Come and show your support

The People’s Rally next Tuesday is important, and I want to encourage everyone to attend on July 14. The rally truly represents the democratic process, because it allows taxpayers and voters to have a voice in the decision-making process of the community. From my viewpoint, the plans of the elected officials don’t represent the vision of the people. The rally is a big grassroots effort of parents, students, teachers and citizens marching together, to participate in an effort to promote their vision for the future of our children’s education in this community.

Everyone agrees that Austin needs a new high school. The data supports that. The general consensus of people is in support of a state-of-the-art campus high school, with all the amenities that students have in Oak Park, River Forest and Lane Tech. Our decision-makers need to stop and hear what people are saying. Why not our children? At the People’s Rally, we’re expecting roughly a hundred people to present a vision for Austin’s new high school at the Brach site, 401 N. Cicero. At the end of the day, the people are the authority. We’re the taxpayers. It’s our agenda, our vision.

Why the Brach site?

1) It’s the only site in this community with enough land to accommodate a comprehensive, state-of-the-art campus high school.

2) It’s centrally located, making it easily accessible for children around the Austin community.

3) It allows us to do more than just build a school. We’d like to build an innovation center to provide job-training opportunities for students. We see it offering a vocational education program, a cultural arts center and a technology training center. We’d like to partner with an industry in green technology, so our children can learn about conservation. And we’d like to build a state-of-art community center with a new YMCA, to provide opportunities for children and adults.

Overall, I see an educational complex being built at the Brach’s site. A site educating thousands of children and providing hundreds of jobs for people in this community. It will create a sense of community and improve social relationships between people. It will help bridge the intergenerational gap between adults and children in a way that allows us to have greater influence on our children’s behavior by promoting a culture of learning. Ultimately, the Brach site serves as the greatest good for this community, compared to what has been proposed for that location.

We must be respected, heard and honored by elected officials. If that doesn’t happen, people will have to look for better representation to hear them, respect them, and work with them.

Virgil Crawford

Community groups need financial help

I have a problem with some organizations receiving funding all the time [State taps over $2M for Austin, June 11]. Organizations like Young Creative Minds and its Executive Director Danette King and Vice President Brian King are always in the community doing things with their youth. They have put in for grants at the city and state level but have come up short. Who is willing to step up to the plate and help work with these youth to help keep them off the street?

Mary Hartsfield
Submitted at

Michael Jackson will always be remembered

Wow! The song “Big Boy” just came back to my memory yesterday [Michael Jackson was a larger than life figure, Mark Allen, July 2]. Being a Chicagoan, I remember the 45-record with the red label, but couldn’t recall the recording company that made it. I was glad to find it on, and am very happy to have read this column, which confirms my recollection of Michael and the Jacksons through their Motown performances.

Sharon Johnson-Smith
Submitted at

Kids should attend a neighborhood school

I feel very strongly that it’s important to have a new high school in Austin. Even though I went to Michele Clark, it has selective enrollment, so everyone can’t get into that school. If kids can’t get in, they have to be forced to go outside the community. A lot of families don’t have the money to pay for transportation. A lot of schools don’t want to accept kids who don’t live in the district. It took me about 30 minutes to get to school, and I consider my school close. We have a huge, growing number of kids coming up. Where are they supposed to go?

Jillona Flowers, 18
Michele Clark High School graduate

Finding Yasmin

Yasmin Acree’s family has established a $3,000 reward for any information leading to her discovery. Anyone with information should call Chicago Police Area 5 Missing Persons: 312-746-6399.

Yasmin Acree went missing Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2007

She was 15 years old at the time of her disappearance

Yasmin is 5 feet 1 and weighs 125 pounds.

She has black hair and brown eyes.