Today on Hard Knock Radio, we speak with local activist and journalist La’ Keisha Gray-Sewell about the peace and healing work she is doing in Chicago. We talk to her about how she and others are dealing with constant barrage of news stories that claim Chicago is a hotbed for Black on Black crime and Intra-Communal violence. La’Keisha acknowledges that while numbers don’t lie, there is important social and political context that cannot and should not be ignored. She gives us keen insight as to why there has been a recent spike in violence in that city including the recent killing of a 7 and 13 year old girl.
La’ Keisha talks about the role gentrification has played in destablizing many communities and the irony of some of Chicago’s most troubled neighborhoods are also the most gentrified.
She talks about the history of the city and how organized crime syndicates have functioned and how Black street organizations (Gangs) emerged. She talks about the role that the Democratic machine played in fostering a climate of violence via ‘old man’ Mayor Richard Daley, and later his son, followed by former Chief of Staff for President Obama and Bill Clinton aid, Mayor Rahmn Emanuel.
Lastly La’keisha talks about the number of organizations who are on the ground doing healing work and taking preventative steps to change the political and social landscape. Her organization Girls Like Me Project is just one of many that do the hard work of mentoring young kids while others work with formerly incarcerated folks who are returning home to reconnect with families and children and move their respective communities in a new direction.. You can get more info on La’Keisha by hitting her up at http://www.lakeishagraysewell.com/
We start off today’s Hard Knock Radio show with a Facebook Live B speech from long time Oakland freedom fighter Tur’Hak of the Community Ready Corps. Here he talks about the insidious role corporate media has played in recent days to try and derail the progress made by activists to hold police accountable. He notes that intra-communal violence is fostered by unresponsive police who seemingtly work overtime to keep troubled communities in chaos. He asserts that police are reluctant, discouraging and even hostile toward community folks who are willing to step up to the plate and address Black on Black crime and deal with more proactive and effective methods
Turh Ak explains what steps we need to take stop intra-communal violence (Black on Black Crime) . Here’s what he penned the other day to address the issue.
The conflict being drawn between combating police terror & “black on black violence is problematic & unnecessary. When this issue is raised it’s usually done in a way that diminishes the fight against police terror. This raises a few key questions for me for those that ask the question, “do black lives matter only when it’s white people who do the killing” or “why don’t we protest when we kill us”.
1. When it comes to “black on black crime” who would the people march on or to.
2. How is this done without feeding the same system we are pushing against.
3. What prevents us from organizing on both fronts
4. What is the logic in the diminishing the success or momentum of one in order gain traction for the other.
5. What are the solutions being presented that don’t involve reinvestment in the same system that is ultimately the source of our existing dilemma.
My personal experience has been that we are always pitted against each other in either or approachs ( if black lives matter then stop killing each other, or how come we don’t march when we kill us.) It is often the case that the issue of “black on black is used to diminish or create antagonism against the movements, organizations, and organizers who push against the system and never the actual systems, organizations, structures or individuals who are responsible at the most fundamental levels. These problems require very different approaches and demand a both and approach because once again they are Inextricably linked and are results of the same system.