Dear Member of the International Olympic Committee:
We expect you've been hearing about how diverse our city is and what a boon the games would be for the various neighborhoods who have suffered from lack of investment and few opportunities.
Several prominent African-American journalists are troubled by the zeal and immense concentration of public and private resources marshaled on behalf of the bid. Mary Mitchell, a member of the Editorial Board at the Chicago Sun-Times, writes "To those of us who live in the real world, the push for the Olympics has been a bit hard to swallow.
Just about every day, another child gets wounded or is murdered in our city."
City's troubles take back seat to Games bid
If only our have-nots drew same level of attention . . .
Mary Mitchell - Sun-Times Columnist- September 24, 2009
Only eight days left, and Mayor Daley will know whether or not he will get his way.
My money is on Daley.
When Daley decides to do something, it gets done: Millennium Park,
Meigs Field, O'Hare expansion, the takeover of the Chicago Public
Schools, and the dismantling of the CHA.
Daley's quest for the 2016 Olympics has been a demonstration of his great ability.
At a time when the lines stretch around the block at places that
take care of the out-of-work and indigent, aldermen voted 49-0 to give
Daley a blank check putting taxpayers on the hook for any uninsured
At a time when a lot of Chicagoans are facing homelessness because
of foreclosures, Daley is assuring taxpayers that only an "earthquake
or a tornado" would put them on the hook for any losses.
And at a time when the cries of frustrated community activists are
falling on deaf ears at the White House, Daley and his Olympic team
have the star-power of first lady Michelle Obama, White House senior
adviser Valerie Jarrett and Oprah Winfrey.
Indeed, the "We Back the Bid" campaign is a reminder of why we need muckety-mucks.
Only the well-heeled business owners who live in a different Chicago could pull something like this off.
They are the only folks who still can afford to hop a flight and pay
thousands of dollars for Chicago 2016 land packages just so they can
witness the yea or nay.
As they say, money attracts money.
Bid backers are going to Copenhagen waving that big ol' blank check
and parading some of the city's most prominent citizens before an
international committee of snobs with the hope of scoring a world-class
I'm not hating. I am just saying.
Olympic bid vs. dying kids
To those of us who live in the real world, the push for the Olympics has been a bit hard to swallow.
Just about every day, another child gets wounded or is murdered in our city.
Last Saturday, it was Corey McClaurin, a 17-year-old senior who was
shot as he sat in his car parked around the corner from his home.
Usually, you hear about something like this happening well after the witching hour.
But it was 7 p.m. -- still daylight -- when McClaurin was killed.
The shooter pulled up in a "dark blue or black minivan," fired a round
of shots, and hopped back in the van.
Family and friends of the victim can think of no motive for the shooting.
"It's not gang-related. It's not drug-related. This was a great kid," a neighbor said.
During the 2008-2009 school year, 34 Chicago Public Schools students
were killed, and 290 were shot. Another 108 students were wounded over
the summer. So far this school year, seven students have been shot, and
two have been fatally wounded.
Corey Harris, a 17-year-old junior at Dyett High School, was killed
by a Chicago Police officer who claimed the teen aimed a gun at the
Help for youth better late than never
I'm cynical enough to think that an anti-violence plan recently
launched by schools chief Ron Huberman was done, in part, to mute
criticism the mayor has faced for not putting the same effort into
saving the city's children as he has put into securing the Olympics.
Even so, I'm still grateful.
Huberman has identified 38 schools that have the most youth who
could be exposed to gang violence. About 200 students are targeted for
intervention that includes intensive counseling and a job.
The Youth Advocacy Program will cost about $5 million.
"We are trying to find out why this violence is happening," said Monique Bond, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Public Schools.
"We can't prevent every student from becoming a victim, but we can
certainly try to start somewhere. We can't ignore it" she said.
There is no question that the root of the violence that takes place
routinely in Chicago's neighborhoods is complex. But we know a great
deal of the violence is gang- and drug-related or associated with the
breakdown of family structures.
I wish the Olympics 2016 Committee a victory in Copenhagen.
I only wish the mayor and his team had the same level of commitment
to stop the city's bloodshed as they do for bringing home the Games.