There has been a great deal of anger, controversy, and discussion regarding recent events in Boystown. Waves of racism have flooded Facebook’s “Take Back Boystown,” often under the pretense of concern about safety, labeling youth of color as a danger to Boystown. Avi Rudnick, project attorney at the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois (TJLP), has writtten an excellent and insightful article for Windy City Times that views these debates in a new light. He writes, “Instead of focusing on making only Boystown safe for residents, the focus should be on creating communities free from violence.”
The article is titled “Fear and safety in Boystown,” and I strongly encourage you all to go read it. Avi brings to the discussion reason, understanding of privilege, and awareness of what will — and what will not — bring about the change we want to see. I would love to post all of it here because I really want people to see it, but that wouldn’t be fair to Windy City Times, so go read it there.
I will close with a few key lines from it as food for thought:
. . . . We won’t find a solution to injustices through divisiveness. The $50,000+ spent by the Northalsted Business Alliance to put private security in the streets will not provide housing and social services for young people; it will not stop violence, and it certainly will not make anyone safer.
. . . . Most importantly, [change] will happen when adults become allies to young people and start listening to them. We all need to listen instead of silencing each other, and learn how to be allies for liberation.