Kids are stepping up to brighten the negative narrative about Chicago

Chicago’s reputation has long been a topic of conversation in the Midwest and beyond. The Second City tends to conjure big reactions, evoking a sense of great pride for some and serving as a political talking point for others.

But one thing is certain: Our youngest generation deserves to be surrounded by adults who champion the city, who believe in its potential and who stand committed to help them chart a path toward a more equitable future.

In my role as the head of K-8 programming for By The Hand Club For Kids, I’m part of a team that delivers holistic after-school programming to more than 1,800 students across six sites in the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. I spend hours each week with Chicago Public School students from kindergarten through high school, and I can tell you with certainty: Our kids believe in the promise of Chicago.

They’ve had enough of the negative narratives about their neighborhoods, schools and friends.

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It’s true that decades of disinvestment have created vulnerable communities. But there is hope for a brighter tomorrow. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

It’s in Austin Harvest, the youth-led market bringing fresh produce, flowers and entrepreneurship to the site of a former liquor store in Austin.

It’s in the dozens of volunteers who take our kids to Six Flags each spring as a reward for earning As, Bs and Cs on their report cards.

It’s in the fourth-grade student at our North Austin site who voluntarily serves as a translator for her new classmates who don’t speak English.

It’s in the partnerships that led to a new home for our Englewood site in the Salvation Army’s historic Red Shield building and laid the groundwork for the North Austin Center, a world-class campus for education, sports and wellness on the West Side.

Our youth are rewriting the city’s narrative; it’s our job to keep the ink flowing for them. And as their narrative unfolds, we have to shout it from the rooftops so they hear it, repeat it and believe it.

That’s how we’ll cultivate a new generation of Chicago champions and solidify the city’s reputation as a place of promise and opportunity.

Eddie Wilson, Oak Park

ShotSpotter plan raises questions

The Chicago City Council is divided on whether to keep ShotSpotter, and there is a plan to let each alderperson decide if their ward will have them. Our safety, however, should not depend on who our alderman is. We are all entitled to the same degree of protection.

But is this idea even feasible? What will happen when an incumbent is replaced by someone with different views on ShotSpotter? What about when the wards are redistricted every 10 years? It does not make sense, not to mention the costs, for these devices to be put up and taken down at the whims of aldermen.

Larry E. Nazimek, Logan Square

Jerry Reinsdorf wants to win?

After reading Daryl Van Schouwen’s recent article, it’s easy to see why White Sox manager Pedro Grifol is keeping his job. He has been partaking of the Kool-Aid in some serious amounts.

As a longtime White Sox fan, I am sick of people telling me how Jerry Reinsdorf wants to win. As I see things, there is very little proof for such statements. He prevented his team from possibly winning the World Series in 1994 with his efforts to save baseball from itself. He got lucky in hiring Ozzie Guillen as manager for a song and having players have career years in 2005. Seemingly, he forced out a great announcer last year because he wasn’t a company man. Miss you, Jason Bennetti.

The most damning statement from Grifol was when he said Reinsdorf knows what’s going on with the team. Is it just me, or does that sound like he planned this disaster of a team that misses cutoff men, doesn’t run the bases well and can’t hit in clutch situations? Maybe the marketing department should let Grifol know he just let the cat out of the bag.

The only interesting thing left to see is if Mayor Brandon Johnson allows himself to be played the same way the Bears are playing him.

Dan Kirchberg, East Rogers Park

Trump has trashed veterans. How can people stick by that?

After the long Memorial Day weekend, I opened Facebook and saw so many nice and heartfelt tributes to the men and women who have served our country with bravery, honor and devotion to protect our way of life and all the country stands for or hopes to stand for.

We have never been perfect, and we never will be. That’s why the Constitution states that “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,” because we are not perfect, but we strive to be better going forward.

As I was reading, I was struck by how many supporters of Donald Trump were claiming the same feelings toward our country and to those who have served in the military.

I am sorry, but I find them completely hypocritical. How can you express those sentiments while supporting someone who has allegedly called our veterans who were captured or killed “losers and suckers?” This is the very same man who complained during his hush money trial that his courtroom was too cold. He’s the same person who got five draft deferments so he didn’t have to serve.

There is no way you can say you support our troops and country and support this person for anything. It’s no different than when a group of clergy claim Trump has been sent by God to save us.

Jeffery Carr, Carol Stream

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