Wednesday, December 30, 2020

FEATURED PODCAST - "BEHIND THE STORY"

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Podcast
Unforgotten: "Behind The Story"
By Chijioke Wlliams
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Portraits of Life: Stolen 'Like Ashes In A Violent Wind'

Nancie Walker as a child
Nancie Carolyn Walker
By John W. Fountain

SHE DANCED. ON THE rhythms and winds of life, she danced. As if it were a part of her soul, life and being, she danced. Watching her dance—drift upon the elements, of music and drumbeats, as if they were one—is among the most vivid recollections of family and friends. It is the way they remember her before she left this world untimely, suddenly and violently, disappearing, like ashes upon a menacing swirling wind.

Her name is Nancie Carolyn Walker. But those closest to her all called her Carolyn. She danced most of her life, including at Frances Parker High School on Chicago’s Near North Side, where she was also the captain of the cheerleading squad. Dancing remained a lifelong passion that she once studied at Columbia College before deciding to carve out a career as an entrepreneur. She also attended Roosevelt University.

Nancie loved hushpuppies. She loved to go out to various restaurants and sample different foods. She loved to “step”—the Chicago-bred bop and cool version of ballroom dancing to smooth grooves in the key of R&B, where couples glide majestically across the dance floor. She was loved. And she loved back. And her love is not forgotten.


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“When I lost her, I could not swallow my food. I felt like I was doing her an injustice because I could still eat and Nancie couldn’t.”

Myrna Walker, Nancie's sister

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"You're Dead: So What?"; Author says Telling Their Stories Matters

By Samantha Latson

Dr. Cheryl L. Neely, author
Cheryl Neely can remember just like it was yesterday, laughing and talking while riding the Grandriver Avenue bus with her childhood friend Michelle Jackson and her own two sisters, while leaving Murray-Wright High School in Detroit. Seeing Michelle was part of her daily routine. After school Cheryl, Neely’s sisters and Michelle would all meet at the bus stop to go home. 

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, 1984, the lives of Neely, and her sisters Suane and Cassandra would change forever. That was the date that Michelle, 16, was murdered and raped while on her way to school. 



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"In journalism, there’s a narrative of black people being perpetrators of crime not victims. When we are portrayed as victims, somehow the media intimates that we had it coming..." 

-Cheryl Neely

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UNFORGOTTEN PROJECT - VIDEO


Portraits of Life: Say Her Name; Say All Their Names


Reo Renee Holyfield


Reo Renee Holyfield
By John W. Fountain
HER NAME WAS Reo. Reo Renee. Reo Renee Holyfield. Say her name. Say all of their names. Dispel this cloud of enduring shame. And remember their lives, despite the pain. Let us lift them beyond the realm of invisibility. To speak even from their graves to the dearth of human civility here in this city where they were slain with no indemnity.

Where their killers mostly remain unpunished, unnamed, unfound or free. And there remains no sanctity. For the lives of women poor Black and Brown. No collective pubic outcry by this shimmering city where glitz, glam and fortune abound.

No justice for the 51 who now lie forever frozen in time, six feet underground. Or as ashes after cremation.

So for each of the 51, let us invoke this recitation: Say her name. Say all of their names: Angela Marieanna Ford. Charlotte W. Day. Winifred Shines. Brenda Cowart. Elaine Boneta. Saudia Banks. Bessie Scott. Gwendolyn Williams. Jody Grissom.


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“It’s fire on the inside. I’m still feeling it like they just told me the news the other day. I don't think it’s going to go away.”
 -Ricardo Holyfield, Reo's cousin
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A Quilt In Their Honor

By Adnan Basic
ENEE ABELMAN SITS IN her St. Petersburg, Florida home, sewing together yet another quilt. A resident of Florida, she’s effectively been quilting all her life, and has gone through this process countless times. This is no ordinary project, however. 

She’s piecing together the names of 51 women who were brutally murdered in Chicago without much mainstream media or political attention. So, how did the 63-year-old hear about this case based in a city over 1,200 miles away from her? The answer lies within the power of social media.

On June 6, 2019, Beverly Reed Scott, a self described local community activist, created a Facebook page titled “50WomenGone” following the murder of over 50 women in the Chicago area. These victims shared a number of traits: they were women of color who were strangled in alleyways before having their bodies dumbed in trash cans or abandoned houses. Most of these killings did not make the headlines, however, with the media mostly failing to cover what had happened in much detail.

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"The acknowledgement of these women has been removed, but putting their names on something soft and padded that brings warmth would show that these were real people..." -Enee Abelman, the quilt’s maker

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Portraits of Life: A Protector & Sister Stolen; A Family Still Waiting For Justice

 
Gwendolyn Williams
Gwendolyn Williams

By John W. Fountain 
and Samantha Latson

GWENDOLYN WILLIAMS WAS a protector, a loyal big sister with a “heart of gold,” true-blue. She was Rosa Mae Pritchett’s firstborn. And no matter how old she got, she was always her baby girl. Gwen’s sturdy light-caramel arms could cradle a younger sibling and also hold danger at bay. She was strong, a lover not a fighter—unless she had to be. 

Gwen knew the streets. Chicago's mean streets, growing up in the sixties and seventies, had taught her that her little sisters and brothers needed a guardian angel, at least someone to keep them from the elements that consign countless children in hardscrabble urban neighborhoods to poverty and hopelessness.

Shaped by the bell-bottom and Afro wearing “Black power” 70's, Gwen was a peace, love and Soul Train child. She harbored no hate. The hateful act inflicted upon her body and soul decades later, however, would leave a lasting scar upon her family who, many years later, still hope for justice for Gwen. Some day…
"My sister didn’t deserve the way she died. ...It still hurts me to this day. You can’t have closure when your wound is still open." 
-Rose Pritchett, Gwen's sister