not taken into account is that Illinois incarcerates Blacks on a 8 to 1 ratio to whites for drug related offenses, therefore Blacks, upon release are labeled as unemployable and rendered economically impotent. Even if employers are willing to give an ex-offender an opportunity, often times their insurance carrier won’t be willing to. Rural areas of Illinois where prisons are built, count inmates as their residents thereby securing additional federal funding as Black communities lose funding due to the absence of the incarcerated.

The war on drugs has been publicly regarded as a failure, not true, it is a success for its creators. These are three objectives that the war was designed to accomplish and has accomplished:
the mass incarceration of Blacks
re-establishment of a class system
legalized discrimination of ex-offenders

Nothing said publicly nor privately can be said to disprove the intentional damage that the war on drugs has caused. Law enforcement was given a license to target a race and society applauded their efforts. For over 4 decades, Chicago Police Department officers can be seen stopping African -Americans, most of them visibly harmless, (by age or physical condition) posing no threat to the community but being searched simply because they LOOK like drug users or peddlers. Statistics remind us that no race is any more inclined to use or sell drugs than any other. Only recently have eyes been opened to these atrocities, now that they have, a change must be made.

What has to happen is a full repeal of war on drugs sentencing and overhaul of the judicial system. A system designed to defame the character of African-Americans and an attempt to broadcast to the world an image of a truly worthless people. There are more people incarcerated now for drug offenses than there were for ALL offenses before the war on drugs was declared. Funds spent on housing inmates MUST be used to implement real rehabilitation programs. Programs that truly prepare ex-offenders for re-entry into society as well as programs that assist ex-offenders in creating their own economic recovery through entrepreneurship. Currently Illinois spends $100 to $300 daily per person to keep an individual incarcerated. Time & time again programs designed to benefit ex-offenders have been proven to only be a fraction of incarceration expenses.

If a change does not come, that will be proof positive of what is already suspected. The judicial system and the war on drugs is a farce, a facade to disguise its true purpose. The gradual dissemination of a people, the dismantling of the black family and the strategic destruction of a race by the removal of its male species. If change is not initiated, African Americans will be history’s all time leaders in the casualties of war department.
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