Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Uptown Block Club 'Peace March' Proposed

Update: For more info or to volunteer your time to organize this event, please email

A reader writes in:

Good afternoon UU,

While I would consider the June 7th rally somewhat successful, I have a feeling that the location of it put many who were interested in participating off from attending. I heard from quite a few people that did not attend the rally because they felt that it was going to be a hostile, anti-Shiller crowd.

I’d like to propose the following, a joint block club “peace march” that would start in one area of Uptown, and collect marchers along the way. The final destination would be in an open field/park area where perhaps we can have a large joint block club party. I am a member of the Argyle/Winmore Block Club. When I first moved to Uptown almost 4 years ago, our block club hosted a huge block club party on Kenmore that featured a live band, games for the kids, dancers, a martial arts demonstration and free food sponsored by the local restaurants. Hundreds of people attended our block club party, and the theme was our block club theme ‘Pride of Place’. It was extremely successful, and diverse.

This event would require a lot of volunteers and work to pull off, we would need donated tables, and food, and people willing to serve food, set up and clean up. We would need permission to use open park space to pull something like this off. However, I think it will be a fantastic way to unify everyone in Uptown, in one huge group and show the unsavory element of our community that we are all unified in our stance that drugs, gangs and shootings are not welcome in Uptown.

A march like this would be very public and draw a lot of attention. People would feel comfortable joining in as we would be marching from one area to the next. Because the destination would be neutral, no one group would be feel polarized and concluding with a party would encourage people to meet their neighbors and discuss the issues at hand.

-We could invite Aldermans of participating wards to speak on their plans to keep moving Uptown forward
-We could invite Kathleen Boehmer and CAPS officers to attend and speak on ways we can help keep Uptown safe
-It would provide local restaurants an opportunity to draw customers by letting them sample their food for free, thus boosting business
-It would be an excellent media opportunity to draw attention to a Chicago city that quite frankly, I think is completely ignored by the media.

One good place to start might be Truman College. It’s somewhat centrally located, and they have the land space as well as tables we might be able to use. Or we can see about utilizing public park space by the lake, perhaps Margate Park?

I would be willing to donate my time in setting something like this up, as well as doing the PR to draw media attention as I have experience doing PR. Of course, I will need A LOT of help. We will need people willing to be leaders to step up to the plate to make this happen.

Given that this will take time to set up, my suggestion is to host this in August.

If you can please post this as a possible suggestion to readers of UU, I would appreciate it.


  1. Can the march end at the alderman's office?

    If so will someone arrange for the pitchforks and the torches?

    Oh my. Can't we all just get along?

  2. I'm in. And no hard feelings about the first rally. Although I didn't plan it (and I originally had some misgivings myself), it sounds like it accomplished its goal---wrenching us out of complacency and kicking off some momentum!!!

    Please post an email on how to get involved or if you are just going to do it through the block club presidents. I vote for Margate Park. Let's use those lakefront breezes to our advantage!


    PS--Where is everyone? It's high time you got yourself a blogger account (if only to tell the world how you secretly love John Denver in your profile)!

  3. We're still here, and may be joining the discussions more often now that the UU boards are less inundated with negativity and trolling. Anyhow, this is a great idea!! Well, except perhaps for the pitchforks and torches.

  4. Ok if you are not "down" with the pitchforks as da kids might say can I bring some other gardening utensils?

    Perhaps a rake. I'm sure there will be some hoe's there.

  5. Perhaps the author of this email (not sure if they want their name public) can post their email contact here for interested folks to inquire to?

  6. Saskia-
    We quite like the "peace" on UU now. We would rather have 10 well thought out comments than 100 whose sole purpose is to reek havoc. Carry on!

  7. I will absolutley volunteer and support this event!

  8. How about asking Shiller to join the march?

  9. I am the poster of this idea. I wanted to see if there was any interest at all in something like this. I would like to start by proposing this idea to each block club president so they can help be the lead in galvanizing the support of their entire block club. I'll start with mine, to see if we can get people on board from ours.

    My goal with this is to not only make it very public stance against CRIME (no pitchforks Irishpirate) but a fun event where Uptown citizens of all walks of life can meet each other and enjoy each other.

    I am going to set up a separate email account for the purpose of this Uptown Block Club Peace Party and I'll post that soon so those who wish to participate can add their name to the list.


  10. "Given that this will take time to set up, my suggestion is to host this in August."

    Sorry, but a "Peace March" you've envisioned---with participating block clubs, speakers, free food, held in a park venue, with entertainment et cetera, will require much more planning and time preparation. Plus, August is a pretty dead time--people are generally away in the weeks before the school year begins--and it can be pretty oppressively hot weatherwise as well.

    Believe me, it will require much more than your background in PR to make such an event actually happen.

  11. billyjoe
    Believe me, it will require much more than your background in PR to make such an event actually happen.

    How surprising that billyjoe comes around and is a debbie downer? Since the running rumor is that billyjoe is a Shiller worker, is this a threat at not being able to obtain permits?

  12. Literally, BillyJoe, don't rain on the parade! Unless Uptown residents will be in the Hamptons for their last "hurrah" we'll all be here. Might as well swelter together.

  13. B, Alderman Shiller will of course be invited. My intention with this is to NOT be divisive. I welcome all officials of not only the 46th Ward, but the 48th, and the other surrounding wards to participate in this event.

    As we all know, we might be successful in pushing crime out of our ward, but it ends up in another ward. This is what happened last summer. Alderman Smith's office became extremely proactive in targeting a very active drug trafficking outfit in her Ward. They were successful, unfortunately, they moved right into the 46th Ward and set up shop and we've been trying to get rid of them ever since.

  14. Billy Joe, my career is Marketing, Event Planning and PR. I'm also a graphic designer.

    Believe me, I know what it takes to put something like this together. I know August is aggressive, but its not impossible.

    If you have nothing positive to contribute, then you have nothing to contribute at all.

    Good day to you sir...

  15. I saw someone give the Alderman's staff a sign that read "We want to create and live in a peaceful neighborhood" so Alderman Shiller should be all set for the event. We'll have to give something to Mary Ann Smith too. I don't care what anyone says, I am willing to keep pulling for this neighborhood no matter what.

  16. I'm in. Farrel, get that email up and let's get the ball rolling.

    As for billyjoe - dude. Give it a rest.

    Barriers - be they social, racial or even logistical were made to be broken by the brave and the willing.

    Only the weak and meager shy away from a challenge.

    Either stand with the brave and the willing or confess yourself to be unworthy of a positive and productive challenge.

    Make no little plans, a man once said. I say we take him up on that.

    Just because Helen sold out 170 years of Chicago tradition, this morning, is no reason we all have to.

  17. And yes, I am aware that August may not work, and it might have to be in the fall instead.

    But I believe if enough people are willing to participate and do their part to make it happen, then it CAN be done.

    Here is the email to send your interest in helping to:


  18. I will film it in HD free of charge if I am in town. Busy Summer!

    What a good positive idea of an event.

    Also kids, I know Robert at Unique So Chiq is planning a street/art fair thing that has been approved by HS. So anyone who wants to do something else positive should stop in and see him and ask how they can help. Even the small stuff helps!

  19. I'm finding all of this crime hysteria to be counter-productive. I'm no fan of Helen Shiller, and would love nothing more than for her to get booted out of office. But violent crime really isn't the biggest issue in Uptown--where we've had fewer than five murders a year for a decade. It's a problem here compared to places like Lakeview, but it's not our biggest problem.

    Personally, I would prefer to see less tolerance for the "quality of life" crimes like public drinking, public urination, loitering, drug dealing, prostitution, and all of the other LITTLE crimes that make life in Uptown challanging. If the murder rate didn't change for the next ten years, no one would even notice because murder is relatively rare in Uptown. But if the neighborhood was cleaned up and all of these petty crimes were prosecuted, the difference in Uptown would be staggering!

  20. Uptownr, I believe everyone posting here is also on board with getting rid of the drug dealing, the gangs, the graffiti, and all the other issues you mentioned.

    This is not just about murder. But it is a fact that if we continue to allow the 'petty crimes' you refer to flourish in Uptown, the murder rate will rise.

    An event like this is what you make of it. That can be your sign.

  21. Nevermind the naysayers ("We're doomed, Gulliver, we're doomed!...). If you can pull it off, great. If enough people want to participate, great. If not, a simple e-mail saying it's been postponed is all it takes. But I don't get the "Well, it won't work because of this, this and this". What's the point of writing that? How about, "It might work better if you do it this way..."? If you're writing here, you're obviously concerned so how about turning your negative idea into a positive one? Not that hard. Unless you don't WANT a peace march...

  22. UptownR & Billie Joe = BUZZKILLS!

    R U people 4 real? What harm could it do? Ok, then lets march against the guy who is wizzing on my Groot Dumpster!

    We march to show that one death is one more than the people of Uptown will stand for.

    The march cost you how much money? How much of your free time will it cost not to attend? U two make me want to drink.

  23. In the spirit of turning a negative into a positive...

    Securing city permits for an event coming up so soon might be a problem so you may want to look into that ASAP. Even if you have to have it later, say September, the way the weather has been behaving lately, it might be 90 degrees by then.

  24. Thank you man on the street. I will look into that.


  25. Can those of you who have shared your interest in this event please forward the link to the idea to your block clubs to see if they want to help?

    I know there are people out there with experience in working with the city for an event like this, or know of groups that can help us organize an event like this. Any experience/assistance would be valuable here!

    Thank you again...

  26. Margate Park is in Alderman Smith's district. Also, anyone can reserve rooms inside of Margate Park Fieldhouse for a relatively nominal fee.

  27. how do we get involved in our block club?

  28. Also, please post the address on the main page. Thanks!

  29. In! I'll be checking in for sure. Definitely willing to print up some signs.

  30. Great Idea...I do think, however, that CLARENDON PARK would be a much better place to end the march as so much crime is centered in that area and the block club there is just getting started and could use the support...

  31. I think this is a great idea! I also think that if we want to get noticed by the drug dealers/gangs, we might consider ending the march at Clarendon Park since that seems to be a hotspot for activity.

  32. Great idea, Farrell. We're really glad to see that you haven't given up. Your post the other day nearly made us cry. You can count us in!

  33. I'm in. Farrell, this is a great idea. I will e-mail you for details on volunteering for this. I also agree that all public officials (including HS) should be invited. I am all for working to change the system WITHIN the system if at all possible. The last time I posted something to that effect, I was accused of being a Shillerista or some nonesense like that.

  34. Just a thought, but could it be tied to the Uptown Unity Festival in August? Like we could start or end at that point? Unity and Peace go together in my mind...

  35. So, anyone come up with a date yet?


  36. Good morning....

    I have touched base with those who were involved in the Argyle/Winmore block club party a few years ago.

    It was explained to me how difficult it was as well as the amount of time it takes to obtain the kind of permits we would need, the permits the participating restaurants would need, etc. It took several months to plan our small block club party, and in the end, it came down to only a few dedicated individuals who managed to pull it off. So, it appears my timing is not possible to pull something like this off this summer. The peace march of course, can happen at any time.

    Now, Billy Joe, I know your patting yourself on the back here. But please, get over yourself. I know you love raining on others parade, but its just because you can't stand anyone else trying to make a difference. You'd rather we all just sat around, complained, and didn't do anything, like you.

    I would still like to do something, and I like the idea Marathon Man proposed... since that event is already established, perhaps a peace march can be tied to that event.

    What are thoughts on this? I wish I had the time it would take to pull something on a grander scale off, but while I'm ready and able to donate my time volunteering, printing signs, calling the media, etc. I don't have the time to dedicate to a pull a massive event off on my own. Aside from my full-time job, I travel a lot too. I don't want to make promises I can't deliver. I want to be involved, but I can't be the full-time leader and project manager for a large-scale event.

    What are everyone's thoughts on tying a peace march to the August Unity Fest? I think it makes a lot of sense...that way we can do something NOW instead of trying to plan something for next year.

    Marathon Man, do you know who is running that Fest, and who should be contacted?

  37. I've participated in more than one march to the Alderman's office, including the one with the coffin(there are multiple videos on YouTube where I'm carrying a sign), and she blows them off just like the media does. I think there are better ways to deal with this issue.

    Instead of marches, how about a better-organized neighborhood watch group? I'm sure some of the concerned Uptown homeowners have large dogs like Rotweilers and Pitbulls... I'm sure some of us are large intimidating men... If we got together in groups to walk through the neighborhood trouble spots at all times of night/day, it would send a stronger message to the actual CRIMINALS and actually improve safety for residents.

    But I suppose I'll attend another march if that's all we have... Sigh.

  38. Uptownr, I understand your frustration. After reading the posts on UU today regarding the Alderman's response to the rally on June 7th, I want to throw up my hands too.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions on what we can do?

    My original idea may be a pipe dream, but there has to be something we can do?

  39. Either way it would probably be a good idea for neighborhood block clubs and other community groups and businesses to get more involved with Unity Fest. Is it just the Alderman's office that plans this or what? Does anyone have any experience with how this event has been organized in the past? What about local businesses? Have you gotten any requests to have a booth or whatever?

  40. I would be happy to help with this as well. Someone (marathonman1977, I believe?) mentioned tying it in with the Unity fest. It sounds like a good idea, and all of the permits, set up, etc. would already be in place. Anyone know when that is?

    Another option might be the new block party/festival that is going to place next to Chase Park on Clark St (Aug. 16,17, perhaps?). It is literally on the edge of Uptown, so I am not sure how keen everyone would be on that. However, like the Unity fest it would reduce some of the planning and (hopefully) increase the attendance of a new festival.

    If we do decide to hold the fest in Clarendon Park, isn't there an outdoor movie night in one of the parks around there?

  41. Hey gang,

    The Unity Fest will be August 2nd at Truman College. I found a few links online, including:

    I called the contact number and it's Alderman Shiller's office. I asked them if we could get a table as a block club to try to drive membership. They told me that the tables are for vendors only and it would not be possible to get one. It kind of sucks, I thought it'd be a nice way to drive participation in block clubs/neighborhood watch.

  42. Can't a block club sell something at their booth then? Spots may not be free but anyone willing to be a purchase one should be able to get one I would think.

  43. --" I'm ready and able to donate my time volunteering, printing signs, calling the media, etc. I don't have the time to dedicate to a pull a massive event off on my own. Aside from my full-time job, I travel a lot too. I don't want to make promises I can't deliver. I want to be involved, but I can't be the full-time leader and project manager for a large-scale event. "

    There you have it, folks. A real life example of a passive-aggressive personality type.--

    Hey, Billy Joe... what have YOU offered to do besides be a complete and total PR*CK to everyone on this board and act high and might?

    If something can be planned, I have every intention of doing exaclty what I said I would do, creating signs, calling the media, etc. NO WHERE in my posting of the march/block club party did I state that I personally would lead the entire project from start to finish, and do all the work myself. I put it out there as an idea, to see if I could get people who were willing and able to make that happen. And I did get several who ARE ready and willing to help.

    The problem is that my plan, as you SO kindly pointed out, isn't realistic for this summer... so now I'm looking for an alternative! My follow up post simply pointed out that in order to pull of what I proposed in the summer, it would be a full-time job and then some, and I unfortunately don't have the time to do it all on my own. I still plan on being involved in whatever we DO decide to move forward with.

    The only passive/agressive person on this blog is YOU, you troll. You come on here and cut people down, and you offer absolutely NOTHING to this forum in terms of doing anything positive for Uptown at all. While I am by no means perfect, and my ideas may be a little to pipe dream, at least I know my heart is in the right place. Can you say the same for yourself?

    So please, enlighten us, since you don't seem to think that Uptown has any issues that need to be resolved, and you approve the work Helen Shiller has done, WHY are you here? Do you not have a life and are just that bored? Or, do you get paid a day rate to annoy everyone on this board, courtesy of the Alderman's office?

  44. marathonman1977 said...

    Hey gang,

    The Unity Fest will be August 2nd at Truman College. I found a few links online, including:

    Here's Uptown Update's review of last year's Unity Fest:

  45. Ouch...

    Harsh review of the one last year. I do think that portrayal was unfair, although I've never been to one of these yet. Should there of been a section for white people, black people, Asians, Latinos, etc. so that everyone felt included? Like, "Hey, you! Whitie!! Over here, this is YOUR area!"

  46. I actually like the idea of having areas for taggers to spray... it allows them to show their work, without defacing public property. It actually kind of looks like fun to me.

    And I never pass up an opportunity to grab a good knock-off designer bag. I LOVE going to Chinatown in New York.

    Hmmm, but I'm a white, female condo owner!!! I should be ashamed of such non-elitist sentiments. Sorry, I'll go crawl back in my condo and shake my fist at the poor now.

  47. Farrell said...
    I actually like the idea of having areas for taggers to spray... it allows them to show their work, without defacing public property. It actually kind of looks like fun to me.

    This thread must be dead, no one from the "graf art=gang training" contingent pounced on you.