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“Fear in my Heart”

Posted by Mike G on December 10, 2010

Through my involvement with Family Matters, a long standing community organization operating in the North of Howard area, focusing on after school and support programming for local families, I have gotten to know a young man who has been involved with the organization for years. Now 20 years old, this young man is preparing to move forward with his life – to get ahead and strive to succeed.

He called me early this week and asked me if I could write a letter of recommendation for him to enter a reputable local suburban college.

I called him yesterday to gather more details. I was glad to write this letter since I was impressed with this young man’s integrity, work ethic and desire to succeed.

He sounded dejected when he answered, for he had just learned that the college had rejected his application. With the assistance of his former high school counselor, he was appealing the decision.

“Mike. I’ve got to get away from all of this violence. There are shootings all of the time.”

He told me about how a neighbor friend of his, only 25 years old, was recently shot in the head while sitting in a local restaurant – a victim of a random shooting.

“He is now in the hospital, brain dead,” he solemnly offered.

I was in disbelief. This is not Chicago’s far south side, nor its west side. This is happening eerily close to home, in Rogers Park.

He continued. “I’ve got to get out of here, Mike. I feel it every day. I’ve got fear in my heart.”

I have not been able to verify the facts behind this specific shooting, but it doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that this upstanding, honorable young man is afraid, never sure if he will be the next victim. It’s one thing to read about these sorts of things in the media, if they ever receive any coverage, which happens all too rarely in today’s far too competitive news environment. It’s different when you have some sort of a personal connection to it.

The youth in Family Matter’s Young Men’s Programs seem to know all too well the impact that violence has in their lives.

Next week they will express their feelings in a program entitled “Eclipse the Violence.” The young men will present “a multi- media performance featuring drumming, original music and a slide show expressing their insights into the impact of violence in their lives,” at two times, Friday December 17, 2010 and Saturday, December 18, 2010, at the location described below.

Please support these young local men, most of whom live in the North of Howard neighborhood, who are reaching inside themselves to find a creative and healthy way to express their feelings about an issue that so many of us are blessed to only have to read about, and not live through it every day.

Hopefully, this form of expression, coupled with community support, will help our youth overcome this fear in their hearts.


Family Matters’ Young Men’s Programs
BOND (Brothers of New Directions) and
BOM (Brothers on the Move)
Present
Eclipse the Violence
A multi-media performance featuring drumming, original music, and a slide show expressing the young men’s insights into the impact of violence in their lives and the world.  Artwork by the young of the BOND/BOM will be on display.

Friday, Dec. 17, 2010 * 7:30 PM
Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010 * 3:00 PM

St. Luke’s Church
Great Hall
939 Hinman Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202
(one block east of Chicago Ave., one block north of Main St.)
Free Will Offering
All proceeds will support Family Matters’ Young Men’s Programs

For more information call
Dan McNeil, Program Director
773-465-6011 ext. 122

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Reader Comments

Mike,
I commend you for your interest and support of this young man.  Additionally, I especially commend Dan McNeil and his long standing efforts with the “Eclipse the Violence” group (I have a EtV t-shirt which I bought several years ago from the group). You state, “I was in disbelief. This is not Chicago’s far south side, nor its west side. This is happening eerily close to home, in Rogers Park.”  I’m not sure where you’ve been or what you’ve been focused on for the past 25 years, but those of us who live NoH (for me since 1975) we have been ‘crying out’ for years about the violence and street drug dealing we live with and experience on a daily basis, to no avail.  Based on my work and experience in the neighborhood, unless and until serious efforts are taken to deal with the concentration of poverty (42+% of all residents) and low-income subsidized rental housing (92+% of ALL rental units) NoH, nothing will change in terms of quality of life for the residents NoH, dispite all the good intentions and efforts of groups like ‘Family Matters’, HACC, et.al. IMO, the key is to create a real mixed-income community, building by building, block by block.

Posted by mcl on December 11, 2010 at 11:12 am

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About the Author

Mike G's photoMike Glasser

Mike has a long term relationship with Rogers Park, having lived here at various times in his life, most recently returning to the neighborhood in August, 2009. While living here as a third year law student, he remembers drunken nights at Biddy Mulligan’s and hosting a couple of memorable parties that he, hypocritically, now forbids his own tenants from having. Years later, after completing his stint as a lawyer, Mike started investing in apartment buildings in Rogers Park (and elsewhere), and soon after, did what many newly divorced real estate investors do: he moved into one of his buildings. In 1992 Mike was one of the founding members of the Rogers Park Builders Group, an organization that he eventually headed for six years, until yielding those reigns three years ago. Around a decade ago, on a whim, he reserved the web site “Rogerspark.com,” which he has been developing ever since, and which co-hosts RP BizArts networking events. Mike is the proud father of three wonderful children, Amy, Mitch and Ella.

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