ÃÂ· How does the world described by LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman illustrate the urban issues we have discussed in this course? ÃÂ· Devise a community plan that would best address inner city problems such as described on Our America? The world described by LeAlan and Lloyd illustrates many of the issues discussed in class. They show us a world of children that have no hope. Whatever hopes dwell or develop in this place quickly die out.
The children growing up in the Darrow Houses, Cabrini Green, and the Ida B. Wells projects are surrounded by negativity. The homes of these children are cheaply made. In Cabrini Green the medicine cabinets separate each apartment. If you were to remove the cabinet you would have easy access into the next apartment. Desolate lots surround the homes. These projects were made with catwalks giving them the jail appearance. There are no playgrounds or community activities for the children.
There are no signs of grass because grass was never planted. The people dwelling in these developments have no sense of pride in their community since its appearance is rundown and nothing is kept up. The cracks in the basketball court's cement have weeds growing out of them; proving the unkempt conditions.
The children don't ever see anything more than the long strip of housing developments that run consecutively down one strip of Chicago's south side. These projects are like jail because once you grow up around them it is hard to get away or out of them. Some children in the book have never been anywhere else expect for school and then back to their homes.
Attending school was not something to look forward to. The school's environment was not conducive to learning. The appearances of the schools were depressing. The building had small windows and no welcoming banner. There were no play areas, there was concrete with cracks and weeds growing in the cracks.
The schools were overcrowded. The teachers could not reach or attend to the needs of each individual student. Thus, the development of the student educationally was stunted. Most students would graduate with low reading levels, and they could not do math on their appropriate levels.
The teacher and principal interviewed in the book commented on the plight of the students. They mentioned that some of the students had younger brother and sisters to take care of, either because of parents who are at work, are on drugs, or are just incapable of taking care of their children. Some of the children go to bed hungry and don't eat breakfast; this affects the students learning process because their minds are wandering on other things like food instead of on the lesson being presented.
Violence is also prevalent in the neighborhood. Most of the people in the neighborhood hate the conditions in which they live. The pent up anger that each person has sometimes leads to violence. In the school system there are many fights among students. In the street there are many gangs and teens killing each other. Maybe if there were something constructive for them to do the violence would be less.
Usually violence leads to crime. LeAlan's sister Janell stated a reason why people turn to violence. She said "There's a lot of people out there whose mommas (sic) just don't care. They don't give them money for nothing, and I feel if they have to sell drugs to get stuff that they need then they should be able to go ahead and do it?I do think that the kids out there selling drugs should be able to do something to get them a little extra money?." When people don't have and want they result to things like crime and violence. One incident mentioned in the book was the incident with five year old Eric Morse. Tyrone and Johnny threw Eric off of the 14th floor of building 3833 for not stealing candy out of the local store. Eric refused to steal and went and told his mother. Eric's mother in turn went and told the parents of the two boys. This angered the boys and they threw Eric out the window.
The location of the developments separates them from the rest of the world. There are no supermarkets, clothing stores, or any other place that provide services. The only stores available to the residents of these projects are the local corner stores. These stores are very small and they are supposed to help support the residents of the community.
Railroad tracks separate the projects from the rest of the world on one side, and a highway on the other. The highway and railroad tracks serve as walls that segregate the projects both physically and socially. Physically the people don't have a desire to venture out of their homes and explore the other side of the tracks to see what is there. Very close to these homes are a university and the Chicago Stadium. Most of the projects' residents have never seen either development. Socially the people are only used to seeing people of their own kind. They don't have a chance to meet people of other races and cultures.
If I had to devise a plan that would address inner city problems I totally revamp the whole situation. In order for people to have drive they need a sense of pride. In order to build this pride I would fix up the surroundings. I would break up the all the concrete and plant grass seeds, flowers, and trees. I would also build community centers, and playgrounds. I would also try to fix up the buildings by removing the graffiti and cleaning up the hallways. I would get the money to start off this project by applying for grants.
Since the appearance of the buildings has been changed and the residents have seen the change, a sense of pride will overcome them. I would then try to establish a Block Association. The association would be compiled of all the people in the community who want to keep up the buildings and who want to improve the community. The Association would also be in charge of developing organized activities for the children to participate in. There would be baseball, basketball, and football teams. There would also be after school programs. The after school center would be in the community center. After the students finished their homework they would go to practice in whatever team sport was in season. There would also be holiday shows and talent shows that would serve as fund-raisers for the community. There would also be trips for young people to travel to different places around Chicago, so they could get away from the projects and know that there was more to life then the projects.
The government upon seeing the changes in the development might be apt to provide federal money so that these changes could continue. I would still keep applying for grants in the meantime.
Hopefully, the communities by now are improving enough where people would not be afraid to bring their businesses to the project areas. If they agree to bring it to the project areas they would have to hire half of the staff from the projects. If this is successful then more business might move in.
We can see that in order for these communities to thrive many changes are necessary. Our America needs to help our America instead of leaving some communities along the waste side.