Clergy Demand Positive Portrayal Of Englewood

citizen | 1/11/2012, 4:41 p.m.
The Rev. Gregory Daniels feels the Englewood neighborhood and other predominately Black communities in the...
A makeshift memorial remains outside the Church's Chicken restaurant at 66th and Halsted Streets where two young men were shot and killed last month. The restaurant is located in the Englewood community, an area known for violence and poverty. A local minister is calling on the media to stop reporting on negative things about Englewood and other areas like it. (Photo by Rhonda Gillespie)

The Rev. Gregory Daniels feels the Englewood neighborhood and other predominately Black communities in the city, gets a bad rap in the media. He pulled no punches and dared bite his tongue in expressing that during a recent roundtable discussion.

Daniels convened the roundtable Friday at the St. Rest Kitchen Restaurant, 727 E. 87th St. He and United Voters for Truth and Change, made up of faith leaders and other supporters, held a discussion at the restaurant and blasted the media for constantly covering the negative things in the Black community.

The Chicago Citizen sat down with Daniels after the meeting.

The day before the roundtable, one of the young men killed outside an Englewood fast food restaurant Dec. 27 was laid to rest. That same day, the funeral for a police officer killed by gun violence while off duty was held on the West Side.

Daniels said he doesnt dismiss the violence and other ills facing some communities, he objects to the coverage and attention they get.

Why is it that (news media) can put some of the most trivial and non-newsworthy stuff on television but when (news media) report our community its always done on an angle to make our communities look bad?, he questioned. This is what they want to show this country; how the

Black community is emblematic of (Englewood).

As the communitys story goes, it hasnt always been the blighted area it is today.

Even state Rep. Mary Flowers, D-31st Dist., recalls the economic halcyon days of Englewood where, at 63rd and Halsted Streets, business bustled and some of the city and nations top retailers and banks were located there.

I lived here in Englewood most of my adult life I spent 27 of the best years of my life representing and living in this community. I know theres a lot of good stuff in Englewood, theres a lot of good people, she said. This was a very viable community of one time, but businesses left. It was more profitable and lucrative to move downtown. Those businesses moved and they were never replaced. As a result of businesses moving, as a result of you taking the very economic vitality out of the community and never replacing it, it gets ran down.

Now Englewood is associated with violence, joblessness, poverty, low achieving schools and health disparities, even if Daniels doesnt favor it being reported.

Englewood is a community like any other community. It is has gone from good to bad because of languish politicians, because of neglect, because no one cares, said Daniels, president of the United Voters for Truth and Change.

Chicago Police Department crime data ranks West Englewood and Englewood first and third, respectively, in the city for first- and second-degree homicides in the last three months. There were a total of 19 in those areas, 56 in the last year. The communities rank second and fourth in the city for weapons violations, according to the data.

Daniels, who admits he carries a gun (legally) for protection, still feels those are the only things that get covered about Englewood and other communities, making it what people come to believe about Black people.