To the editors:
I would like to reply to Jane Juffer’s article about Operation Clean Sweep [October 5] and the security at Chicago Housing Authority projects. I was surprised to learn that Ms. Juffer resides in a comfortable neighborhood on the north side only 4 blocks from my own residence. Surely she is familiar with the many buildings in the area that have wrought iron security barriers and electronic intercom systems. I would like to know why Ms. Juffer isn’t protesting the “lockdown” of her own neighbors instead of going clear across the city to agitate CHA tenants.
When I did precinct work for Mayor Harold Washington, I quickly learned that a person cannot just walk into highrise buildings on the north side. Almost all of them have either a doorman or a security guard that required you to be let in by a tenant and sign a register. If you don’t live in the building or have any business there, you don’t get in period. This is what rich white folks call “security.” Only when the CHA does the same thing is it called a “lockdown.”
It appears that a few “good hearted” white folks have decided that poor black people are not entitled to the same safety that white people take for granted. I suppose that getting raped or having your child’s brains blown out is just a penalty for being poor. I doubt if any of the outside white agitators have ever been to a funeral for a black child or even give a damn when one gets killed. Having to bury a kid and having to constantly wonder if your kid will be next is not a pleasant way to live.
In her article, Ms. Juffer only names a few tenants who seem to be “troubled” by CHA security, one of which is Sylvester Richmond. It should surprise nobody that he is also a registered Republican. Black tokens in the Republican party have always been used by rich white people to oppress other blacks. All one has to do is look at the blacks that Reagan appointed to destroy affirmative action and HUD. Mr. Richmond should wake up and realize that he is being used by white outsiders against his own people. If one of his children gets killed or hurt by a gangster or criminal, these “liberal” white folks are not going to lose any sleep. If the CHA evicts his family, the outside agitators are not going to give them a place to live. There are no poor black families in Ms. Juffer’s neighborhood where rents start at about $600 a month.
Vince Lane, Beverly Shepard and LeRoy Martin are black. They were hired by a black mayor to put an end to crime and terror that poor black people have to live with every day. As Ms. Juffer points out in the article, violent crime at that building fell from 62 crimes to 24 crimes in one year. Those may seem like numbers to outsiders but those numbers mean that 38 women or children didn’t get raped, beat up or killed last year thanks to Vince Lane and Operation Clean Sweep.
It is rather ironic that the same good white folks that are going into secured CHA buildings to stir up trouble over the security probably wouldn’t dare set foot into an unsecured project. Since I often go to Stateway Gardens and rarely see white people there, I would be happy to take them over there and let them go door to door some night and tell the tenants that they don’t need security.
I know these “do-gooder” white folks well. They are the same ones who ruined public education back in the sixties. They wanted “integration” so badly that they forced black children to have to get up 2 hours early and ride buses to white schools. Then the white do-gooders all fled for the suburbs or sent their kids to private or magnet schools. Now they want to do for public housing what they did for public education.
The CHA security people should not have to throw the outside agitators out of the projects. The tenants ought to toss them out on their ears by themselves. As for the few black traitors who are working with the white agitators, I would suggest that, if they really don’t like to live in a secure, safe and clean environment, they should make other living arrangements. There are thousands of people on the CHA’s waiting list who will gladly take their apartments.